Archived Q&A and Reviews
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 Friday and Saturday nights. She addresses the depression -- oops, recession -- and its effect on personal finance, including bank behavior towards credit card holders. Recently, in 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 close more and more accounts to clear out and trim their books. CCs with outstanding balances are income coming in for the bank. Banks are also closing cards with balances, 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 great credit. 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 zero balance.
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 home.
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. Just FYI. no worries
Was sent this information from a friend about credit card/identity theft: Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. Here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being stolen:
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): 1-800-269-0271
Hope this helps- anon
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 checking account. rebate happy
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? Jim
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 offers. Linda
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! janet
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 worthwhile) Frequent shopper
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? THANKS!
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.... Jill
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 system)? Thanks! Ellen
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 causes. hannah
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. Kelli
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 them. 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. rb
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. jjacobs
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 mileage cards. Travel-deprived
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 go.
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. anon
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? ak
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 fees. Ruth
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 (or whatever). 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. lori
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. Ruth
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. Fran
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 rebate card. David
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 from?
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 a letter.
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. Good luck. gmczene
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. Anon.
Just find a different credit card compay to transfer to again. anon
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! anon
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 often higher than the rate for purchases. Andrea
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 industry. --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. good luck!
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! anon
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. kim
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 luck! Mila
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 usurers. Wendy