DEFINITION of 'Subprime Credit Card'

A type of credit card issued to people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. These cards will typically carry much higher interest rates than credit cards granted to prime borrowers; they also come with extra fees and lower credit limits.

Subprime credit cards are issued by both major issuers and smaller financial institutions that focus only on subprime lending.

BREAKING DOWN 'Subprime Credit Card'

The subprime credit card industry has seen some controversy as accusations of predatory lending practices have been documented. Predatory lending can lead to a borrower not knowing the full extent of the fees they are paying; some subprime cards carry covenants that can cause the interest rate to spike if a payment is late or the card holder exceeds his or her limit.

Interest rates on subprime credit cards can run as high as 30% and should be used with great caution by individuals seeking a source of credit.

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