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Uncle Sam & Less Choice in Credit CardsHmm, am I allowed to say: “I told you so” yet? One of my chief concerns with the CARD Act was that rather than focusing on financial transparency so that consumers can be educated and have many different choices in credit cards the bill devoted much of its legislative girth to loading on more regulations for credit card companies.

Unfortunately for consumers, many of the new credit card regulations do nothing to protect consumers but have the opposite effect of decreasing the options available to consumers when looking for credit.

There are certainly some great things in the CARD Act and it’s ridiculous to say that no oversight or regulation at all is needed but since when is it the government’s job to coddle all of it’s citizens and deprive them of the right to pick and choose the products and services that they want to use or not use?

The most recent example of some of the adverse consequences of government intervention into the credit card and banking business is cited in the Wall Street Journal and it’s twofold:

  1. It’s Harder to Get a Credit Card – The new burdensome regulations in the CARD Act make it harder for credit card companies and banks to accurately price risk when issuing credit cards (i.e. the regulations prohibit certain types of fees like universal default, double cycle billing, etc.) so many banks are just saying, “OK, if we can’t make any money off of those consumers then we will just say thanks but no thanks and tell them to get lost.” This then leaves many consumers in the position of having less options for credit – do some of them then turn to even worse options than high fee credit cards like payday loans?
  2. Consumers are Getting Soaked with New Fees – Even consumers with great credit who have managed their finances impeccably for many years are still getting hit with new bank fees. From monthly maintenance fees on a checking account to inactivity fees on a credit card the new fees are just piling up. Why all the new fees? Simple. If banks are not allowed to single out those who are high credit risks and charge them higher fees than the average consumer (i.e. universal default, etc.) then guess what? We all get charged the higher equilibrium fees.

In the great attempted equalization of American consumers where those who make poor financial decisions are bailed out by those who make responsible financial decisions then guess what – we all lose.*

*But hey, why don’t we just keep giving more power to Uncle Sam without addressing the root cause of any of the problems

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24 Responses to “Harder to Get a Credit Card? New Bank Fees? Thanks Uncle Sam!”

  1. Jenna says:

    It’s Harder to Get a Credit Card. Isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t that help those who probably shouldn’t be getting credit cards (and thus large amounts of debt that they can’t dig themselves out of) from getting credit cards.

    And even if you get rejected the first time chances are you can call the credit card company and figure out some other option for you to get a credit card. Like a lower limit for example.

    • Joel says:

      Oh yea, wait a minute, you are exactly right – I definitely want the government stepping in and making decisions for me on whether I should have a credit card or not…

      So much for letting people make their own decisions (either good or bad) and live with the consequences of their own actions, huh? Personal responsibility and personal freedom are so overrated…

      Jenna, are you honestly telling me that you want the government butting into your business telling you what credit card you should or shouldn’t get?

      • Jenna says:

        Not me personally. But some people aren’t educated on how credit cards work and could use the protection.

        • Joel says:

          The problem is that whether you are educated or not you are still hit with the exact same regulations as everyone else so in essence everyone suffers (side note – it’s funny how you say “not me personally” because everyone says that regulations like these are great “for other people” but never for “me personally” lol).

          Now, one thing I would be all for is some type of educational course that people must take if they wish to purchase a financial product that is generally believed to be “risky” for an unsophisticated consumer (i.e. “If you want this interest only loan or adjustable rate mortgage then you have to pass a test showing that you understand exactly what you are doing”)

          I think even a mandatory financial education requirement might be a little overly intrusive of the government but I could get behind an initiative like that as opposed to just telling people what they can and can’t do (or forcing credit card companies to not offer credit to certain people in an indirect way). Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Jenna says:

            Not really, especially since the government regulates public school systems and yet many schools don’t offer personal finance courses anymore (or they aren’t required or built into the curriculum of a math course of some sort).

          • Joel says:

            One thing we could probably both agree on is that there is a definite lack of financial education in the US – I think it would be a great idea to make a basic personal finance class required for all high school students. That being said, the majority of the problem lies in the fact that people just flat out don’t like to discipline themselves even if they know what they should and shouldn’t do – For example:

            “I know that I shouldn’t get my second refill on my 64oz Big Gulp Mountain Dew because I am already 50 lbs overweight and just had a triple cheeseburger with fries and my Doctor says I could be at risk for diabetes but oh well I love Mountain Dew…”

            “I know that I shouldn’t buy this new outfit and shoes with my credit card because I won’t have the money in my checking account at the end of the month to pay off the balance in full but oh well I love this new outfit…”

            See what I mean?

