BoA Closes Your Credit Cards If You Ask Why They Increased Your APR

It’s evident the pendulum swung too far in terms of giving away too much credit, but now it seems to be swinging back in the opposite direction just as hard, with banks getting too tightfisted, even when it doesn’t make sense. For instance, the APR on James’s BoA credit card jumped from 9.32% to 13.99%, and shortly after he called to see about getting it back, they closed all three of his credit cards. One was a Gold account with a lifetime APR of 7.99%, the other had a 1.99% APR. Just last month, he received an offer to transfer $15,000 to the 1.99% card. Obviously at least one department in Bank of America thinks he’s a good credit risk. It appears some other expressionless faces of the massive dodecahedron that is the entity called Bank of America disagreed.

To get his cards reopened, James spoke with a rep and said he was perfectly capable of transferring his balances to another card with another company with a lower APR, but since he had been a customer since 1990, he wanted to work something out. She replied that “we are past that point” at Bank of America “wasn’t interested.” James then emailed Diane Morais, VP of National Customer Experience, but perhaps he should also try writing a letter to the CEO (it works!). Either that, or put his money where his mouth is and break up with BoA.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. sixseeds says:

    Isn’t closing BoA accounts the quickest way to get them reopened anyway?

  2. camman68 says:

    @sixseeds: That only works if you don’t want them reopened.

  3. Buran says:

    They just raised my credit limit and made a point of thanking me for being a long-time customer. Either they wanted to stick him with the higher rates and weren’t willing to keep him at all if he wasn’t happy with that, or some other factor that we (and perhaps he) don’t know about is in play.

    Or maybe the rep was just uninformed/lazy/etc.?

    Hard to say.

  4. iEddie says:

    There are many banks that actually want your business. So take your business to one of them. :)

  5. Concerned_Citizen says:

    What is so bad about this? Get a different card. And interest is irrelevant if you pay it off every month.

  6. MrDo says:

    BofA has a 21% profit margin, they could care less if a few customers jump ship, there will be plenty of morons who don’t ever check their APR on a regular basis that they can exploit. And of course, there is the entire illegal immigrant subclass to extort high rates and fees from.

  7. enm4r says:

    And of course, there is the entire illegal immigrant subclass to extort high rates and fees from.

    You realize they service individuals who are potentially not American’s in compliance with US law, don’t you? And that all the big box banks do this?

  8. Imafish says:

    “And interest is irrelevant if you pay it off every month.”

    Agreed, if you are carrying a balance every month you have much bigger problems than a few percentage points of interest.

    You either have to start earning more money per month or spending less per month. Neither of those solutions are any fault of Bank of America.

  9. ViperBorg says:

    *waits for the credit union bandwagon to roll in*

  10. wrekxx says:

    I work for card services in BofA. This is because of project more. Project More is a new plan for interest rates to maximize profits. Before you would have a rate for cash advances, a rate for purchases and a rate for balance transfers and access checks. Now you will receive a promotional rate for say gas purchases for like 2 months or groceries for like a month. Rest assured that you will receive great promotions for stuff you never use your card for. If people don’t want the rate change they can opt out and pay their balance at their existing rate but not continue to charge on the card. As an aside I would love to be the consumerist insider for all the BoA news, I don’t get to comment as much as I’d like but I am a long time reader and can really explain any card service issue.

  11. enm4r says:

    Americans above should not be possessive. They really need to add an edit feature.

  12. wrekxx says:

    Also I will bet dollars to donuts that the op paid his balance off in full every month and we never made any money by way of finance charge. Financial institutions hate credit savvy people that don’t already have a high value relationship by way of deposits in say a savings or something like that.

  13. AT203 says:

    I hate Bank of America. I am forced to use them for business reasons, but I swear. They have not ONCE completed a major transaction without screwing it up. Every time i’ve opened or transferred accounts, they have screwed it up. And this has been at different branches, so really it is more indicative of their corporate culture of indifference rather than a random misfortune of me getting bad representatives.

  14. Sasha_Pie says:

    Are we getting the whole story on this one? I wish we had audio.

    I find it hard to believe that a perfectly calm customer asking about his interest rate led BofA to close all of his cards and immediately be “past the point” of negotiation. Perhaps he was a teensy-weensy bit mean/abusive to the reps he speaks with? ….. Not that I would put it past BofA to be evil for no reason, but this seems excessive even for them.

  15. Sugarless says:

    WellsFargo did the same thing to me. I went online to pay my bill last month after asking yet again for a lower APR and they responded by closing my account without notifying me.
    I emailed twice and have yet to get a response.

    Apparently they didn’t feel they needed to notify me in writing either, because I’ve received zilch.

  16. unklegwar says:

    So really, the title should be:

    “BoA Closes ONE GUY’S Credit Cards AFTER HE Asked Why They Increased HIS APR”

    Where is the evidence that this is widespread?

