5 posts categorized "Credit Card University"

April 15, 2011

In math we trust: the analytical secrets of credit card companies


I have a heightened sensibility when it comes to recognizing the use of data mining and analytics.  Having studied computer science in college, I am fairly knowledgeable of those disciplines. So it was no coincidence that I was able to draw attention to the ill-conceived data mining practices of American Express.  Ultimately, my public relations salvo against American Express was not about me being a victim; instead, it was about the credit card company understanding the need to change its algorithm.

I am not sure whether American Express made any adjustments as a result of my efforts and the ensuing public outrage—it said it did—but I do believe that all credit card companies learned a sobering lesson: Mathematical models built on dubious assumptions can and do backfire.  In fact, one of the reasons I think my story was so popular—and continues to be today—is that the current economic crisis occurred, in large part, due to our increased reliance on and faith in esoteric and erroneous mathematical models.

During the height of my notoriety, I received hundreds of e-mails from concerned consumers, asking me and giving me insider information about how these models and algorithms work.  I responded to each inquiry and often posted these responses in detail on my blog.  However, I have never delved into the mathematical concepts of data analysis with an emphasis on how a credit card company might use them. Well, not until now. 

My desire to explain some basic methodologies and models on this blog comes from the realization that we live in an increasingly data-driven society.  From internet searches to phone records, from credit card purchases to tax returns, companies have access to huge data sets which enable them to, in many cases, know us better than we know ourselves. The access to and interpretation of such data empowers companies beyond belief. This tremendous power should go neither unchecked nor overlooked, especially by the very consumers who are often the subjects of its manipulation. 

The next few posts will introduce you to the world of analytics.  They will give you confidence to challenge its applications and assumptions.  But most importantly, they will help you gain more control over your destiny, which is increasingly determined by the use of mathematical formulas.

December 30, 2010

U.S. credit card agreements unreadable to 4 out of 5 adults

If you’ve ever thought that credit card agreements are difficult to read, then you’re not alone. 

A recent study conducted by Credit.com confirms what we’ve all suspected: Credit card agreements are not written in the simplest language. In fact, evidence from the study supports the idea that agreements may be written to utterly confuse us all.

Read the interesting details of Credit.com’s detailed study, which concludes that the average credit card agreement is written at a 12th grade reading level, “making them not understandable to four out of five adults.”

December 10, 2010

How credit cards with no spending limits can hurt your credit score

A great article recently published by The New York Times investigates how credit cards with no limits can hurt your credit score.  I highly recommend that you read it.

Also, be sure to read this article: “There is no such thing as a credit card with no limit”. It will help you better understand how some of these cards actually work.

February 21, 2009

Shocking PBS special on the credit card industry gets it right

View the PBS special A few minutes ago, one of my most entrenched and knowledgeable insiders sent me a link to a PBS special released in 2004 entitled “The Secret History of the Credit Card”.  FRONTLINE® and The New York Times joined forces to investigate the credit card industry.

For those of you who are looking for a thorough overview of the industry and an explanation of how it works–mostly to the consumer’s disadvantage–this is excellent. For example, it explores two major cases that deregulated interest rate caps (usury laws) and late fees.  Also, it shockingly shows how the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the government agency setup to regulate banks, quashed state district attorneys’ ability to prosecute national banks and fight for consumers.  In other words, the agency regulated or obliterated the states’ power to fight cases, and therefore operated on behalf of their real clients –the banks. The government may not, in fact, be our ally.

Continue reading "Shocking PBS special on the credit card industry gets it right" »

February 17, 2009

Everything bad about the credit card industry exposed

View the hearing Last week was a busy week for those of us interested in politics, economics, and finance.  Monday, President Obama took over prime time for his press conference regarding the stimulus package. Tuesday, Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, released his plan to rescue ailing banks. Wednesday, the House Committee on Financial Services conducted its hearing with TARP recipients. Thursday, the Senate Committee on Banks, Housing, and Urban Affairs held its hearing on strengthening credit card protections.  Above all, Thursday’s hearing was the most revealing.  

The hearing on strengthening credit card protections had a panel of six experts, all of which submitted written testimony about the credit card industry. Some were supportive of regulation while others were not. The hearing covered subjects ranging from exorbitant fees to why the Federal Reserve’s new rules do not apply until 2010.  

I strongly suggest that you watch the shocking hearing although it is about two hours and 45 minutes long.  Also, read the written testimony of each expert.  By doing this, you will become much more educated about the dire need for credit card regulation.  


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About Me

Greetings! I’m Kevin D. Johnson, a business owner who has recently assumed the role of consumer advocate and internet activist. Atlanta, Georgia is my home.

My Story

Upon returning from my wonderful honeymoon in Jamaica in October 2008, I received what I thought was an ordinary American Express bill, but to my surprise it was a disappointing letter informing me that my credit line was reduced by about 65% for a highly suspicious and discriminatory reason. Considering my excellent credit score and pristine payment history, it just didn’t make sense. However, what does make sense are the unfair and insidious policies that I have uncovered when asking why. It is time to change them.

Good Morning America tells my story.

The Goal

I created this web site to document and share my challenging journey to change what is wrong, unfair, and unjust in the credit card industry. The ultimate goal of this web site is to inform consumers of ways to stand up for themselves against treacherous business practices and to educate consumers about how to improve their credit. Finally, I hope to encourage a more open dialogue with credit card companies about their policies–good and bad.


I am proud to say that this blog's unyielding demand for change led to an important amendment in the final Credit CARD Act signed by President Obama on May 22, 2009. Despite this major accomplishment, there is still more work to be done.

View video of bill hearing in Maryland

Testifying at a bill hearing in Annapolis, Maryland

Speaking Engagements

In an effort to educate as many people as possible about financial management, especially about how to manage the current credit crisis, I have begun to speak around the country at colleges, universities, corporations, chamber of commerce meetings, congressional hearings, trade organization meetings, etc. Having acquired a wealth of information that will help to empower people and to improve their financial future, I feel that sharing this information is the least I can do to make a positive impact. For information on my availability for speaking opportunities, please send an e-mail to Jennifer Silverman at jennifer@silvermanworldwide.com.

Speaking at a university


All information provided on NewCreditRules.com is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for professional financial advice. Information on NewCreditRules.com is subject to change without prior notice. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, NewCreditRules.com makes no guarantees of any kind. This web site may contain information that is created and maintained by a variety of sources both internal and external. These sites are unmoderated forums containing the personal opinions and other expressions of the persons who post the entries. NewCreditRules.com does not control, monitor or guarantee the information contained in these sites or information contained in links to other external web sites, and does not endorse any views expressed or products or services offered therein. In no event shall NewCreditRules.com be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any such content, goods, or services available on or through any such site or resource.

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Great Resources

  1. ChangeInTerms.com

  2. Complaints.com

  3. ConsumerAffairs.com

  4. Consumerist.com

  5. CreditMattersBlog.com

  6. CreditSlips.org

  7. DefendYourDollars.org

  8. Epinions.com

  9. GotaClassAction.com

  10. My3Cents.com

  11. PlanetFeedback.com

  12. RipoffReport.com
* List provided by ChangeInTerms.com.

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