Keiser Report: How Goldman Sachs Rips Out Eyes, Tears Off Heads Of Its Customers – Britain To Offer 100-Year Gilts – FBI: Paying Cash For Coffee Is A Sign Of Terrorist Intent (Video)


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Bank Of America To Start Charging 30 Percent On Credit Cards

Starting June 25 of this year, Bank of America will start charging more and more of their credit card customers an APR of almost 30%. According to a letter that came in the mail today, that new rate would apply “indefinitely.” If you make a single late payment, B of A may raise your interest rate to as much as 29.99%. The new rate would only apply to new purchases, not existing balances (that’s one of the few good things about the CARD act), but according to recent surveys over 15% of customers have made at least one late payment in the last 12 months. (I know we’ve done it once or twice.)

From a free market perspective, the new late payment policy isn’t terrible, but in practice it still stinks. That’s because, like most fees and penalties charged by banks and credit card companies, it will be more onerous for the poorest and most vulnerable. Think about it, if you have good credit and a good job, who cares if you make a late payment? If your credit card company assesses a penalty rate of 30% on new purchases, you can just switch to a different card. But if your Bank of America card is your only source of revolving credit, then you’re pretty much stuck with the new interest rate. And over time, more and more customers will end up with the new penalty rate because of a late payment. Moreover, it will end up being those customers who can least afford it who end up paying the new rate because B of A will most likely refrain from instituting high penalty rates on customers they know can simply walk away.

Read moreBank Of America To Start Charging 30 Percent On Credit Cards

Judge: Credit Card Borrower Tortured By Lender


Card firms may have to be more careful about their debt collection methods after this ruling

The MBNA bank has been accused by a High Court judge of “torturing” a customer with repeated phone calls demanding he repay his credit card.

Keith Harrison had his debt of £20,270 written off by the judge, Nicholas Chambers QC, at Mold in North Wales.

The judge said MBNA had failed to give Mr Harrison the terms and conditions for the card, when he took it out.

MBNA said it was reviewing the comments and said it had been unable to have “meaningful dialogue” with Mr Harrison.

“[We] were unable to ascertain the reason for non-payment,” the bank added.

The judge denounced the tactics that MBNA and its debt collection firm had used to force him to pay up.

“In my view, the claimant rightly complains that, mainly by MBNA but also by the defendant [debt collectors Link Financial], he was hounded by telephone calls seeking payment of what was said to be due,” said Mr Justice Chambers.

“The calls were a form of torture oppressively frequent in amount and often without attribution to an identifiable number.”

Read moreJudge: Credit Card Borrower Tortured By Lender

Are Americans Stupid Enough to Sign Up For A Credit Card Charging Them 59.9% Interest? YES!!! 700,000 Americans Have Signed Up, With 200,000 to 300,000 New Applications A Month!

59.9 Percent? Americans Are Racking Up Huge Credit Card Balances Once Again And Some Of The Interest Rates Are Absolutely Outrageous!

Well, it was nice while it lasted.  One of the really good things that came out of the recent economic downturn was that millions of American families decided to get out of debt.  In particular, we had seen a sustained trend of reduced credit card usage in the United States.  It looked like Americans had finally wised up.  But we should have known that Americans would not be willing to tighten their belts forever.

Unfortunately, it appears that getting out of debt is no longer so “trendy”.  In fact, the month of December was the third month in a row in which consumer credit grew in the United States.  Prior to that, consumer credit in the United States had declined for 20 months in a row.  The American people were doing so, so good.  Why did they have to stop?  It appears that the American people have fallen off the wagon and have gotten a taste for credit card debt once again.

This time, however, the credit card companies are back with interest rates that are higher than ever.  In fact, one national credit card company has hundreds of thousands of customers signed up for a card that charges interest rates of up to 59.9%.

59.9%?

You mean there are people that are stupid enough to actually sign up for a credit card that will charge them 59.9% interest?

Unfortunately the answer is yes.

In fact, the top rate was 79.9% before First Premier Bank lowered it.

These cards are targeted at Americans that have a poor credit history, and these days there are a whole lot of those.

A recent story on the website of CNN described how large numbers of U.S. consumers with poor credit are gobbling up credit cards like these.  Unfortunately, many of these consumers are also not smart enough to realize what they are getting into.  The CNN story contained a quote from a woman who was in complete shock when she discovered that her interest rate was going to go up by 50 percentage points….

“I about had a heart attack when I got a disclosure notice saying that my starting rate of 29.9% was going up to 79.9%.”