  17. scientician says:

    @unklegwar:

    One guy’s problem today is your problem tomorrow.

  18. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @BitterSugar:
    You emailed twice. Try calling them…

    Here’s the million dollar question – how does an account that was closed without your permission show up on your credit report?

  19. Sugarless says:

    @BuddyGuyMontag: I emailed them to document their lack of response to me and the reason they closed the account. It wasn’t deliquent.

    Oh, and two days after they closed it without notifying me or giving a reason it showed up negatively on my credit report. Two days later.

  20. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @Sasha_Pie: Yeah, I’m in agreement with you that we aren’t getting the whole story. It feels like, to me, that a few pieces are out of place.

    This may sound weird to some people, but every time I’ve called BOA, I’ve gotten decent service. Even when there’s a problem, I kill ‘em with kindness and get responses that are likewise.

    I think consumerist should do a feature on how putting people in high-stress positions at ease so you can get what you want/need. This includes cops, CSRs, etc…

  21. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @BitterSugar: Did… you… CALL… them. If something appeared as negative on my credit report you can make sure I’d be calling them and on hold as long as it possibly takes to figure out what’s going on.

    Email is the least invasive way of communicating with people, because of the high ignoral rate. You need to call.

  22. pal003 says:

    I had this happen with Chase. When I called to complain, they insisted I had made that arrangement to close the acct. I replied that I never said those words – then went through the hassle of making sure that the acct was reinstated with no mention of a request for closing (will effect credit score). I got hit by BofA’s Project More increase – I am done with them forever.

    Send a copy of your email to your Congressperson, and to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) who has a bill called the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights. It is getting a lot of attention right now – and needs to pass to protect consumers from bad Credit Card Issuers.

  23. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @wrekxx: Does ProjectMore affect people who have other assets with BOA, like a mortgage, car loan, or bank accounts?

  24. Grandpa?? Is that YOU in the picture??

  25. Sugarless says:

    @BuddyGuyMontag:
    Have you ever called Wells Fargo credit card services? I’ll give you a brief history:
    I’ve been on hold for over 30 minutes, hung up on multiple times, told one thing but another thing happened, told that the issue would be fixed only to have to call and wait on hold (after being switched to three people) that they had no record of my previous calls.
    I’ve documented my experiences with their credit card services customer “scare” department – they don’t care.

    If someone has the phone number or email to their credit card corporate offices that would make me feel like I had a chance of getting somewhere.

    So to answer your question, I’ve called them for years and each instance resulted in a complete waste of my time and NO resolution on their end. This is why I closed all other accounts with them one by one because their customer service sucks.

  26. Inzaburbs says:

    Bank of America did a similar thing to us in 2006, but in reverse. They opened us a credit card account without asking our permission. One day a set of cards just turned up in the mail! (until then we only had a debit card through BoA).

    When I called I was told it would not show up on a credit report as we had not activated the account, so I cancelled it then and there. What do you know, the next month when I checked, that account was showing as newly opened *and* newly closed on our report.

    Both opening and closing accounts is guaranteed to lower your score. And it did.

  27. modenastradale says:

    Eh, something’s going on over at BofA, in my opinion. I recently called to pay off my account and to inquire about the interest rate (which is too high for me to justify keeping). I said I’d like to talk with someone about the interest rate or ultimately just close the account. Without a second’s pause, the first-line rep said: “OK, the account’s closed.”

    Liquidity problems? *shrug*

  28. ChuckECheese says:

    @enm4r: I like the no-edit feature, as it prevents shenaniganization of the threads. Everybody makes the occasional typo or grammar error, and Gawker Media permits you 5 a month before the punishments start.

  29. wrekxx says:

    It’s not liquidity problems and Project More is only applied to consumer credit accounts. BTW BofA = FIA =some wachovia= regions=puerto rico= some citibank

  30. modenastradale says:

    @wrekxx: Perhaps, but in my experience, it’s really bizarre for a credit card issuer to say: “Close the account? Sure. No problem.”

    Usually they beg you to keep the account open.

  31. highmodulus says:

    Hmm, seems like a good news, bad news sort of deal. Bad news- your account out canceled out of malice/spite/gross incompetence. Good news, you don’t have to deal with BofA anymore.

    And for one of the posters above: Credit Unions FTW!

  32. GearheadGeek says:

    @wrekxx:

    “BofA = FIA =some wachovia= regions=puerto rico= some citibank”

    What exactly are you saying here? BofA is the same as Puerto Rico? I’m sure I’d rather spend a week in PR than at any BofA I’ve ever seen. Where is this wonderful subtropical BofA I’ve been missing?

  33. ChuckECheese says:

    @modenastradale: Well, there’s gotta be some good business reason on the banks’ end why they don’t want all these accounts open. Would the conspiracy theorists please weigh in?

