Should You Sign Up for a 'Professional' Card?

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Jessica Silver-Greenberg


05/19/2011 - Credit-card issuers are marketing so-called professional cards—formerly reserved for small-business owners or executives—to individuals, a new report says.

Lenders sent out 2.6 billion offers for these cards to ordinary American households between January 2006 and December 2010, according to a study released Wednesday by the Safe Credit Card Project at Pew Charitable Trusts, a Washington-based consumer-advocacy group.

Professional cards aren't subject to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 that reins in controversial billing practices such as sudden interest-rate hikes and inactivity fees. The law also requires that card issuers apply payments to balances with the highest interest rates first.

None of those protections apply to professional cards. Because of that, the cards represent a "risk to millions of American families," Nick Bourke, who directs Pew's Safe Credit Card Project, wrote in a release.

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Read the full article, Should You Sign Up for a 'Professional' Card?, on The Wall Street Journal's Web site.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.

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