Here's what I wrote:
Ron from Anoka County got a credit card offer in the mail the other day, the first since he came out of personal bankruptcy. Credit limit for the First Premier Bank MasterCard: $700. Annual fee: $175. Interest rate: 24.9 percent.
Ron called the terms "disgusting" and said he would never apply. The November issue of Consumer Reports calls it "America's worst credit card" and notes that three years ago, the Sioux Falls, S.D., bank signed a $4.6 million settlement with New York over allegations of the card's "deceptive marketing practices."
A call to First Premier Bank was not returned last week. On its home page, the bank entices credit card applicants with the phrase, "Less than perfect credit?"
In a statement, Premier Bankcard president and CEO Miles Beacom said the card is designed to allow people to repair credit histories, so it’s not fair to compare it to cards available to those with better credit.
Beacom said the company is “committed to helping these individuals receive a second chance when it comes to their finances.”
Here's another excerpt from Beacom's statement:
More and more people are finding themselves with damaged credit due to unemployment, unexpected medical expenses, divorce, etc. The primary purpose of our credit card is to provide these individuals with an avenue to obtain a tool to help them begin to demonstrate positive financial patterns to the major credit bureaus. Therefore, credit lines are kept low (usually around $300) so that these individuals are not put in a position to further hinder their financial progress. We then report cardholder payment information to the major consumer reporting agencies. All of our products are priced based on the risk associated with offering the product to these individuals, many who find themselves at the lower end of the credit scale.