First Premier Bank has since lowered the top rate on those cards to 59.9%, but that it still completely outrageous.

Not only are the interest rates on those cards super high, but they also charge a whole bunch of fees on those cards as well.  The following are some of the fees that First Premier Bank charges….

*$45 processing fee to open the account

*Annual fee of $30 for the first year

*$45 fee for every subsequent year

*A monthly servicing fee of $6.25

So you would think that nobody in their right mind would ever sign up for such a card, right?

Wrong.

CNN is reporting that almost 700,000 Americans have signed up for the card.

Ouch.

In fact, CNN says that First Premier Bank gets between 200,000 to 300,000 new applications a month for the card, but that they only open about 50,000 new accounts each month.

Are there really this many Americans that are this gullible?

If Americans would just remember the “DBS” rule they would be so much better off.

DBS = Don’t Be Stupid

Do you know how long it would take to pay off a credit card with a 59.9 percent interest rate?

Read moreAre Americans Stupid Enough to Sign Up For A Credit Card Charging Them 59.9% Interest? YES!!! 700,000 Americans Have Signed Up, With 200,000 to 300,000 New Applications A Month!

‘Hot Watch’: Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real Time

Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.

The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.

For credit cards, agents can get real-time information on a person’s purchases by writing their own subpoena, followed up by a order from a judge that the surveillance not be disclosed. Agents can also go the traditional route — going to a judge, proving probable cause and getting a search warrant — which means the target will eventually be notified they were spied on.

The document suggests that the normal practice is to ask for all historical records on an account or individual from a credit card company, since getting stored records is generally legally easy. Then the agent sends a request for “Any and all records and information relating directly or indirectly to any and all ongoing and future transactions or events relating to any and all of the following person(s), entitities, account numbers, addresses and other matters…” That gets them a live feed of transaction data.

DOJ powerpoint presentation on Hotwatch surveillance orders of credit card transactions

It’s not clear what standards an agent would have to follow to get a “Hotwatch” order. The Justice Department told Sogohian the document is the only one it could find relating to “hotwatches” — which means there is either no policy or the department is witholding relevant documents.

The Justice Department did not return a call for comment.

Every year, the Justice Department does have to report to Congress the numbers of criminal and national security wiretaps undertaken, as well as the number of National Security Letters issued. Tens of thousands of NSLs are issued yearly — most with gag orders that forbid ISPs or librarians from ever saying they have ever been served with such a subpoena.

But the Justice Department does not report or make public the number of times it got real time or historic cell phone location information, nor how often it is using these so-called “hotwatch” orders.

Photo courtesy of TheTruthAbout

By Ryan Singel
December 2, 2010

Source: Wired

Millions of credit card holders feel the crunch as interest rates soars

Millions of credit card holders are being squeezed by the highest interest rates in more than a decade, according to new research.

Despite the Bank of England’s base rate being at 0.5 per cent, average credit card interest rates have risen to 18.8 per cent.

Experts said that card providers were passing on the cost of an increase in defaults caused by rising unemployment and bad debts. The charges were also a consequence of tighter Government regulation.

Any credit card holders with a £5,000 debt, and who pay off the minimum 2.5 per cent each month, will repay on average £2,289 more than three years ago.

The last time interest rates hit today’s levels was in 1999, when the base rate was 6 per cent.

Borrowers who became used to switching their debts between cards promising 0 per cent introductory offers have been affected by a sharp tightening of lending critera. Figures from the UK Payment Association found that around half of all applications for credit cards were rejected last year.

Read moreMillions of credit card holders feel the crunch as interest rates soars

Citigroup Is In Serious Trouble

Citigroup’s “Hail Mary Pass”: How To Know Citigroup Is In Serious Trouble


citigroup

Citigroup is in serious trouble. It’s easy to tell by what they are doing.

Inquiring minds note that Citi Abruptly Shutting Down Gas-Linked Credit Cards.

Citi (C) is abruptly shutting down credit cards linked to gas station partners.

The bank is offering few details:

The bank said in a statement it “decided to close a limited number of oil partner co-branded MasterCard accounts.” That includes not only Shell, but Citgo, ExxonMobil and Phillips 66-Conoco cards.

The close date was Wednesday, and letters were sent out Monday to customers informing them of the change, a Citi spokesman said. The bank would not say how many cards were shut down or how much available credit they represented.

In a followup article the Business Insider notes ….

Citi Jacks Credit Card Rates To 29.99% On Unsuspecting Customers.