  34. Buran says:

    @ViperBorg: I want a picture of a Borgified snake.

  35. Omir The Storyteller says:

    I suppose if I weren’t so lazy I would go apply for a credit card from my credit union, just in case this ever happens to me so I have a fallback option and don’t have to worry about getting a new card after someone’s screwed up my credit.

    I like having the Alaska miles card to get free flights (it came in handy when I had to take off to go to my mother’s funeral earlier this year) but the time will come when all the frequent flyer miles in the world won’t help any because for our convenience, we will not be allowed to fly.

  36. Snarkysnake says:

    If you are a B of A employee reading this (like Wrekxx up there), here’s something to chew on…

    I’d like to introduce you to Project Less. PL is my way of making sure that you stupid ,arrogant bastards don’t get to make back what you pissed away in the sub prime mortgage train wreck.

    Basically, it works like this: I have a B of A Visa card (and an 815 credit score).I usually take it on vacation with me,but because I have discipline,choices (and the aforementioned score),I ‘ll just leave “daddy’s little helper” in the safe this go-round.I’ll use some other credit card on my wanderings (always credit-that way ,it’s the bank’s money
    that I’m playing with if it should get stolen or I have a chargeback).

    What do I get out of Project Less ? The same thing I get every time,a great vacation and no worries about loss or fraud.

    What do you get out of it ?

    Well,um…Not a fucking thing.In fact,
    I will make it my mission to tell 5 other friends about your high handed bullshit (But only 5.Life’s too short etc..) and you can jam that card and that account up your money grubbing ass.That ,in a nutshell , is “Project Less. Glad you asked.

  37. lauy says:

    @GearheadGeek:

    wrekxx is referring to some accounts “titled” to other financial institutions but are actually serviced by BofA. They are called transparency accounts.

    When BofA acquired MBNA, they renamed their Card Services segment “FIA Card Services”. This is because MBNA serviced some accounts from other banks, like Wachovia, Regions, Citibank, etc…however, I am not familiar with the Puerto Rico comment, unless there are some banks in PR whose accounts they service. I will have to defer to wrekxx on that one…

  38. scoosdad says:

    @wrekxx: That’s all nice insider information and all, but it doesn’t explain why BofA cancelled his card when he called up to see what was going on with his interest rates. That, I believe was the gist of this story. He called to try to work something out with your company and you basically said, “not interested, we closed your cards because we can, so go away and find another bank”.

    So how does that serve to maximize the bank’s profit, unless perhaps the OP paid his balance in full every month and never financed? That is never mentioned in the original story and may be the underlying cause of the closing of the accounts: BofA was tired of losing money on him month after month that he paid them no interest (and on three cards, no less!).

  39. @wrekxx: Well, I know alot of people don’t really care for BofA around here, but I for one am glad you are able to offer your insight into BofA Card Services. I’m sure your used to dealing with people who are not of fan of ProjectMore (of which, I am one), but I won’t take it out you.

  40. wrekxx says:

    O.K. I think I was being unclear. BofA is the backing financial institution for many credit cards including first bank of puerto rico, citi wachovia etc you almost can’t get away form them. BofA will cancel your accounts if they make no money off your accounts and you aren’t a high value customer (Lots of money in deposists etc) without hesitation. The fact that the op ‘s accounts were canceled in the fashion he explained indicates that is probably the case. Project More is in essence a system that allows different interest rates on purchases i.e. 1.99% on gas charges in the month of June. This allows for charging 11% on all other purchases so that the cheap interest applies to less of the purchases so profit can be maximized. I think that since BofA can tell what you usually use your account for, you probably will get an awesome rate for stuff you never use your card for. One caveat, I just work there. My personal opinion is that BofA is a vampiric institution but it pays the bills. As far as the sub-prime fiasco, we lost a lot less than others. BofA had a shitty quarter but still posted a profit. I would appreciate not being called a “stupid arrogant bastard” I just thought that I would let my fellow consumerists know whats going on because I think you all should know and this seems to be a perfect forum for it. I really like this site and just want to help.

  41. inno says:

    I have Amex blue w/ a 14% APR. I called them this weekend and just asked for a lower rate, and got it – 9.4% Fuck BoA.

  42. Snarkysnake says:

    @wrekxx:

    I would appreciate not being called a “stupid arrogant bastard”

    Nothing personal. Just business.

    I mean,isn’t that what you guys say when you stick it in and break it off in some poor bastard ?

    However, I do want you to know that I am taking your complaint seriously.

  43. wrekxx says:

    Seriously, I know you guys hate BofA but I just work there. Since I do love this site I guess I take back my previous objection and submit to being the black sheep/pariah for all the consumerists upset for past issues with the company. Flame away.

