"Paying your Visa with your MasterCard": La spirale infernale des cartes de crédit aux États-Unis

Abstract : By focusing on the most glaring abuses of the credit card market prior to the 2010 Dodd-Frank reform, this article analyses the combination of factors which paved the way for the 2008 crisis and further widened inequalities between rich and poor Americans. We start by examining the historical reasons for the boom in the credit card sector, due essentially to the financial deregulation of the 1980s which democratized credit and made credit cards available to less creditworthy customers. Eager to tap these new markets, especially lower-income groups and students, the financial sector devised aggressive marketing campaigns, and ensnared many customers into a cycle of lifelong debt dependency. Obscure and misleading contracts trapped many Americans into believing they could afford these products, while their ignorance of the complexity of credit markets and their willingness to fall for such promising offers did the rest. This situation gave birth to increasingly risky practices, for example, « paying your Visa with your MasterCard » or taking up second mortgages on their homes, and an increasing number of American households became overindebted, while the level of personal bankruptcy went through the roof : in 2009, over 1,6 million Americans filed for bankruptcy, and they owed over 1 000 billion dollars to credit card institutions.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 4:22:29 PM
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Marie-Christine Pauwels. "Paying your Visa with your MasterCard": La spirale infernale des cartes de crédit aux États-Unis. IdeAs : idées d'Amérique, Institut des Amériques (France), 2013, ⟨10.4000/ideas.736⟩. ⟨hal-01639905⟩

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