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Recently my bank closed two of my credit cards because they were
inactive. Among the list of reasons where ''I did not
satisfactorily handle my account'' and '' I did not pay down my
mortgage''. I have never been late on a payment (I kept them both
at zero) and my mortgage has nothing to do with these credit
cards. I have never missed a mortgage payment. When I emailed
the bank about this all I received from Wells Fargo was that they
were sorry I wasn't satisfied. What do you do when banks make up
reasons about why they close your account? Will this effect my
credit? Is there any agency or a person to go to that regulates
or polices this kind of thing?
Good creditor treated bad
This would affect your credit score. Dispute the bank's comments
with all the credit reporting agencies by writing a letter to the
credit reporting agencies. The bank(s) have 90 days to respond
with proof of what they are saying or the credit reporting agency
takes it off. Trans Union, Experian, Equifax are the ones to
contact that I can think of.
mother of 4
You should start watching Suze Orman's personal finance show on cable
Saturday nights. She addresses the depression -- oops, recession -- and
its effect on
personal finance, including bank behavior towards credit card holders.
addressing the economic depression, she says that banks are closing
credit cards of
those who carry no balances or who use them rarely. She says banks will
and more accounts to clear out and trim their books. CCs with
are income coming in for the bank. Banks are also closing cards with
however, she says. CCs without charges show up as negatives as far as
the banks go
and they are downsizing. This trend is true for people with bad to
Glad I have no CCs or a mortgage right now
If you don't use your CC after a year or two, most co's will
close it down, for semi-obvious reasons. The one reason they gave
you about not paying down your mortgage probably indicates that
they looked into your credit file again, and noticed that any
debt you hold hasn't gone down in some time, so this is their way
of preventing you from creating more debt. If for example you
have an interest only mortgage, this is not reducing the
principle, so in these hard times, they are trying to reduce
their risk exposure. The practice of them looking at your other
credit accounts for patterns and changing the terms or rates
based on those is not that recent, but it is finally getting some
attention, and hopefully scrutiny, which is way long overdue.
You should examine your free credit report once every couple of
years at least, and really examine it, and follow up about
anything that looks fishy, or wrong. Make sure that any accounts
you may have had in the past are annotated as closed and with a
To give you a sense of how convoluted things are, the CC industry
uses the term ''deadbeat'' to describe people who pay the balance
in full by the due date every month.
There are no real regulations for credit cards. Any that exist
are so basic, they were sidestepped by spiffy lawyers a long time
ago. Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who's studied the
matter for years, and is an expert in contract law, says it is
impossible even for her to figure out what the terms mean.
It is a wild world out there. Congress has been asleep at the
switch for years, and we unfortunately, are not paying any
attention and doing much to change them!
In the US of A prevention can only take place with a lawsuit
after the fact, and regulations are by voluntary compliance only.
I work for a credit union, not a bank. We are a small credit
union that has witnessed a huge number of losses. In 2007 we
began to look at trends in our losses and our expenses.
Keeping a credit card on the books, meaning ordering periodic
credit reports, employee time to review credit reports and
reissue cards, mailing new cards and PINs, tracking
the ''compromised'' cards (those who shop at Marshalls and TJ Maxx
are a huge problem and cost), keeping the credit card on the
computer system and mailing statements and disclosures as
required by law, costs our Credit Union $76 per year in hard
dollar costs and about 55 worker hours per year per account.
When you don't use your card at all, for our credit union that
translates to a few cents from every member for every account.
We also ask that Members use their card at least once per year
or pay an annual fee to offset the cost.
Now, the part about paying down your mortgage, I believe what
the bank is telling you is that you have an interest only
mortgage. Here is why they may be concerned. Every single one of
our losses - no exception - whether on a credit card, auto loan,
signature loan, home equity line or first mortgage resulted from
a person with an interest only mortgage, if they owned a home.
Bar none - all of them. I think the reason for this is when it
is time to begin paying principal and interest most interest
only households will not be able to afford the payments and
cannot refinance the loan because they have no equity in their
If you could successfully defend the reinstatement of the card,
you may want to use these arguments: ''Even though my mortgage is
interest only the current loan to value is 76%. If the credit
card is reinstated I will use the card at least twice per year.''
