Harold, an alert reader sent us the pitch from something called Net 1st National Bank and the complaints have been rolling in ever since.

Net 1st National

Having a hard time getting your first credit card? Tired of explaining past credit problems? If so, it's time to sign up with Net 1st National Bank. You can establish or re-establish your credit with us, and have access to fast cash at over 463,000 ATM's. Put credit card woes behind you and step into summer with a new credit Card in your pocket from Net 1st National Bank! What are you waiting for? Get approved NOW!

So I thought I would investigate it. When I went to the above URL I was sent to the following URL

What really peaked my interest is their terms and conditions.(Below) What a way to end up $600 in debt for nothing!

Thanks, Harold. We agree. Anyone accepting this offer immediately is up the limit on their credit card and almost certain to fall immediately behind, thus accruing interest, penalties, etc. and being $1,000 in debt in no time. More consumers need to read the fine print. The excerpts below -- especially the fee schedule in the last paragraph -- would be a good starting point.

Terms & Conditions
Net 1st National Bank KFS MasterCard Program. A refundable $500 Reservation Fee is payable to KFS (the "Reservation Fee") in connection with the opening of your account. The Reservation Fee will be charged to your credit card account and will fully utilize your initial $500 credit limit. Before you may use your card or account to make purchases or to obtain cash advances, you must make payments on your account. The difference between the total unpaid balance and your credit limit will be the amount of credit available to you.

Reservation Fee Refund Policy. This program is offered through Key Financial Systems, Inc. ("KFS"). KFS is not affiliated with Net 1st National Bank, the issuer of the Net 1st National Bank MasterCard. If you choose to close your account, the KFS Reservation Fee refund will be credited to your MasterCard Account. If the posting of the $500 Reservation Fee refund results in a credit balance, the credit amount will be refunded to you.

Renewal Criteria. Net 1st National Bank will renew your KFS MasterCard account for successive one-year periods until (i) you direct Net 1st National Bank to close your account, or (ii) Net 1st National Bank otherwise closes your account in accordance with the terms of the Cardholder Agreement.

Graduation Criteria. After 24-months, Net 1st National Bank will review your KFS MasterCard account for a new standard, unsecured MasterCard Account based upon the current bank policy existing at that time. In order to qualify you must avoid taking any action, or failing to take any action on your KFS MasterCard account that causes you to be in default under the terms of the Cardholder Agreement. This includes but is not limited to: (i) You must have made all your monthly payments on or before the due date; and (ii) Your credit card account must not be overlimit at the time of your graduation review; and (iii) You have not become the subject of any insolvency or bankruptcy proceeding.

Acceptance. Your credit card account will be opened by Net 1st National Bank of Boca Raton, Florida. Use of the card issued in connection with your account will confirm your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions of the Net 1st National Bank Cardholder Agreement that will be sent to you along with your Welcome Letter. You agree to be responsible for all charges to your account according to the terms of the Cardholder Agreement. You understand that the terms of your account are subject to changes as provided in the Cardholder Agreement.

*The Annual Fee is payable monthly, $8 per month.

Application Processing Fee (a one-time non-refundable fee): $89.95; $109.95 for a joint cardholder (if applicable). Net 1st will generate a one-time electronic debit within the next business day from your checking account based on the information you provide us with.

Refundable Reservation Fee: A $500 Refundable Reservation Fee will be charged to your credit card account.

Credit Card Fees: Transaction Fee for Cash Advances: the greater of $2 or 3% of the Cash Advance; Late Payment Fee: $25; Over Limit Fee: $25; Check Returned Fee: $20; Reinstatement Fee: $20.