Consumers with a bad credit history might be tempted to accept any credit card willing to have them. But if they're not careful, they can make a tough situation even worse.
CNNMoney recently profiled the story of Toni Riss. After a motorcycle accident, Riss went through much of her savings paying medical expenses and ended up ruining her credit score. So when she finally got approved for a First Premier credit card, she saw it as a good thing.
Riss' card started with a $300 limit and a 29.9 percent interest rate, which Riss viewed as typical for people with her credit history. But six months in, the card skyrocketed to a 79.9 percent interest rate.
"It was ludicrous. Talk about a highway robbery," she told the news source.
First Premier denies jacking up the rates on customers, but acknowledges that it does offer a card with that interest rate, claiming that it makes that known upfront. The CARD Act, enacted in 2009 to protect against predatory practices, only applies to a company retroactively charging a higher interest rate, so both practices are legal.
Riss eventually cancelled the card, repaired her credit and found a new card with much better terms. However, she says her story should serve as a warning to other bad credit consumers.
Rather than get tied up with a high-interest credit card, drivers with bad credit may want to consider applying for a car loan. These loans can help drivers get a new car while repairing their score over time.