          • steve says:

            Wow, what a website…. I came here to find out more about individual cards, and I find the ravings of a bank sympathizer….

            The idea that the banks are being bullied around by unfriendly congressmen (“Uncle Sam”) couldn’t be farther from the truth….the credit card industry is one of the most powerful lobbies, most powerful political influences around. They own congress.

            Take, for example, Obama’s (that no-good bolshevik!) vice-president Joe Biden. For 20 years, MBNA was his biggest campaign contributor. In 2005, he helped make it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. (Bankruptcy abuse prevention and consumer protection act of 2005)

            OH YES, Uncle Sam really has it in for those banks! How much did Uncle Sam give them to keep their industry afloat?? $700 billion??

          • Joel says:

            I am guessing from the way that you label me a “bank sympathizer” as if its a dirty word that you are one of those who loves to blame all of societies ills on “those big bad corporations” just because it allows you to jump on the populist bandwagon and avoid saying hard to hear things to individuals rather than faceless companies like “It’s your fault if you bought a home you couldn’t afford” or “It’s your fault that you racked up a huge credit card balance without having the money in the bank to pay the balance off” etc – do you honestly think that consumers are better off by having LESS choice due to government intervention?*

            * Check out the below payday loans/credit cards posts for more info because to be quite honest I could care less if there are payday loans or credit cards or mortgages that have interest rates of 1,000,000% as long as I have the choice to take my business wherever I like and choose whatever financial products I want or do not want (caveat: as long as the products are marketed in an honest and fully transparent way so that consumers understand them – wouldn’t you agree?):

            http://www.creditcardchaser.com/will-the-card-act-turn-credit-card-users-into-payday-loan-users/
            http://www.creditcardchaser.com/usury-interest-guide/

  2. Steve says:

    Yes I think its dirty to frame the debate as “its harder for consumers to get credit cards.” Reality: “its harder for credit card companies to get people hooked.” Let’s be honest here. Credit cards make money when people don’t pay their balance. If companies can get consumers to not pay their balance, these companies make money. You can’t deny the logic of a financial incentive.

    If this law is so unjustly depriving consumers of being able to get a credit card, can you back it up with any proof? Any proof a consumer can’t get a card but really wants and needs one? Any proof that consumers are unhappy with the new regulations? Unhappy that banks can’t raise your interest rate on existing balances? Unhappy that banks have a service fee cap of 25% (but only during the first year!!!); Unhappy that consumers have to agree to any charge that is over their limit?

    Yes, I believe in individual responsibility. But I’m not going to hold an individual responsible if he/she’s been treated unfairly. There needs to be a fair playing field, fair disclosure. But going back to the financial incentive, the fairer the playing field, the less profits for banks.

    Yes, I think there should be more financial education. But by agreeing with me, you are implicitly admitting that consumers presently don’t know enough about how the system works, and that less people would not get caught in fine print bank traps if they had more knowledge.

    But banks already provide plenty of disclosure right? 0%, rewards & points, “priceless”, “everywhere you want to be,” celebrity endorsements, baseball park names, get your favorite kitten stamped right on the card… all these things are meant to distract the consumer from what’s really going on — hand-over-fist profiteering that has lead to exorbitant profits that are now being curtailed by the slightest of common sense regulations (CARD act).

    • Joel says:

      Thanks for the in depth comment. Here are some responses to your statements:

      “Yes I think its dirty to frame the debate as “its harder for consumers to get credit cards.” Reality: “its harder for credit card companies to get people hooked.” ”

      There is no need to frame anything as it is fact that it is harder for consumers to get approved for a credit card, find a credit card with rewards as generous as in the past, have the selection of credit cards available to choose from as in the past, etc. You are welcome to skirt the issue and attempt to lay the blame on an inanimate object like a piece of plastic but the real issue is not “the fork is making me overeat” or “the credit card is making me live beyond my means” but rather it is a fact that new government regulations have made it harder for consumers to get credit cards – that is fact.

      “Let’s be honest here. Credit cards make money when people don’t pay their balance. If companies can get consumers to not pay their balance, these companies make money. You can’t deny the logic of a financial incentive.”