Use these if it is true, if you are underwater on your mortgage
or choose not to use your card, the consequences are that you
will not have credit cards available for use.
Not Defending - Just Explaining
Last month one of my credit cards had a number of strange
charges, all made over the Internet using the same untraceable
email account, so I reported the activity and canceled the card.
This month a *different* credit card had one large fraudulent
charge. When I mentioned this to the credit company
representative, she said this might just be the beginning of more
trouble. How does this kind of thing happen, and how can we
protect ourselves? We do some Internet purchasing, but not a lot,
and I always make sure it's a secure server.
I don't know if the two incidents are related or separate. With
the first card, all the amounts were small and everything was
sent to OUR house, meaning the person had my address and name
too! (although my name was misspelled) We started getting junk in
the mail without knowing why until I called my cc company. But I
was so surprised to see something on a totally different card
this month! What's going on???
--I feel so vulnerable!
it was in the news recently that most stollen card info comes
from in-person use at restaurants, or large retailers and bans
being hacked into. statistically, buying online is very secure.
Was sent this information from a friend about credit card/identity
Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to
place a fraud
alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any
checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to
by phone to authorize new credit.
Here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):
Hope this helps-
I am currently looking for a new credit card and would appreciate any recommendations. I
have excellent credit and pay off the balance every month; I am looking for a card with a
good rewards program (points that can be redeemed for a variety of things from electronics
to airline miles). I've tried to seek out online reviews but the amount of information is
overwhelming and hard to navigate! Is anyone happy with Amex Blue or one of Citibank's
rewards cards? What about this ''Thank You Network'' thing I see advertised everywhere?
Any suggestions are welcome.
credit card confusion
i have citibank's ''dividend'' mastercard. it gives straight cash
rebates: 2% (used to be 5%) on purchases at
gas/grocery/drugstores, 1% on everything else. we don't fly much,
and who needs another cheapo electronic gadget as a ''reward,'' so
this seems good for us, especially since everything purchased at
a drugstore gets the 2% rebate (think Long's rockridge: fishing
poles, wisteria vines, slippers, photo printing...).
the maximum is $300/calendar year, but you can get more than one
card. i have 2, because i got to $300 (with the old 5%) in about
6 mos. when you get to a minimum of $50, you can get them to send
you a check. i charge a lot of stuff that i would otherwise pay
by check. for example, i recently paid a hospital bill, my
professional association fees, etc., things in the $500-1000
range. it doesn't hurt to get 5 bucks back when you have to pay
it anyway, i just make sure to pay it off every month.
their customer service is difficult at times (international call
centers), and the default is a short cycle on the payment due
date (like 20 days after the statement date, and you don't get it
for about 10 days for some reason... my suspicious brain thinks
it's to generate late fees), but you can request they change the
payment due date to a later one, and also you can set up
automatic payment ON the due date with payment taken from your
We love the Miles Edge Visa by Bank of America. It's $30/year, but you
earn points for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for all
types of travel, goods (including gift certs to schools), etc.
I believe it's http://www.bankofamerica.com/milesedgerewards
We have two credit cards, an AmEx/Costco card, and an REI VISA, since not
all places take both types of cards. The AmEx/Costco gives higher returns
on restaurants and travel (3% and 2%, respectively), with 1% on everything
else. The REI VISA gives 1% on everything. Neither card has annual fees,
and, like you, we pay off our balances every month. You get your AmEx
rebate around Feb., and the REI rebate comes in March. Disadvantage of
the REI rebate is that you can't convert it to cash until July 1 of each
year; however, we are supporters of REI and put up with that policy. A
short while ago, I posted a question about Capitol One credit cards--
never saw any responses, but I was asking about credit cards that didn't
slap you with extra charges when you used the card while traveling outside
the U.S., and I had heard that Capitol One was the only one that didn't.
Anyone know if that's true?
I have a citicard that is hooked up with the Thank you Network. I have
gotten some cool stuff that way. I have no idea how it compares to others
as far as accrural rates etc... but they really have a wide variety of
things to choose from as rewards. They state it may take 4-6 wks for
processing, but it has never taken it that long, usually 1-2 wks. A word
of caution, I have heard/read bad things about citicard itself, I have
never had problems, but others have. love the rewards
I think the best deal is the REI credit card with US Bank.
