Secured Credit Card Marketing
Secured Credit Card Marketing Scams
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
A MAJOR CREDIT CARD!
Separated? Divorced? Bankrupt? Widowed?
BAD CREDIT? NO CREDIT? NO PROBLEM!
* Make the call NOW and get the credit you deserve!
Ads like this may appeal to you if you have a poor credit history or no credit at all. Beware: while secured credit cards can be an effective way to build or re-establish your credit history, some marketers of secured cards make deceptive advertising claims to entice you to respond to their ads.
Secured vs. Unsecured Cards
The required savings deposit for a secured card may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Your credit line is a percentage of your deposit, typically 50 to 100 percent. Usually, a bank will pay interest on your deposit. In addition,you also may have to pay application and processing fees — sometimes totaling hundreds of dollars. Before you apply, be sure to ask what the total fees are and whether they will be refunded if you’re denied a card. Typically, a secured card requires an annual fee and has a higher interest rate than an unsecured card.
Deceptive Ads and Scams
Deceptive ads often leave out important information.
An annual fee or the fact that the secured card has a higher than average interest rate on any balance.
How to Avoid the Scam
For More Information
If you cannot get credit on your own, you can ask a relative or friend with a good credit history to act as your cosigner. The cosigner promises to repay the debt if you don’t.
Sometimes, non-profit counseling programs are operated by universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities. They are likely to charge little or nothing for their services. Or you can check with your local bank or consumer protection office to see if it has a list of reputable low-cost financial counseling services.
The FTC publishes a series of free consumer brochures on credit issues. You can request a free copy of Best Sellers, a complete list of FTC publications, at:
Where To Complain
You also may send your complaint to the FTC. Write to:
In addition, contact the National Fraud Information Center (NFIC), a project of the National Consumers League, at 1-800-876-7060, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday – Friday. NFIC is a nonprofit organization that operates a consumer hotline to provide services and assistance in filing complaints. NFIC helps the FTC and state officials by entering complaints into a computerized database to help track and identify fraud operators.
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