Max Out Credit Card Before AMEX Figures Out Where You Live

AmEx is slashing credit limits and debating whether or not to grant people cards based in part on where they live. Doesn’t this seem like the business equivalent of racial-profiling?

WSJ: When it comes to staying in good graces with your credit-card company, having an unsullied credit record might not be enough.

Lenders have long relied on consumers’ credit scores to decide whether to approve card applications and how much credit to extend and at what interest rate. Now, as financial firms face rising losses because of the weakening economy, some big card issuers are digging deeper into their customers’ personal lives. They are scrutinizing where cardholders live, for example, and what line of work they are in.

Card-industry executives say the heightened focus is directed especially at residents of states hit hardest by the housing slump, such as California, Florida and Nevada. Cardholders who work in struggling industries like construction and finance also are feeling a tighter squeeze, with their credit lines suddenly reduced sharply even if they always paid their bills on time and in full. Other consumers are bumping up against myriad other restrictions.

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