Instead of offering products you may not even want or hard-to-use
airline miles, the REI card offers cold, hard CASH rebates, so
you can use them to buy whatever you want. They, of course, would
like you to spend the rebate in REI, but if you wait a little
longer to get your rebate, they'll just send you a check. I
forget exactly what percentages you get on the dollars you put on
your credit card, but they seemed in line with what everyone else
I have a United frequent flyer Visa card, but on a few occasions
I have been really disappointed by their customer service (only
sending me a form letter in response to a 3-page letter asking
to have some of their customer service problems fixed, for
example--and don't get me started on what prompted the 3p
letter). I charge everything, and United has been fine for my
flights, and I have cashed in several freq flyer rewards over
time, but I'm just wondering if I can take my money elsewhere.
Does anybody have a rewards credit card that they are really
pleased with? What are the rewards and how much do you have to
spend? I'm most interested in something straightforward, which
United used to be. Like easily utilized trips, straight-out cash
rewards-not the tiered rewards that, once you look at the fine
print, you'd never use. If you have one of those cards that
transfers $ to a 529, is it worth it? Other than United, I
probably don't fly enough on other airlines to make it
worthwhile, and I don't really charge enough at a place like
LLBean or REI to make that worthwhile. (unless they've developed
good cash-back programs). I charge a lot, pay my bills every
month, etc. Thanks!
We hardly ever fly and thus have no use whatsoever for mileage
reward cards. We've been happy with the Discover Card cashback
program. I don't know exactly what the percentage you get is,
and they have various programs where you get double rewards on
certain purchases and whatnot -- I never pay that much
attention -- but we also charge almost everything and usually
accumulate a $20 reward (that's the minimum to get a payout) at
least every month or two. You can redeem your cashback reward
in the form of gift cards to a variety of stores and many of
them offer a ''bonus'' -- like a $25 gift card for a $20 cashback
reward. I get all my kids' jackets and pajamas from Lands' End
for free this way.
For buying things from those few merchants who still do not
accept Discover, we have a Working Assets Visa (which doesn't
give US any ''reward'' but makes donations to causes we like) and
a Target Visa (which earns us a 10% discount on everything we
buy in one trip to Target after spending, I think, $1000 -- the
catch being that the discount card expires relatively soon after
earning it, so you have to shop there frequently for it to be
Try American Express. Yes, you have to pay an annual fee, but
I've found their customer service to be so incredibly exemplary
that I don't have any qualms over paying it. Since you pay
your bills each month anyway, that's not an issue (although
they do have a sign & travel option for any travel-related
expenses which you can choose to become revolving credit).
They do not partner with United so that may be an issue for
you, but they partner with so many others that I've never had a
problem finding a flight. We traveled as a family of four to
Spain this summer and three summers ago for free simply based
on the spending we do on American Express. It's $1 = 1 mile
with frequent bonus programs when you purchase gas or
groceries. So we buy absolutely everything on the card so we
can travel. The day we call to transfer miles over is the day
the miles get credited into whatever airline we choose to fly.
They are also doing a deal with Delta right now where you
transfer over miles and you get bonus miles from Delta. They
also have other rewards that you can purchase with your points,
but I stay focused on the travel
Signed.....Obviously happy with Amex
OK I am Type A and one night I stayed up until all hours
researching credit card rewards programs up and down. My focus
was on cash back but I was open to other options. Here's our
take: Best cash back option is Citi Dividend Platinum Select MC
(Chase has something similar too). You have to call in at
intervals to get your money (or go online) but you get 5% back
for grocery, drug store and gas purchases and 1% back for
everything else. There is a cap -- you can only receive $300
back for the year (so you have to consider whether to have a
back up card for the rest of the year if you think you'll hit
the cap). We have a back up Fidelity Investment Rewards card
(MBNA) that gives us 1.5% back on everything, into a Fidelity
investment Account. We use that for everything else and use the
Citi for the 5% cash back purchases. I looked into the 529
options but they just didn't yield as much cash. Good luck!
credit card obsessed
I'm thinking about getting a WA Credit Card and I'd like to know
what others think about this aspect of WA's business. Good online
banking? Good customer service?