      Actually, credit card companies make money even when people like me set their credit card to auto pay the balance in full each month from their checking account. Credit card companies make money off of the credit card processing fees that merchants pay for the convenience and security of accepting credit cards to buy things. Your objection is a common misconception though so don’t feel bad. Certainly, credit card companies also make money off of people carrying a balance but they can also lose money hand over fist when people default on their credit cards (for example, I mentioned in an earlier post that the Bank of America credit card division lost money for the last 5 quarters in a row so there is obviously a lot of inherent risk to the credit card company involved in extending consumer lines of credit and so there must be fees and interest charged to fit the risk.

      “If this law is so unjustly depriving consumers of being able to get a credit card, can you back it up with any proof?”

      Sure, you are welcome to browse through some of the recent articles in the personal finance section of any major news site but here is one interesting article that was written a while ago over at CreditCards.com and mentions some potential downfalls of the CARD Act and now all of which are already coming true: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-law-consequences-1282.php

      “Yes, I believe in individual responsibility. But I’m not going to hold an individual responsible if he/she’s been treated unfairly. There needs to be a fair playing field, fair disclosure. But going back to the financial incentive, the fairer the playing field, the less profits for banks.”

      I definitely agree with you on this – in my view an ideal scenario would be that cardholders could offer any type of financial product they wanted to as long as every single detail of the product is clearly outlined and explained with 100% honesty and transparency so that the ultimate choice could lie with the consumer. Those who do their research and take the time to learn what is a smart choice and what is not reap the rewards while those who are too lazy to do their research even when the information is available and clearly presented then they rightfully deserve any pain and suffering they bring on themselves.

      “Yes, I think there should be more financial education. But by agreeing with me, you are implicitly admitting that consumers presently don’t know enough about how the system works, and that less people would not get caught in fine print bank traps if they had more knowledge.”

      I would love to see more financial education and think that it is sorely needed. That being said, if you will take a look at some of my earlier comments above in response to Jenna you will see that just because someone is uneducated then that does not absolve them of their own responsibility to educate themselves and then use that education in a disciplined way – if someone wants to spend every night cracking open Miller Lite’s while they scratch off lottery tickets and watch American Idol while their next door neighbor wants to work a second job to put themselves through school then they are each entitled to do so just like they are entitled to reap the consequences of those actions. (Remember, I am 100% for transparency in credit card marketing but if certain consumers just don’t really care to educate themselves then the solution is not to punish everyone via intrusive regulations).

      “But banks already provide plenty of disclosure right? 0%, rewards & points, “priceless”, “everywhere you want to be,” celebrity endorsements, baseball park names, get your favorite kitten stamped right on the card… all these things are meant to distract the consumer from what’s really going on — hand-over-fist profiteering that has lead to exorbitant profits that are now being curtailed by the slightest of common sense regulations (CARD act).”

      So essentially every time McDonalds shows me a commercial of a nice juicy Big Mac and fries then I am just supposed to blame them for “distracting me from my diet”? It’s not my fault for losing self control and pigging out just like it’s not my fault for spending more money than I have? It’s not a difficult concept even for a second grader you know – spend more money than you have and you are in trouble if you can’t pay it back… so it’s not really an issue of people don’t understand that when they borrow money with a credit card they should pay it back – right? What am I missing?

      • Steve says:

        Joel, first I appreciate your fair replies and even-handed tone.

        But, what are you missing? I’m afraid you’re missing the wisdom of Upton Sinclair… “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

        – If you’re comparing yourself to McDonalds, your battle is half lost.

        – You say outright that credit card companies make money off merchant transaction fees and off people who pay their balance every month. Transaction fees? Sure, maybe a little bit.

        – They make money off people who pay their balance in full every month? Absolute fantasy. Explain the math to me.

        – Your link to a credit card website is unpersuasive and is not from a journalistic source.

        – Try instead this website, and I strongly recommend the program in full: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/

        Its fine to talk about individual responsibility. But you can’t ignore responsibility among the companies who make the rules and depend on making money off consumers to grow their companies. With power, money, and influence comes great responsibility. Do you blame smokers for the sins of big tobacco? Do you blame children (and parents) who are increasingly obese from the food and beverage industry? Do you blame drivers for being hooked to gasoline?

        For each of these, you might say “yes.” And if we were to go through each individual situation, this might seem tempting. But when you start to step back and view the situation from the larger perspective, you can’t ignore that structural (macro) forces are at work. There is more to the picture than individual responsibility.

        Its fine to place responsibility on an individual gambler. But sooner or later, you have to question why the casino always wins in the long run.

