New credit card offers that show up in your mailbox may look like your old ones, but they may be different. And if you don't know what you're getting into, credit problems could be the result. The new cards are called "professional cards," and they aren't covered under the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD Act for short. So things that would be illegal if applied to regular credit cards would be okay if you hold a professional card. These billing practices include hair-trigger interest rate increases, shortened payment cycles, and inactivity fees. So look out!

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Professional cards used to be marketed to the owners of small businesses. But now they are being pushed more aggressively. You may have seen a lot of commercials for Chase's Ink card for example. While the CARD Act bars issuers from raising rates on existing balances unless a cardholder is at least 60 days late with a payment, the Ink card agreement says Chase can impose a default rate of 29.99% if a customer is late by just one day on a payment.

And how about the way your payments are applied? The CARD Act requires issuers to apply payments greater than the minimum to the balances with the highest interest rate. But on Citibank's Citibusiness card, payments are applied to low-rate balances first--making it more difficult for cardholders to reduce their more expensive balances.

In addition, you can't be guaranteed the 21 day grace period required by law if you have a "professional" card. So you may be hit with unexpected finance charges if you aren't careful.

Bottom line? Read the stinkin fine print. No matter how much the government strives to protect consumers, there will always be someone out there looking for a loophole.