I just got one! Their website is great, has lots of features, and
I got a 0% intro rate for 12 months. So far so good....
I took up a promotional ''fixed'' rate card with Working Assets (MBNA) at 4.9%.
after 15 months they doubled the interest rate to over 10%. Since it was sold as
a fixed rate I am not very pleased with the outcome. it is still less than my two
other credit cards, but I wouldn't have taken it at 10% originally. Karen
Is there such thing as a credit card (Visa or Mastercard only)
that has a rebate plan for schools (a schoolpop or scrip-type
I use my Target VISA!
I think Working Asset credit card is somehow linked with Escrip.
My long distance and cell phone are with them and and I was able
to choose my daughters school through Escrip. I like supporting
the school as well as a company who supports many progressive
My husband and I are fed up with the deceptive and paltry Rewards/Miles program on
our Continental Airlines affiliated Chase credit card, and we want to abandon it in
favor of something with more flexibility. We're not particularly loyal to any
airline, but we do travel across the country to visit relatives about twice a year
and would want something that accrues travel miles for a major airline, if possible.
Any suggestions? We've heard that the Capital One credit cards are actually really
good, and not just over-hyped on television commericials. Is that true? Does
anyone have some kind of credit card that they just LOVE?
a discerning credit card consumer
My husband & I use an MBNA Credit card for most purchases. The MBNA World
Points program is wonderful- you can cash in your points, use for travel (on
any airline w/ no black-out dates), gift cards, or other items. I also have a
Capital One Credit card, but I like the larger variety of options that MBNA
World Points offers.
If you pay your balance every month, ditch the whole credit card thing and
get an American Express card - the regular green one. Sign up for Membership
Rewards, which i think is about $55 a year, and you can use the points on
most airlines or use them for ''shopping rewards,'' which is what I do with
Yes, I know there's a fee. But using AmEx means you don't pay interest. And
if you're late with a payment it's not the $35 or $50 most credit card
companies are charging how.
I've been very pleased with my AmEx arrangement and have been a cardholder
for almost 20 years now.
I love my Alaska Airlines mileage plan. Although they now charge $45 a year,
the miles don't expire and I can go just about anywhere in the world with
partnership agreements, Africa ME, etc. Last year I had free RT to Central
Asia: SF to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan back to SF. Also, RT to Norway, Russian
Far East (Vladivostok, Chabarovsk, etc). All I have paid is a little for tax.
However, for the Central Asia trip I got the ticket on the first day I was
able, just about a year ahead. India requires getting ticket as early as
possible. I usually have flown on British Airways. I must say this about
British Airways: they don't allow enough time between flights at Heathrow. On
the day I flew hudnreds of people, probably thousands missed their connecting
flights. I will never make another trip with them with so much at stake
without at least 5 hours between flights or I will stay overnight at a
hotelat the airport (I stay a Jury's Hotel.) Also, if you have trip insuranc!
e and if the airline doesn't allow 2 h between connecting flights (which BA
sometimes does not, the insurance won't cover missed flights, or trips.
Anyway, my last trip was a nailbiter because of BA. But, I do love my Alaska
Airlines mileage plan.
I would like to get a credit card that allows me to earn mileages
for airfligths, but I have no idea which one offers a good plan
(i.e., reasonable annual fee, good ratio dollar/miles, no mileage
cancellation after a few years, and so on). My credit score is
excellent so I don't think I would have a problem getting
approved for any card. I would appreciate any leads on good
You might look at the Diners Club branded Master Card. Not as good as it used to be because they
recently lost their agreements with Continental, Northwest, Delta, and United, but you can earn
miles that you can transfer to virtually every other domestic and foreign carrier.
If you're interested in Continental, Northwest, and Delta, American Express would be the way to
If United's your thing, get their own Mileage Plus Visa card.
Another benefit with Diners Club: They offer PRIMARY car rental insurance. Virtually all the
other cards out there offer SECONDARY insurance (meaning, if you're in an accident, your own car
insurance pays, the card reimburses you for the deductible, and your insurance goes up. But with
Diners Club, it's primary insurance.