Yesterday, we reported on how scores of people across the country had found their gas station-linked credit cards from Citibank had been canceled.

One reader, Rachel, emailed us and explained her frustration.

I received two letters by mail from Citibank yesterday. One said that because I always paid my account on time and that I was such a great customer they were increasing my credit limit. The next letter I opened stated that Citibank was raising my interest rate from the current 18.99% to 29.99%.

My husband and I have good credit and are making a genuine effort to get out of debt by purchasing next to nothing on credit.

While I am ashamed to admit this to you we owe $25,000 to Citibank, our choices at this time are very limited. I have made some calculations and in order to pay the balance before they forcibly close my account, my husband and I must make payments of $1400 per month, this is a substantial increase from the minimum balances they require of $665 per month. I have not opted to pay Citibank the 29.99% interest. …

Now admittedly having a $25,000 balance is a sign of a problem. On the other hand, the account seems to be in good standing, so let’s dig further.

Citigroup Pressure Builds

Read moreCitigroup Is In Serious Trouble

Citibank Closed Credit Card Accounts Without Warning

Citi closes gas-linked MasterCards without warning

citibank

NEW YORK (AP) – Shannon Burdette tried to pay with her Shell Mastercard after filling up her gas tank this weekend but found the card rejected.

Confused, she called the customer service line on the back of the card, issued by Citibank, and was told the account was closed because of something that appeared on her credit report. But when the Sykesville, Md., resident got a copy of her credit report online, the only negative thing she saw was “closed at credit grantor’s request” on the Shell MasterCard account.

“They said there was a routine review,” said Burdette, who maintained that she and her husband, Brian, used the card regularly and always paid the bill on time.

Burdette isn’t alone. People across the country have been reporting similar experiences in postings on various consumer Web sites.

Citi confirmed the basics. The bank said in a statement it “decided to close a limited number of oil partner co-branded MasterCard accounts.” That includes not only Shell, but Citgo, ExxonMobil and Phillips 66-Conoco cards.

The close date was Wednesday, and letters were sent out Monday to customers informing them of the change, a Citi spokesman said. The bank would not say how many cards were shut down or how much available credit they represented.

Read moreCitibank Closed Credit Card Accounts Without Warning

US credit card defaults up, signal consumer stress

And now the credit card crisis. Who will bailout the US consumers?

“The defaults are a wake-up call for those expecting a V-shaped recovery.”

V-shape recovery? There is no recovery:

Job Losses: The Scariest Chart Ever


american-express-master-card-credit-card-crisis
American Express and MasterCard credit cards are shown in Washington June 25, 2008. (REUTERS)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc customers defaulted on their credit card debts in August at the highest rates since the onset of the recession, a sign that the banks’ consumer lending woes are far from over.

The trend was echoed among most other major credit card issuers, dashing optimism sparked when many banks and specialty finance companies reported lower default rates for July.

Read moreUS credit card defaults up, signal consumer stress

Hacker (Ex-US Secret Service) charged with biggest ever US credit card fraud

credit-cards

A hacker who had once worked with the US secret service has been charged with the biggest credit card identity theft ever recorded in the US.

Albert Gonzales, 28, of Miami, and his accomplices, allegedly stole at least 130 million accounts from big retail companies.

Gonzales is accused of working with two unidentified Russian conspirators to hack into the databases of retail chains, and then selling the information around the world.

Read moreHacker (Ex-US Secret Service) charged with biggest ever US credit card fraud

US: Consumer, Celebrity Bankruptcies Rise 34%, May Hit 1.4 Million

More green shoots!


Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) — Consumer bankruptcies show no sign of abating after rising more than a third this year and may hit 1.4 million by Dec. 31 as jobs are lost and loans are harder to get, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

More than 126,000 consumers filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. last month, 34 percent more than in July 2008, the ABI said in its latest report on Aug. 4. The increase came after a 36.5 percent rise in personal bankruptcies nationwide in the first six months, to 675,351, according to the ABI research group, which interprets data collected by the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

“Rising unemployment on top of high pre-existing debt burdens is a formula for higher bankruptcies through the end of this year,” ABI Executive Director Samuel Gerdano said in a statement. The group, composed of lawyers, accountants, bankers and judges, is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Debt problems don’t stop with sub-prime borrowers. Celebrities who filed for bankruptcy in July included movie actor Stephen Baldwin, who sought protection from creditors after lenders began foreclosure procedures against his home. Lenny Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a petition that says the former Major League Baseball All-Star owes between $10 million and $50 million.

