Frontline has a program on tonight about the credit card industry, which may be a useful accompaniment to the regulatory reform debate. They include this juicy paragraph in their press release:
“They’re lower-income people-bad credits, bankrupts, young credits, no credits,” Mehta [former CEO of Providian] says. Providian also innovated by offering “free” credit cards that carried heavy hidden fees. “I used to use the word ‘penalty pricing’ or ‘stealth pricing,'” Mehta tells FRONTLINE. “When people make the buying decision, they don’t look at the penalty fees because they never believe they’ll be late. They never believe they’ll be over limit, right? … Our business took off. … We were making a billion dollars a year.”
Rings true to me.
By James Kwak