I would like to get a new credit card that will allow me to
redeem my awards for trips on any airline. I've had a United
Visa card for years but am tired of the blackout dates, etc. I
know that there are plenty of ads from companies who say they
do this, but do they really? Can you really use the miles
whenever you want and on any airline? Any down side?
Our family has been using the Capital One visa for years. We use it for as much as
we can (groceries, gas, Fastrak,....) but don't carry a balance from month to month.
We have used it several times to fly to Hawaii. We've always been able to go on the
dates that we wanted. You just call a toll-free number and speak to a travel agent.
Very easy and pleasant. Also, their program allows you to trade in miles for
merchandise and even cash. The only warning is to be sure to get your card
payment in way ahead of the due date, because they're sticklers about those late
You put your finger on the problem--although it's easy to earn
miles, it's getting harder and harder to actually use them for
the places and times you want to go, and you usually have to ! pay
at least $50 a year. You might consider, as an alternative, a
no-annual-fee cash rewards card (I have one from REI/US Bank, one
from Citibank, and a Costco AMEX). Look in the Sunday paper's
coupon section for their ads. Then use the money to buy tickets
Of course, if you ever, ever carry a balance, the interest you
pay will almost certainly wipe out any cash rebate you earned.
Credit cards are only a good deal if you pay it off every month.
--Cash is king
My husband and I have Mileage Plus credit cards to earn miles on United Airlines.
Given United's shaky standing these days, we are considering switching to some
other kind of credit card. It doesn't have to be tied to any one particular airline
(though it could - though the airline would need to have direct flights between the
Bay Area and New York). Aren't there some out there where you earn general points
and can use them perhaps on some airlines for miles (most useful for us) or other
things? If anyone can point me in the right direction (links to websites?) or make
recommendations on what to check out based on your experience, I would surely
appreciate it. Thanks.
We use American Express Rewards. We were able to link all our
Amex cards (business and personal) to one rewards account and
reap the benefits. You can get anything with your points from
gift cards and golf clubs to airline miles on pretty much any
airline(even Southwest!). We have had no problems converting
our points to rewards. they send a great catalog every 3-4
months with things you can buy with points. I think you get 1
point to every dollar spent but they have deals with certain
companies from time to time wher you earn double points (Gap,
ticketmaster, Kinko's, etc.).
We use Capital One's Miles One card. We use it for everything (groceries, gas,
clothing, ...) and have redeemed miles several times to fly to Hawaii in the summer.
Never had any problems redeeming miles or getting blacked out.
I have a Nordstrom VISA card that I love (insofar as one can, or
should, love a credit card). For every $2000 I charge, they send
me a $20 gift certificate for Nordstrom. I charge everything I
buy, and I use the certificates to buy makeup and pantyhose.
Basically, I get all my makeup and pantyhose for free! And,
their customer service is really friendly and helpful, the total
opposite of MBNA, for example.
In my opinion, most people who don't carry a balance would
benefit more from a no-annual fee, cash-rebate credit card. (If
you carry a balance, you'd be better off not using any credit
card at all.) That is because restrictions on mileage usage,
various fees they impose for having the card and for getting
'free' tickets, and the fact that many tickets are already quite
cheap undermines their value.
Right now I think the best cash dividend card is the Citibank
Platinum Dividends Mastercard, www.citi.com. I have this card and
you get a rebate check for 5% of all grocery/drugstore/gas
purchases and 1% of all other purchases. In fact, this card is so
generous (relative to other cards) that I can't imagine they'll
be able to sustain it for very long. You also can find an
advertisement most Sundays in the newspaper's Parade magazine. I
also have the REI Visa Card, www.rei.com, which gives you 1% back
on everything, but you must be (or become) an REI member.
Finally, if you belong to Costco and you travel or eat out or
shop at Costco a lot, you might consider their American Express
I have a substantial amount of credit card debt. I decided to
get responsible. As ot last August (so the last 8 months),
when I got a second job, I have completely stopped using
my credit cards. Now, and even when I was using them, I
always pay substantially above the minimum monthly
amount due. Every single payment I've made has been on
time - I have NEVER had one late payment on any card! I've
been pretty satisfied with myself and have been making
progress on my own toward getting out of debt.
