Is it illegal to cancel a person’s credit card due solely to the fact that they are a felon?

UPDATED: Feb 28, 2015

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Is it illegal to cancel a person’s credit card due solely to the fact that they are a felon?

I know it is illegal to deny a person with a criminal record a job due to discrimination. However, is it also illegal to cancel their credit card due solely to the fact that the person is a felon? Someone I know, in good standings with their credit, received a letter stating the credit company was canceling the card because they were a felon. Would this be considered discrimination?

Asked on February 28, 2015 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It is not discrimination in a legal sense: the law does not protect felons, not in this way, and all discrimination is legal that is not specifically outlawed. (For example: a private employer cannot discriminate in employment on the basis of race, religion, sex, disability, or age over 40, but in most states could discriminate against lefties, red-heads, or libertarians.) Furthermore, there is not legal right to have a credit card, and credit card issues, as private companies, have enormous discretion in whom to allow to have cards. As unfortunate as this is, it appears the issue may cancel the card.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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