Read moreUS: Consumer, Celebrity Bankruptcies Rise 34%, May Hit 1.4 Million

U.S. credit card defaults rise to 20 year-high

The economic crisis has only just begun.

Meredith Whitney, one of Wall Street’s best known and most bearish bank analysts, estimates that Americans’ credit card lines will be cut by $2.7 trillion, or 50 percent, by the end of 2010 — and fewer Americans will be offered new cards.

Related article: Meredith Whitney: Credit cards are the next credit crunch (Reuters)


* AmEx and Citi perform worse-than-expected – analysts

* JPMorgan and Capital One outperform expectations

* Default rates seen over 10 percent by year-end

NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) – U.S. credit card defaults rose in February to their highest level in at least 20 years, with losses particularly severe at American Express Co (AXP.N) and Citigroup (C.N) amid a deepening recession .

AmEx, the largest U.S. charge card operator by sales volume, said its net charge-off rate — debts companies believe they will never be able to collect — rose to 8.70 percent in February from 8.30 percent in January.

The credit card company’s shares wiped out early gains and ended down 3.3 percent as loan losses exceeded expectations. Moshe Orenbuch, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said American Express credit card losses were 10 basis points larger than forecast.

In addition, Citigroup Inc (C.N) — one of the largest issuers of MasterCard cards — disappointed analysts as its default rate soared to 9.33 percent in February, from 6.95 percent a month earlier, according to a report based on trusts representing a portion of securitized credit card debt.

Read moreU.S. credit card defaults rise to 20 year-high

Meredith Whitney: Credit cards are the next credit crunch

(Reuters) – Prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney warned that “credit cards are the next credit crunch,” as contracting credit lines will lower consumer spending and hurt the U.S. economy.

“Few doubt the importance of consumer spending to the U.S. economy and its multiplier effect on the global economy, but what is underappreciated is the role of credit-card availability in that spending,” Whitney wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

She said though credit was extended “too freely over the past 15 years” and rationalization of lending is unavoidable, what needs to be avoided was “taking credit away from people who have the ability to pay their bills.”

Whitney said available lines were reduced by nearly $500 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 alone, and she estimates over $2 trillion of credit-card lines will be cut within 2009, and $2.7 trillion by the end of 2010.

“Inevitably, credit lines will continue to be reduced across the system, but the velocity at which it is already occurring and will continue to occur will result in unintended consequences for consumer confidence, spending and the overall economy,” Whitney said.

Currently, there is roughly $5 trillion in credit-card lines outstanding in the U.S., and a little more than $800 billion is currently drawn upon, she said.

“Lenders, regulators and politicians need to show thoughtful leadership now on this issue in order to derail what I believe will be at least a 57 percent contraction in credit-card lines,” she said.

Read moreMeredith Whitney: Credit cards are the next credit crunch

The Credit Card Debt Crisis: The Next Economic Domino

Don’t forget another crisis, that will be much bigger than the subprime mortgage crisis:
Mass Retail Closings: About 220,000 stores may close this year
Interview with Gerald Celente: 2009 – The Worst Economic Collapse Ever (02/10/09)
Retailers may close 73,000 stores; Wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers


Hot on the heels of the banking crisis, the employment crisis, and the mortgage/foreclosure crisis, the country is on the verge of experiencing a credit card crisis.

According to the Federal Reserve, the total outstanding credit card debt carried by Americans reached a record $951 billion in 2008 — a number that will only climb higher as more and more people reach for the plastic to make ends meet. What’s more, roughly a third of that is debt held by risky borrowers with low credit ratings.

Related article:
American Express paying card holders to close their accounts
(Reuters)

Credit card defaults are on the rise and are expected to hit 10 percent this year. This will obviously drive many banks closer to failing their stress tests — but it will have an even greater impact on the lives of people who find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

Read moreThe Credit Card Debt Crisis: The Next Economic Domino

American Express paying card holders to close their accounts

NEW YORK (Reuters) – American Express Co, battered by mounting credit card losses, is offering $300 to a limited number of U.S. card holders who pay off their balances and close their accounts, the company said on Monday.

“We sent the offer out to a select number of card members,” said Molly Faust, a company spokeswoman. “We are looking at different ways that we can manage credit risk based on the costumers overall credit profile.”

The company did not say how many card holders would receive the offer and did not disclose the total of their card balances.

Read moreAmerican Express paying card holders to close their accounts