Just when consumers thought they were safe from the credit card shenanigans of big banks, a new culprit has found its way into their wallets. Business credit cards, which are being marketed to individual debtors at an alarming rate, are not covered by the Credit CARD Act and by extension these cards can change their terms and conditions giving the debtor no right to opt out and they can also charge astronomically high penalty fees for late payments which is prohibited on consumer credit cards.
Pew analyzed business credit card application disclosures and household direct mail data in an effort to determine Americans’ exposure to potentially harmful practices. This analysis shows that American households receive more than 10 million offers every month for business credit cards, and the majority of these cards have potentially harmful terms that would not be legal on those labeled for consumer use. The high volume of offers for less-regulated business credit cards represents a risk to millions of American families, particularly since business card products require applicants to be personally liable for all charges under the business account. Policy makers should extend the consumer protections of the Credit CARD Act to any credit card that requires an individual to be personally or jointly liable for account expenses. At a minimum, applicants should receive warnings whenever a credit card is not protected by the Credit CARD Act.
Consumer debtors need to be on the lookout for business credit card offers arriving in the mail. They usually contain language that states the card can only be used for commercial or business transactions; but they also hold the debtor personally liable for any charges that they make on the credit card. If a debtor has a wallet full of business credit cards, they could also have trouble filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy since this chapter is only for debtors with mostly consumer debts. If you have business credit cards it might be assumed that any debt on the cards is not consumer related and you could be prevented from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
(source: Pewtrusts.org )