        • Joel says:

          Thanks Steve -

          “But, what are you missing? I’m afraid you’re missing the wisdom of Upton Sinclair… “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.””

          That’s a great point and I actually really like that quote and do admit that the quote fits this situation. My solution however would likely differ from yours in that I believe it is the government’s responsibility to protect consumers by forcing companies to fully disclose every thing (and I mean every little thing) in an easy to read way so that the consumer can make their own decision and NOT step in and say “Oh, sorry Joe Schmoe, you are not allowed to have a credit card with this ABC feature or this X interest rate, too bad” – better in my view to make sure people have all of the information and then let people choose for themselves, right?

          “If you’re comparing yourself to McDonalds, your battle is half lost.”

          Not sure where you are going with this one unless you are in the camp of “Blame the fast food companies for individual Americans poor choices in food”… I actually rarely eat at McDonalds but I don’t have anything against them – in fact, I wouldn’t be opposed to a restaurant that served nothing but balls of fried Crisco with glasses of vegetable oil for beverages – it sounds disgusting and I would never eat there but they certainly have the right to server whatever they like as long as its within safety codes just like I have the right to take my business to Subway or somewhere else, right? (After all, you wouldn’t dare deprive me of my deep fried Snickers once a year at the state fair, would you? lol)

          “They make money off people who pay their balance in full every month? Absolute fantasy. Explain the math to me. ”

          Credit card transaction fees are actually quite high and represent substantial profit – in fact, many merchants believe that the fees are entirely too high and there have been numerous attempts to lower the rates by 7-11 owners who recently showed up en masse to Washington and others.

          “For each of these, you might say “yes.” And if we were to go through each individual situation, this might seem tempting. But when you start to step back and view the situation from the larger perspective, you can’t ignore that structural (macro) forces are at work. There is more to the picture than individual responsibility.”

          You make another great point because I agree that there is more than just personal responsibility as there is also corporate responsibility which does the right thing for all stakeholders and is committed to long term sustainability. I think where we differ is the approach to changing certain corporate behavior – my position would be that consumers can change corporate behavior through consumer choice so rather than issuing a decree from the government that says “All fast foods must now stop serving foods with X saturated fat grams” or something then rather public policy should focus on educating consumers to make healthy choices (because a healthier nation is good for the nation as a whole) which is why many Americans now turn to places like Subway or a Pita restaurant or a Panera as as healthy substitute to fast food and in turn this is what has forced even McDonalds and other places to now meet the consumer demand for healthy foods by offering things like apple slices, all white meat chicken, etc. – this is a much better method because it preserves our freedom of choice, right? (I am referring to things like fatty foods and not things like dangerous working conditions or something)

          • Steve says:

            – Hey, Joel, alright, glad to hear you think the government should be stepping in to make things more transparent! But how does that mesh with your initial cartoon headline, saying the government is the problem here? Wouldn’t such full disclosure laws make it “harder for people to get credit cards”?

            – Moreover, the Frontline documentary talks specifically about one full disclosure requirement that the industry has fought tooth and nail: Example on balance statement: “Your minimum payment on your account is $100. However, if you only made the minimum payment each month, it would take you 12 years to pay off your balance.” I dont believe this kind of disclosure made it into the law. You would make a great industry spokesman, but I dont think your belief in full disclosure meshes with the industry stance.

            – I take it you concede lenders don’t make money when you pay your balance on time every month. You cite how banks make money from transaction fees, but I already agreed.

            – At the heart of it, you believe govt has the ability to enact the right kinds of disclosure laws. I don’t believe that. I think congress is in the pocket of the banks. The undoubtable logic of a financial incentive.

            So, the real answer? Campaign finance reform.

  3. Feliciana says:

    I’m glad it’s harder to get credit cards now! Those sneaky credit card companies would prey on college kids and people that shoudnt have them. This needs to be regulated.

  4. I’m glad that they are regulating these sneaky companies! Before they would prey on college student and others who shouldn’t have credit cards. This has to stop.

    • Joel says:

      Those sneaky credit card companies! How dare they market their products to people who can enlist to go to war in Afghanistan, drive a car, buy cigarettes, get married, get divorced, buy a house, rent an apartment, take out an auto loan, study calculus in their college courses – but of course its way too hard for college students to understand that if you borrow money that you have to have the money available to pay it back! :)

      I am being a little tongue in cheek obviously because once again I will re-iterate my strong belief that the important part is that the credit card companies and any company for that matter is 100% transparent in marketing their products so that everything is clearly understood.