  44. macinjosh says:

    @unklegwar: That is a typical occurrence on consumerist. The headlines are usually written as if it happens to everyone.

  45. wrekxx says:

    At least I don’t come in here singing all kinds of praise for a company that could use some help in the treating people like human beings department trying to blow smoke and convince people that they’re the white knights of banking institutions. I agree with you Snarkysnake, it really isn’t personal because personally I had nothing to do with it.

  46. acasto says:

    @wrekxx, I appreciate your comments on this matter. Some around here are just arrogant bastards and it clearly show. I guess it shows just how expensive decency and manners are these days. I mean, if someone so Godlike with a credit score of 815 obviously can’t afford them, the rest of us are just screwed. Just kiss their feet like they want, then when they walk away with their nose in the air give them a firm boot ‘n the ass!

  47. wrekxx says:

    @acasto lawl. Luckily BofA has 100% re-imbursment on manners, too bad the arrogant bastard insurance is liability only

  48. forgottenpassword says:

    I wondered when banks would start getting rid of customers who dont have an ongoing balance on their credit cards. ( “deadbeats” in wacky credit card terminology)

    I guess banks just want those who are deeply in debt, but still pay.

  49. ManPurse says:

    @wrekxx: I actually think people who like to point out their 815-point credit scores are also “stupid arrogant bastards.”

    Seriously – bragging is so gauche people.

  50. Me - now with more humidity says:

    ManPurse: so is being a hating asshat.

  51. ManPurse says:

    @Me: Let me guess, you like to brag about your credit score on here too…

  52. Snarkysnake says:

    @ManPurse:

    Maybe you’re right.Maybe I AM a stupid ,arrogant bastard.

    Then again…Maybe you’re wrong. Maybe I have EARNED a good credit score by telling outfits like B of A to stick their “Fuck You” policies where the sun don’t shine. No, it ain’t braggin. Its a mathematical fact.
    If standing up to these bully companies is arrogance-then hell yes, I’m arrogant and you know what ?

    It feels great.

  53. ManPurse says:

    @Me: @Snarkysnake: OK OK OK…

    Uncle. You guys win.

    I was responding to your earlier post that seemed quite pointed at wrecxx. So I pointed a comment to you.

    Obviously I was wrong to get personal. You go stick it up B of As ass all you want. I applaud you.

    But I’m still not into what seems to be a common practice on this site – in which posters love to share their A++ credit scores. To me, it’s like talking about how big your weenie is. But, of course, that’s just my prerogative

  54. BoA is crap.

    I had a balance transfer offer where I was locked into a 1.99% APR for the life of the balance. Then one month, I noticed that the APR skyrocketed to 17.99%. I hadn’t missed any payments either, if that’s what you’re wondering.

    So I called them and they told me that there was no such offer. BS. I still had my documentation. They denied it. So I told them to lower my APR or cancel my card. They chose the latter.

    Two days later, I transferred my balance off of that card. BoA can go screw.

  55. attheotherbeach says:

    ManPyrse: I wouldn’t post mine. It’s none of your business. But you don’t have to jump on others who do — unless you’re just jealous.

  56. ClevelandCub says:

    @lauy:

    I know this is a little late, but – When MBNA signed it’s agreement with Wachovia the contract included a non-completive clause, that basically stated should MBNA be purchased by a competitor of Wachovia that Wachovia would no longer be bound to the contract, and MBNA would be required to pay Wachovia a penalty (somewhere in the $100 Million range) so that Wachovia could restart their in-house credit card business. Today Wachovia does both consumer and commercial credit card services in house without the B of A shenanigans. I would have thought that other banks would have put similar clauses into their contracts with MBNA, but if that were true then I don’t know what would have been left for B of A to take over … the World Wildlife Visa? Perhaps others did not have the forethought that Wachovia did.

  57. chewiemeat says:

    If the guy has $30k in balances, he probably SHOULD have his accounts closed. How in the hell do you keep a $30k balance? At some point, don’t you start figuring you should… maybe… stop spending money?

  58. planetdaddy says:

    I don’t get it. This must be bizarro BofA. I have been w/ Bofa since 16 (I am 33 now) and have never had a single problem with them.

    I guess I am lucky.

  59. mppaul2 says:

    I agree with planetdaddy. Although I have only been with BofA since they took over MBNA, I have not had a problem either. On the contrary…they have been super with their 0% no fee BTs, direct deposits to my checking (which is not with them) and just very helpful whenever I call in. I have a BofA Platinum Rewards Visa and my FIA Rewards Visa (which was taken over with the MBNA merger) and both cards have given me great flexiblity with CL increases and low rates. However, I keep reading this forum to stay current with issues so I can steer clear if I ever encounter early signs of trouble.

    I have a question for the wrekxx…you mean BofA is also servicing my Citi cards accounts as well?