Two months ago Chase raised my APR from 10.99% to
24.99% because I had neglected to read one of the zillions
of mailers the credit card companies send out and hadn't
closed my account and locked in the 10.99% APR. Tough
luck, nothing to be done about it according to them. My
stupidity. Well the balance on that account was not
extremely high, I balance transferred out as much as I could
and was resigned to paying off the rest as quickly as I could.
Today I receive my bill for a card whose bank was taken over
by Chase and low and behold my APR on this card has
gone up to 30%!!!!!!! I am so angry I'm afraid I'm going to do
damage to my health - I can literally feel my blood pressure
rising. The reason given was the same. The balance on
this card is over $4,000. Okay so it's my fault that I didn't
read the terms and my fault that my APR is now at 30% (I
actually can't get myself to agree with this) but besides
going to Consumer Credit Counselors or declaring
bankruptcy, what recourse do I have?
Even though I ''agreed'' to this, how can they get away with
this and ultimately how does it benefit the credit card
company, when they force the consumer into a situation
where they can no longer afford to pay or refuse to be stolen
I can assume that I'm not the only person that this has
happened to. Any thoughts, suggestions?
Unbelievably frustrated and stressed-out
Go to your credit union or bank and take out a personal loan for the
balance of your credit card debt and pay them off. When the cards are
paid, cancel them and get a new low-limit card for emergencies only.
With the credit union or bank loan, your rates (about 8%-10%) will not
change and you can pay off your debts with no funny business.
--worked for me-I love my credit union
I find that whenever I have to deal with a larger company, it helps to
talk to someone who is in a position to say ''YES''. The customer
service person who is your first contact is almost always a gatekeeper.
Logic, reason, appeals to emotion, will not work with them. It is not
their job to think, it is their job to apply the rules. It's o.k.,it's
not their fault.
You can go higher and that's what I always do when I get a NO.
With the internet, it's very easy now. Just find out who the CEO of the
company is (try Yahoo Finance or look on the website under Investor
Relations, don't ask an employee, they often don't know) and write them
It's worked for me in dealing with Toyota Motor Credit, yes, I wrote to
Japan. I've written the CEO of Verizon on two separate issues, National
City Bank, etc. I have always gotten a positive response. That's because
these people make huge salaries and they will give your letter to an
assistant with instructions to make the customer happy. That's the
bottom line in business, sales.
Sales don't happen without customers.
Transfer your balance to another credit card with a low, or preferably
zero, APR. You can search the sunday newspaper ads for cards with 0% for
six months and so forth. Then cancel your old card and cut back on new
spending so you can pay off your balance as soon as possible.
In the future, please pay attention to the fine print. And really, I
don't want to sound preachy and you probably know this, but no credit
card is a good deal if you don't pay it off 100% every month.
Just find a different credit card compay to transfer to again.
Credit card companies are awful! I suggest that you open another credit
card that offers 0% (or a low rate) interest for balance transfers
(whether it's for a finite period or for the life of the balance),
transfer the balance to the new card with the low interest rate, and
immediately cancel the card with the high interest rate. You can also
call the current company and threaten to transfer your account to a card
with a lower interest rate and cancel them, and they may drop their rate
to keep you as a customer. Play hardball. They want to keep you as a
customer so force them into a very low rate or take your balance
elsewhere. Good luck!
there are a million credit card companies out there who would love to
have you for a customer. Close that 30% card immediately, open a new
card with a better rate (the SF Chronicle lists all the cometitive
credit card rates in the business section) and transfer your balance.
Just make sure that you ask what the balance transfer rate is, as it is
higher than the rate for purchases.
I don't really have good advice for you, but I can tell you that this
happened to me, too, with Chase. They raised my rate to
25.99 percent. I have had no late payments or any other issues which I
could think of which might have triggered this. I noticed it while
casually glancing at my statement. When I called them, they told me I
should have ''sent back the form''
(what form? somehow I missed it!) so that my rate wouldn't be raised.
