Not all credit cards are created equal

August 12, 2011 7:58:17 PM PDT
New government rules now protect you from some of the worst credit card practices, but there is a loophole that could catch you, and cost you.

Very few of us would waive the credit card protections that consumer advocates have fought hard to win, but that is what many of us are doing when we pick the wrong credit card.

When your credit card is swiped a whole slew of relatively new rules go into effect. Fees are limited, rate increases restricted. Unless your credit card has the word "business" on it. If the word "business" is there, then the new rules often no longer apply.

"It is important for people to realize that not all credit is created equal," says Jon Fox of consumer group CALPIRG.

He says credit card companies are sending out more applications for business cards than ever before.

"This is a dangerous thing for most consumers since while the liability is the same, the protections of the 2009 Credit Card Act don't apply to business credit cards," says Fox.

So do those with the cards know what they are carrying?

Aubrey Ankrum is an artist and says the paperwork that goes along with a credit card, any credit card, is overwhelming.

"I just don't look at the small print anymore," says Ankrum. "And they count on that, and I know that I'm the perfect victim for this. I was genetically built to be that guy."

The business cards serve a real purpose, but if you are charging for your family, stick with a consumer card and leave the business cards to business people.

If you want to keep all your consumer rights, stick with a consumer credit card. Those that say "business" generally don't carry with them all the rights and protections.


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