Tampa Bay- For years, credit card companies have been finding new ways to expand their customer base. But their new idea, may take the cake. Fetal credit. St. Petersburg State Bank and Trust, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, is now testing Fetal Credit Cards. The idea is an old one, but the execution certainly is new.
Parents, upon learning of their pregnancy, can apply for a Fetal Credit Card. The credit limit is based on the parents’ income and education level. This is where things get interesting. The lower the income and eduction level, the higher the credit offered. This is what has critics up in arms.
“I can’t think of a worse idea. Well, maybe if you made a monkey live on top of a water tower, that would be a worse idea. Oh, and if the creators of Happy Days asked The Fonz to water ski over a shark while wearing a leather jacket. Other than those two things, this is the worst decision in the history of banking, if not humanity.” suggests personal finance expert Peter Dunn.
But parents have embraced this new tool as a way to teach their eventual children something about money.
“My parents didn’t teach me nothin’ about credit until I was 25. This really messed me up. Me and my wife have over $25,000 in credit card debt. We refuse to let this happen to little Hank,” extolls expecting father Hank Berea. “Gettin’ him credit early, real early, will teach him important stuff.”
And yes, you guessed it, parents may elect to have their ultrasound photos printed on the Fetal Card. Baby retailers are especially excited about the possibilities of selling goods directly to the end user. But the bank seems to be the proudest.
“The credit industry has long cared for the people it serves. It was only natural that we extend this love to fetuses. It makes all the sense in the world,” said Mark Plasinta, junior vice president of marketing for St. Petersburg State Bank and Trust. “It takes a village. It takes a village.”
Testing of the program has already begun in one market, and the results are mixed. Many cardholders have found themselves late on payments. As it stands now, the average payment is being received over 270 days late. This trend doesn’t have bank officials concerned. “We expected this coming in. We know what we are doing. Eventually these cardholders will head out and pay their balance. We’ve done the math,” notes vice president of collections Theresa Obgyn.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.