First Premier Bank Informative - Fees, Fees and MORE Fees
So, my day hasn't gotten any shorter and my fuse is almost lit. Ever since I declared bankruptcy 4 years ago, this lovely bank has been sending me unsolicited and unwanted offers. I decided to post this for everyone to let them know how bad they truly are.
First Premier Bank
The offer looks pretty good. "Your Gold MasterCard is Pre-Approved! 9.9% APR Fixed" the envelope shouts. Inside is an effusive offering that rattles on about the "premium benefits" and the attractive 9.9% fixed rate. For those with shaky credit, it sounds good -- no security deposit or savings account required.
Ah but wait -- what are all these fees on the disclosure statement?
* Account set-up fee: $29 (one-time fee)
* Program fee: $95 (one-time fee)
* Annual fee: $48
* Monthly Servicing Fee: $84 annually
* Additional card fee: $20 (if applicable)
* Transaction fee for cash advances: Greater of $5 or 3% of the cash advance
Oh but wait, there's more. There's ...
* Credit limit increase fee: $25
* Return item charge: $25
* Autodraft fee: $11 per draft or $7 for phone/intenet payment
* Express delivery fee: $25 for cards sent PRIORITY 2-day airmail
* Copying fee: $3 per item
* Wire Transfer fee: $5 per transaction
* Internet access fee: $3.95
This almost looks like a satire -- as though someone sat down and dreamed up as many fees as possible for comic effect. Program fee? Participation fee? Account set-up fee? Since when are these normal credit card charges?
Just to prove it's all heart, First Premier doesn't charge the whole $84 participation fee upfront, it parcels it out at $7 per month. Even so, adding up the start-up fees would be a minimum of $179 and possibly more if the mysterious copying fee, Internet access fee, etc. were added on.
The kicker to this ludicrous scenario is that the letter gives no hint what credit limit the consumer has been "pre-approved" for. It does say the the initial credit limit will be at least $250. With a few hundred dollars worth of upfront fees, that doesn't leave much room for error. Naturally, if the account is delinquent for two consecutive billing cycles two times in any six-month period, the 9.9% interest rate suddenly becomes 19.9% and then reduced back to 9.9% if the account is kept current for 3 consecutive months or is paid in full.
All in all, it's a good argument for paying cash.
Beware that this company does business under several other names (Centennial Visa is one), but over the years, they are all still based out of Sioux Falls, SD. If you see this on an envelope, throw it in the trash.