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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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After incurring debt problems, Rosemary Potter of Pinon Hills, Calif., decided this year to try to repair her credit. She didn't qualify for a standard credit card, so she signed up for what's called an Imagine Gold Card, hoping to use it to raise her credit score.
It didn't turn out as she'd hoped. For a modest $300 credit line, she was hit with a $150 annual fee, plus late fees and over-the-limit fees. After she'd had the card a few months, her credit score was still blemished, so she canceled it.
"I'm staying away from credit cards now," Potter, 57, says.
The credit crunch has made it harder to get loans, especially for those with bruised credit. To fill that gap, a breed of credit cards, often called subprime — and some critics call predatory — has increasingly sought out consumers. These cards offer only a slight amount of credit, yet charge steep fees. Among their targets: young adults with little credit history and families struggling to climb out of debt.
In the first half of this year, direct mailing of such cards jumped 41% over the same period in 2006, according to Mintel International Group, a research firm. Millions of consumers are being hurt, says a new report on subprime cards from the National Consumer Law Center, which has another name for them: fee-harvester cards.
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