The New Republic, Oct. 2, 2019: I Worked At Capital One For Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt On Poor Customers.
I oversaw the bank’s “secured card” product—a credit card marketed to people whose credit is so bad they can’t get a credit limit of $300 at a 27% interest rate without putting down a security deposit.
The real question, of course, isn’t whether a credit card with a 27% interest rate and a $39 late fee is better than a payday loan. It’s whether Capital One’s marketing campaigns push people into debt who would have otherwise avoided it; whether it is actually in a person’s best interest, desperate though they may be, to borrow money at an exorbitant rate; and whether this enterprise is ethically defensible—in particular, for the decent, hard-working employees who toil every day to make Capital One’s mercenary strategy a reality. Because the ugly truth is that subprime credit is all about profiting from other people’s misery.