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Buzzword: Universal default

Marketplace Staff Mar 9, 2007

A universally detested practice brings us this week’s Marketplace Money buzzword: Universal default.

Universal default is a credit card policy as cold as deep space. It lets a creditor hike your rates if you make a late payment — even if it’s not to them. They can hike your rates if you’re late paying some other company. Sort of like a landlord raising your rent ’cause you didn’t pay the phone bill.

This week, Citigroup announced it would stop using universal default. Maybe because Congress recently warned credit card companies to curb the practice or face a black hole of regulations.

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