      I am all for regulations that force companies to honestly disclose every single little detail in an easy to understand way BUT let’s be honest – college students can still understand how credit cards work, wouldn’t you agree?

  5. James says:

    the credit card industry is similar to the insurance companies in that they have both been gouging people for years and the federal government is finally doing something or at least they have taken notice.

    i am not sure they will be able to fix health care and or the credit issues but as long as we are more transparent and people don’t get singled out or left behind then i am on board.

    • Joel says:

      James, you are actually entirely wrong but it is interesting to see how you are quick to take the populist easy way out and blame the big bad insurance companies when the facts are that:

      1. The health insurance industry has very low profit margins (much lower than other industries)

      2. Even before the passage of “health care reform” (which did nothing to decrease rising health care costs btw) there were already federal laws on the books called the HIPAA laws that offered consumer protection in all 50 states for people who have pre-existing conditions and through no fault of their own are unable to keep their health insurance (i.e. it protects responsible people who have maintained health insurance coverage and then are unable to keep it or get a new policy because it forces companies to accept them and cover all pre-existing conditions from day 1) – however, most people don’t understand these existing laws and the politicians play to the angle of “everyone should have their pre-existing conditions covered right away even if they have purposely chosen to go without health insurance and they just want to wait until they have a huge medical bill and then expect the health insurance company to step in and pay the bill… which would be like going without car insurance and then totaling your can and then after the fact buying car insurance and expecting them to replace your totaled car…)

      It’s tempting to take the easy way out and blame the big faceless corporations but check the facts – how is it even possible to “gouge” consumers when health insurance companies have extremely low profit margins?

  6. Joel says:

    @Steve

    – Hey, Joel, alright, glad to hear you think the government should be stepping in to make things more transparent! But how does that mesh with your initial cartoon headline, saying the government is the problem here? Wouldn’t such full disclosure laws make it “harder for people to get credit cards”?

    “Yes, I believe that more transparency is needed. However, if you read through my post above and respond to the content of the post rather than just your own premature inferences from the headline then you will notice that I am opposed to the government telling banks “You must cap interest rates at X percent.” or “You are not allowed to use this method of calculating interest.” or “You are not allowed to charge this type of fee.” (which they do in portions of the CARD Act) while at the same time still being 100% in favor of the government saying “You must clearly publish the exact interest rates and fees and details of your product in an easy to understand way for all consumers to read and if you mislead consumers or hide things when you advertise then you will be punished severely.” – do you see the difference?

    In a nutshell, I believe that government should make everything transparent so that consumers can clearly see the differences between choice A, choice B, choice C, choice D, etc. and then consumers can make the decision to CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES rather than the government saying “We don’t like choice B or choice D so get rid of those but you can keep choice A and choice B.” which then means that thanks to Uncle Sam consumers now only have choice A and choice B instead of choices A,B,C, and D.

    Steve, you do see this very important difference, right?”

    – Moreover, the Frontline documentary talks specifically about one full disclosure requirement that the industry has fought tooth and nail: Example on balance statement: “Your minimum payment on your account is $100. However, if you only made the minimum payment each month, it would take you 12 years to pay off your balance.” I dont believe this kind of disclosure made it into the law. You would make a great industry spokesman, but I dont think your belief in full disclosure meshes with the industry stance.

    “I like that disclosure and am all in favor of it and you are making the classic package deal fallacy when you say this (just because I agree with some things that many industry spokespeople say does not mean that I agree with everything they say or even the majority of the things they say). In fact, this disclosure is already signed into law via the CARD Act (check it out under the “Credit Card Payoff Time Disclosure” section: http://www.creditcardchaser.com/credit-card-act-of-2009/ )”

    – I take it you concede lenders don’t make money when you pay your balance on time every month. You cite how banks make money from transaction fees, but I already agreed.

    “I love how you jump from the package fallacy to the false compromise fallacy on this one but no, just because we both agree that banks make money from transaction fees does not mean that I concede anything. In fact, it proves my point that banks make money off of people who pay off their balances in full (How do they make the money? Why, from the transaction fees… not sure why you aren’t understanding this unless you are thinking that transaction fees are something different than what they are…)”

    – At the heart of it, you believe govt has the ability to enact the right kinds of disclosure laws. I don’t believe that. I think congress is in the pocket of the banks. The undoubtable logic of a financial incentive.

