If you have bad credit, mortgage problems aren't the only thing you have to worry about. Sub-prime credit cards -- also known as fee-harvesting cards, come with itty bitty credit limits and fees that make you broke before you buy a thing.

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The CARD Act, whose major provisions go into effect Feb. 22, 2010, limits the fees on cards for people with bad credit, so the card companies are scrambling to protect their profits with monstrous interest rates -- and whatever else they can get away with.

Some of the biggest fallout from the Credit CARD Act of 2009 for consumers with bad credit has already hit: Card issuers have spiked their interest rates, switched fixed rate cards to variable rate cards, slashed credit limits, and closed less profitable accounts.

Some parts ofd the CARD Act may be helpful to subprime cardholders. The law requires that the due date fall on the same day each month to make paying easier -- and it ends middle-of-the-day payment deadlines. These changes will make it easier for you to know which paycheck the payment will come from. Finally, if you pay more than the minimum payment (and you should do this whenever possible) the excess will be used to pay down the highest interest-rate balance.

Another helpful change is that your statement will show you how long it will take to get out of debt if you just make the minimum payment each month. The new law also requires issuers to direct consumers in financial trouble to legitimate nonprofit credit counseling.

For sub-prime cards, the best provision of the CARD Act is that it caps upfront fees on cards at 25% of the available credit limit for the first year. (Fees can still be assessed up to 50% of the credit limit, but they have to be spread over five billing cycles.) That sounds like a good thing for people who typically live paycheck to paycheck, but it resulted in the card issuers looking for other ways to stick it to you -- one card even comes with an APR of over 79%!

These high APR cards are roving more popular with people who have bad credit than high fee cards, probably because you don't need to pay the high APR if you pay your balance in full each month -- and because the cost of the card is more "hidden" than it is of you get clonked for a few hundred dollars up front.

The Act may push companies out of bad credit lending altogether, making credit harder to find. Atlanta-based CompuCredit, which has been called out by regulators for allegedly deceptive marketing, announced that it will no longer offer sub-prime credit cards.A number of issuers also offer secured credit cards, which are guaranteed with a deposit for the full amount of the credit limit.This at least gives you the convenience of paying online or over the phone, making bill paying easier. You also need credit cards to reserve hotel room and rent cars.