In the continuing story of Providian’s credit card woes, the issuer said this week that recent cardholder lawsuits were primarily related to a “programming error” it recently identified. Providian says the “programming error”, which occurred over a period of months, resulted in the erroneous billing of late fees related to specific weekend days. The issuer says the problem is now fixed with steps in place to provide refunds to affected customers. Providian says its action will cost the company an estimated $20 million. Providian faces several consumer lawsuits over its credit card practices. The consumer lawsuits subsequently resulted in shareholder lawsuits. The lawsuits followed an investigation by the San Francisco Attorney General’s office for alleged fraud. Providian was also recently sued for trademark infringement by NextCard. Providian’s credit card offers are targeted at consumers with sub-prime credit quality or consumers who have no banking relationship. The firm also markets some card products to super-prime credit quality consumers. Providian purchased getsmart.com this year as it launched an e-commerce division. For more information www.providian.com.