RIP-OFF ALERT: The misbehavior of the giant monster mega-banks continues with word that they're targeting consumers with millions upon millions of pitches for inferior business cards.

When somebody who does something wrong gets away with it, what happens? They do something worse. If it they get away again, they do something worse again and on and on. In the absence of consequences, it's an endless cycle of worse and worse outcomes. That's what's going on right now with the nation's biggest banks.

The banks have behaved badly, potentially illegally and possibly criminally, in one sector after another of their business lines. From mortgages to securitization to playing fast and loose with the law and facts when it came to foreclosure paperwork, it is sickening.

To add another chapter to it, Dow Jones now reports the big banks, which control the overwhelming portion of credit card business in the United States, are sending out business card solicitations at a rate of 10 million a month to ordinary consumers who don't have a business.

I've received the cleverly worded solicitations imploring you to take out what's referred to as a professional card or a business card. They make them sound so great.

But a business card strips the consumer of protections they're normally afforded under the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. When you have a business card, banks are allowed to hit you with the following gotchas:

  • Apply any amount paid over the minimum to the lowest interest rate -- instead of the highest one -- on a card with multiple rates
  • Reduce the number of days between when the statement arrives and the bill is due
  • Raise interest rates willy-nilly
  • Charge massive fees
  • Change the terms and conditions without notice

Recently, some Senators sent a letter to the Federal Reserve to wake them up in the hopes they would act against the banks' latest onslaught. The Fed's response? Silence, so far at least.

Until the people who are responsible at the banks face punishment and prison and the loss of their jobs and civil penalties, until then, why should they change their behavior? In the absence of consequences, why would they change their stripes?!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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