It was reported by the Wall Street Journal that Bank of America will begin offering credit cards without the need for a social security number or credit history.
These credit cards are likely aimed at illegal immigrants, mainly Hispanics who lack citizenship, but whose population continues to grow exponentially in the United States.
The terms of the card are unknown, but the WSJ noted that the credit card is available only to current Bank of America customers who have had a checking account open for at least three months, and who have avoided an overdraft during that period.
The program was first tested last year in five Los Angeles-based Bank of America branches, and is due to expand to 51 branches in Los Angeles County this week, then nationally by the end of the year.
Illegal immigrants are apparently seen as an untapped demographic that could increase credit card accounts for Bank of America, and see them back on top in the U.S. market after Chase recently stole their crown.
Legislation Aims to Stop Controversial Credit Card
However, new legislation was introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., that would prevent illegal immigrants from receiving credit cards from American banking institutions.
The proposed “Photo Identification Security Act” would require banks to use “secure forms of identification” as Blackburn puts it; a bill that would effectively block the new credit card offered by Bank of America that many feel is geared towards illegal immigrants.
Blackburn, like many Americans, feels the controversial credit card offered by Bank of America is taking advantage of a loophole created by the U.S. Patriot Act, which considers matricula consular cards issued by the Mexican government as an acceptable form of identification.
While Blackburn continues to take the political and national security point of view in the fight against the new credit card, Bank of America insists the new credit card complies with the law, and is only issued after proof of federal taxpayer status and a social security number.
Potential credit card holders must also open a deposit account with Bank of America before a credit card will be issued.
New Bank of America Credit Card for “Illegals” Faces Opposition
The Bank of America credit card for consumers who lack a social security number and a credit history has faced tough opposition since information was released about the program earlier this week.
The CNN program “Lou Dobbs Tonight” featured a spokeswoman from Bank of America who spoke about the new program many believe is tailored towards illegal immigrants. She appeared to be surprised that the public and media had reacted so critically.
Meanwhile, Brian Tuite, the bank’s director of Latin America card operations, released a statement saying that everyone deserves the chance to improve their quality of life.
Bank of America further defended the program, stating that it complies with U.S. banking and anti-terrorism laws.
But the opposition seems to be more politically driven than about the law. Many citizens are concerned that illegal immigrants are getting the benefits a citizen enjoys despite entering the United States illegally.