Every Time I Use My Chase Card, They Try To Raise My Rates

Stephen needs some advice. Every time he uses his Chase credit card, they send him a letter saying they’re going to raise his interest rates. In response, Stephen (being a Consumerist reader) calls to tell them not to. And they agree. Until the next time he uses his card. Stephen writes:

About two years ago when I moved away from home I got a credit card with X limit from Chase whom I bank with. The first year I used the card for some things, made payments on it regularly and all was good until last November, they sent me a letter saying they were going to raise my interest rates. Taking some advice from consumerist.com I called and asked them to lower my rates and they did (afterward I e-mailed consumerist to say you guy’s rock). In February of this year I got a notice from Chase saying they were raising my limit by 50% and in March I paid my balance way down. Just a few weeks ago I used the card again for tires for my wife’s car and immediately after I got a notice saying they were going to double my interest rates again. Naturally I called, answered a question or two and they agreed not to change my rates and send me a letter saying this just like before.

It’s starting to seem like they do this every time I use my card and they want me to call just to make sure I’m paying attention to them or something. Is there anything I can do to get them to stop? Can anyone recommend a card with good rates and I can do a 0% balance transfer to for a year?

Thanks!

Our advice inside.

Well, Stephen, if we were you, we’d certainly be annoyed enough to get a new credit card. Naturally, we recommend paying off the balance of your card, but if you can’t do that it’s well worth researching a better deal. Since we don’t really know anything at all about you, we can’t just say, “Oh, get XYZ card! It has magical flying monkeys that clean your garage and pick up stamps when you run out!”

What we do have is some tools for researching credit card offers and we’ve linked them below. Our main piece of advice is: Don’t close your Chase account. It’ll shorten your credit history and that’s not good for your credit score.

Good luck! Anyone have any other advice for Stephen? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Meghann Marco)

STEPHEN’S HOMEWORK:
Easily Compare Best Credit Card Offers

HOW TO: Play 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards For Fun And Profit

Discover:0% APR For Life Decoded

Save On Your Credit Cards With Savings Agent

Comments

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  1. B says:

    One thing you can try is to call Chase and tell them “Every time I use my card, you send me a letter saying you’re going to raise my rates, why are you doing this?” And see what they say.

  2. Anonymously says:

    @B: Holy crap, that’s a novel idea.

  3. Abqnative says:

    I had the same problem with Chase. I found out they had raised my interest rate and called to find out why. The chase person told me he would find out and put me on hold for a couple of minutes. When he came back he stated it was because they had done a credit check and found out I had high debt (funny, I just bought a truck about a month before). I stated my payments were all on time, no late payments on anything. He stated that a letter had been sent out which would have avoided this. I said, “so I’m being punished for making my payments on time?” Needless to say, I quickly canceled the card and am looking for a new card to transfer balances over to. Truly, the credit card companies are out of control… something needs to be done.

  4. QuirkyRachel says:

    But can the monkeys do the dishes, too?

    But seriously, would it work to use the same method as you guys (who totally rock, b/c I used this and cut $35 off my monthly Comcrap bill) recommend for calling and saying that you’re shopping around for a better card, so stop this or you’ll change cards?

  5. hypnotik_jello says:

    “Mojo, what have they done for you?”
    “Pray for Mojo”

    helper monkeys, hehe

  6. lotsofmuffin says:

    Erm, make the interest rate irrelevant by not carrying a balance? Will certainly do wonders for your credit score. No one younger than 22 should be carrying a balance, and probably not anyone older, either.

  7. drkkgt says:

    How funny, I have a Chase card as well and recently called to reduce my rate that they had raised to about 17. I pay on time, have about 4000 on it from school and computer equip, and have a good credit score. When I called the rep he commented first that I was a good customer (I have had the card about 7 years) but then come back and said they couldn’t lower it and when I said I was going to go to another company he said that would probably be a good idea and he was sorry.

  8. OnceWasCool says:

    I HAD a Chase card one time and they did the same thing to me. They jacked up the interest without ever giving a good reason. We couldn’t understand since we paid on time and a few dollars more than the minimum payment. It was like they were screwing us for paying the bill.

    Needless to say, we payed them off when we went to Capitol One.

  9. orielbean says:

    Remember, you do need to carry some sort of debt to get your score improved. Was the magic debt/income ratio 30%? If you don’t carry any balance at all, they won’t see you as a revenue source and subsequently your score doesn’t look as good.

  10. Buran says:

    Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?

  11. star_ says:

    Not true. I have religiously tracked my FICO, FAKO and BankcardEnhanced-FICO scores for 2 years and scores are highest at 0-1% utilization. The term is utilization, not debt to income ratio(DTI). FICO doesn’t factor DTI and has no way of knowing your income anyway. They also could care less what kind of revenue you’re producing for the banks. That’s not part of their scoring model.

    Unless you’re getting a prime rate or 0% offer, it’s a bad idea to carry balances on cards. That’s such a waste of money. If you’re financing consumer goods at typical card APRs, you’re living above your means and throwing money away.

    Last year I paid $0 in interest and received about $1000 in cash-back and rewards points from my cards. It’s easy to pay in full every month if you don’t live about your means.

  12. zingbot says:

    Yeah. Chase tried to do this to me, too. I immediately transferred to a 0% card and cut up the Chase card, keeping it open. Now I let them send me statements and spend money on me. Whee!

    Chase is getting too big. Waaaaaaay too big.

  13. cde says:

    @star_: I think he meant debt to credit ratio. If you have 5000 dollars of combined credit limit and use 1000, your d/c ratio is 20%, showing that you don’t overbalance your avalible credit, hence are more responsiable then someone who has a balance of 4500 on 5000 dollars of credit.

  14. Sudonum says:

    I did a similar dance with Providian years ago. Never used the card and it had an annual fee. Got it when I was starting out. I called to cancel, they asked why. B/C of the annual fee. They waived it. 12 months later I get a statement with an annual fee on it. I call back, they waive fee. 12 months later, fee on statement. I call back, they waive fee. I told them I was done playing this game and unless they wanted to make the “no fee” a permanent feature to cancel the card. They said they couldn’t. I said good bye.

  15. John Stracke says:

    Ooh! I could have the monkeys babysit the wombats I got with my Blockbuster card!

  16. IC18 says:

    @zingbot watch out they might screw you by adding a non-card-complient cutomer fee to your balance.

  17. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    If you have an increased amount of debt, the reason why they try to increase your interest rates even though you are still paying on time is because there is now an increased risk of default, and they are trying to either A) overcompensate themselves for the higher risk or B) encourage you to take on less debt.

    Plus, I agree with Star, there is no need to get 30% utilization. You can have good credit with very low utilization. I know many people with 750+ Fico scores who pay their balances off every month. I also know this from personal experience.

  18. lizzybee says:

    Citibank upped my interest rate without notifying me, though I carry no debt at all. Since I pay the balance in full every month, it doesn’t impact me, but it still ticks me off. Credit card companies are evil and out of control. There is no other rational explanation ;-)

  19. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    Note, however, that I’m not agreeing with it, I’m just reciting what their common rationalization for upping the rates is.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    @orielbean: Where the hell did you hear that crap? Certainly not true. I have a very desirable credit score, very high limits, and have NEVER carried a balance. I flat out refuse to on principle. The only debt I’ve ever had is my mortgage and I only did that because I’m making money on the mortgage. I have the money needed to pay the mortgage in full, BUT, I’m easily making 2x on my investments of what my mortgage interest rate is, so fine, I’ll take the free money and continue to invest it. If there’s ever an issue of creditworthiness, I just refer them to my banker whom I’ve worked with for over 12 years.