    “That would be a bare assertion fallacy as I never mentioned my opinion one way or the other whether government has the ability to do anything. In all honesty my opinion of the efficiency and integrity of government is likely much lower than yours.”

    So, the real answer? Campaign finance reform.

    “I would lean towards agreeing with you on this one although I will admit I am not as well versed as I should be when it comes to the current campaign finance laws.”

    • Steve says:

      Joel, you seem annoyed with me. Also, you only answer like 1 out of 4 of my questions. Sad. :(

      To sum up:
      1. You complained all throughout your post, especially in the headline, that the govt is the problem – “harder to get credit cards”. Since then, you’ve retreated to your disclosure stance. If your problem really is with difficulty of getting cards, you would be against disclosure.

      2. If the disclosure requirement is in the new law, then I guess I’m wrong, and you are right. Dang. Congrats.

      3. You still won’t admit that the credit card lender/ bank doesn’t make money when you pay off your balance on time. You really should stop fighting this one. And stop changing the subject by complaining that I’m making fallacies in my arguments. Not true. Don’t call me a logic cheater.

      4. You don’t need to know campaign finance laws. You need common sense.

      • Joel says:

        Joel, you seem annoyed with me. Also, you only answer like 1 out of 4 of my questions. Sad. :(

        “I am glad for your in depth comments. What questions have I not answered?”

        1. You complained all throughout your post, especially in the headline, that the govt is the problem – “harder to get credit cards”. Since then, you’ve retreated to your disclosure stance.

        “Yes, government is still the problem. I am not sure what you mean by retreating because if you will read the post and then read each of my comments you will see that I am and always have been for transparency and disclosure and against government intervention that says “You can’t have interest rate A or card feature B”. I am not sure where you see anything that is different from my original post to any of my comments… ”

        If your problem really is with difficulty of getting cards, you would be against disclosure.

        “To be honest I have no clue where you are attempting to go here because in your statement B definitely does not necessarily follow A…”

        2. If the disclosure requirement is in the new law, then I guess I’m wrong, and you are right. Dang. Congrats.

        3. You still won’t admit that the credit card lender/ bank doesn’t make money when you pay off your balance on time. You really should stop fighting this one.

        “Wow, I guess it’s time to break out some ultra simple math for you. If I spend $3,000 a month on my credit card and pay my balance off in full each month then does the credit card company make money off of me in interest charges? No. Does the credit card company make money off of me in credit card transaction fees? Yes. The average credit card processing fee is 1.7% although some can reach as high as 5% (according to the Electronic Payments Coalition) – so… $3,000 * 1.7% = $51. Therefore – wait for it – the credit card company makes money off of me even when I pay my balance off in full. “You really should stop fighting this one” lol You are welcome to not believe this but credit card processing fees are a fact and for you to keep insisting the contrary only diminishes any credibility you may have once had on your other points.”

        And stop changing the subject by complaining that I’m making fallacies in my arguments. Not true. Don’t call me a logic cheater.

        “So, if your argument is founded on a fallacy then I should just overlook it and continue with your fallacious assumption? To not accept your fallacies is to change the subject? Right :)

        4. You don’t need to know campaign finance laws. You need common sense.

        “Lol, Ok, thanks for the insight – and all along I thought that campaign finance law, credit card regulations, and the role of government in private enterprise were somewhat tricky and in depth subject areas with many different complexities – I guess not – all I need is your version of common sense and everything is just so simple lol :)

        • Steve says:

          Joel,

          I enjoyed our back-and-forth on this.

          Unrelated: I’m looking for a card with no fees on balance transfers for at least a year. My reasoning: pay student loans off with balance transfers, thus getting points while paying off debt.
          Any suggestions?

          • Joel says:

            Steve,

            Thanks for all of your comments and participation!

            As far as I know (and a reader can correct me if I am wrong) I do not know of any current balance transfer offers where there is not at least an upfront percentage of the transaction fee charged. There are some decent balance transfer offers but in recent years they are not as attractive as they once used to be.

            Here is an interesting feature piece we did a while ago where we tried to see if it was possible to use balance transfer cards and roll them over from one to the next for “0% APR for Life” that you may like: http://www.creditcardchaser.com/the-0-apr-experiment

  7. Andrew says:

    This is the first piece I’ve seen that has confirmed my belief that it seems harder than ever to get a credit card. While you can argue this is great in some ways because people aren’t getting into debt that they can’t get out of, it also stinks for people who have great credit and simply want some good credit card options!

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