Before we begin this segment, I feel I must remind some people how this financial crisis began.
Oversimplifying: banks and lenders gave people things they couldn't afford and then they suffered when they couldn't get paid.
Well... here we go again!
Banks and credit companies are back offering credit cards to people with bad credit scores! As the New York Times points out, since the recession began in 2007, lenders have lost $189 billion on credit cards-- a huge reason for their bailout I might add!
But now riskier borrowers are fair game again for banks:
-Capitol One gave out 22 million card offers to those with bad credit scores
-HSB gave out 16 million
-Citigroup 14 million
-While discover sent out 10 million.
When all is said and done, this year consumers will see 2.5 billion credit card offers. Seventeen percent of them going to those who may not deserve them, that's up from 7% last year.
So why the change?
Lenders are saying some people are getting bad wraps on their credit scores due to falling housing values and unemployment.
But these offers are not your typical credit card applications. The banks are not stupid, the new cards will cost you--with higher interest rates and higher fees!
The paper points out Capitol One's credit card it's pitching to risky borrowers has 18% interest rate and $50 in annual fees!
But the offers are working: The number of these borrowers jumping at the chance for a new card – 10X the typical response!
Credit cards are an unfortunate part of life and will be for some time now.
For some, it's the only way to afford basic necessities. So if you're one of the consumers getting these offers after a long absence... all I can say is... please... read the fine print.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.