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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.


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