When I tried to cancel the card, they were reluctant and kept connecting
me to supervisors who promised me lower rates (which might be raised
again with out my knowing??) When I persisted in trying to cancel the
card, the operator actually
hung up on me! I sent a note to ''7 on Your Side'' the TV show,
and I plan to try to cancel it again. Good luck to you. I think this
is part of a much larger problem with the regulation of the credit
--getting by with Wells Fargo credit card now
Credit Card companies don't raise rates for no reason. They have some
reason to believe the chance of you not paying them back has increased.
For example, if you missed a payment with with another lender.
When...''Two months ago Chase raised my APR from 10.99% to 24.99%
because I had neglected to read one of the zillions of mailers the
credit card companies send out and hadn't closed my account and locked
in the 10.99% APR.'' they did this because they felt you were a higher
risk than when they initially gave you the card. Generally, this is a
result of your credit score.
You should also be able to contact Chase and ask the reason why your
rate was increased
You can view copies of your credit reports and see your scores on a
couple of websites. The best is www.creditexpert.com, which also allows
you to sign up for monitoring of your credit report. Another is
www.myfico.com. Both will cost you a few bucks, but will probably tell
you why your rates were raised.
If there is any incorrect information on your credit report, you can
work with the bureaus to correct it. There is a toll- free number that
allows you to contact the bureaus to dispute incorrect information.
This sounds like a case for David Lazarus, who writes a business column
in the SF Chronicle, with a focus on consumers'
interests. I suggest writing to him describing what's happened and
asking him if he is aware of this practice and what advice he has for
consumers. The rates you quote are outrageous. I'm also surprised that
the practice you describe is allowed. You might check with the
California Department of Consumer Affairs
(www.dca.ca.gov/cic/index.html). Finally, my sister has been handling
her daughter's account while she is in Europe, and she just keeps
responding to new credit card offers of 6 months without charges on
transfered amounts. She has transfered the balance more than once.
Good Luck Outraged by your story
I just read an article in the SF Chronicle about something similar,
written by David Lazarus, the consumer advocate columnist. He is very
open to hearing from consumers on these issues, so you might try
contacting him - dlazarus[at]sfchronicle.com.
I'd Be Steamed Too
I'd suggest you start applying for other credit cards, to see what kind
of rates they offer you. If you don't want to switch companies, then
call your credit card company and tell them that you're unhappy with
your APR and that such and such company is offering you a lower rate,
and what can they do about it?
Most companies, when you threaten to leave them, will drastically reduce
your rate just to keep you.
I hope that helps!
I am a member of this network, a Berkeley resident, the parent of a 3
year old and a nine-month old, and a consumer class action attorney. I
do not want to give you any false hopes -- because there are no doubt
provisions buried in your credit card agreement authorizing this -- but
occasionally such practices can be and have been successfully challeged
by litigation. Your case seems particularly egregious. If you want to
contact me, I will be happy to talk with you about the situation.
I'm definitely not one to promote using credit cards but one I've been
happy with is a visa card from Working Assets Long Distance (MBNA
officially manages the account). They have a 0%APR for 6 months for
balance transfers and then it stays at 7.9%. Plus I'm into them because
for every purchase, Working Assets donates 10 cents to progressive
nonprofits,etc. Obviously there are a lot of cards out there that you
can get frequent flyer miles on, etc. too, I just thought I'd pitch this
one to the group because I've been really happy using it for things like
gas, restaurants, etc. that I pay in full for at the end of the month. I
am in no way affiliated with the company. I've spent the last year
getting my credit debt to be nonexistant so I know how it feels! Good
This is in response to the post about a Working Assets Visa: I too have
one, which is issued through MBNA. Well, I just got something in the
mail from MBNA telling me of the numerous punitive measures that MBNA
will impose if I am ever late with a payment, including jacking the
interest rate up to ''24.99%.''
I've called Working Assets and left a message with the guy whose
department this is, but so far no response. It's too bad; I am
seriously considering cancelling the account, not because I make late
payments but because I consider the credit card industry, and certainly
MBNA (whose CEO is a Bush Pioneer, I believe) to be a bunch of soulless
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