Bank Sends You Another Copy Of Your Credit Card Just To Remind You To Use It

Here’s a weird story. Chris at PhillyBurbs.com was dealing with some ID theft problems (random charges were showing up on his credit cards) when he got a random credit card in the mail. It was an extra copy of a card he did indeed have. Wondering if someone was trying to get copies of his cards — he contacted the bank:

This is where the story takes a turn for idiotic. I also have a card with credit company B that I applied for a few months back on the suggestion of the wife. Their interest rates were lower than my current card and offered cash back on any purchases. I received my card in the mail, activated, and never used it (it too sits in my dresser drawer–it’s like a credit card social club in there). Yesterday, I received a duplicate card in the mail. Same exact card down to expiration date. I called the company to ask if this was a computer glitch, or did someone request a duplicate card, or what the hell is going on and am I going to have to go underground?

The credit card rep told me that it wasn’t a request and no one contacted them but they noticed I hadn’t made a purchase on the card yet and they sent me another card to ‘encourage me’ to use the card for purchases.

What. the. Fark.

How about a phone call? Or an email? You contact me for every other damn promotion running. I get at least one sales call a week. I don’t have a house phone because the only people calling me were telemarketers and credit card companies.

This is how credit card theft happens. Stupid ideas like this from the company I trusted in the first place to open a line of credit with. They send me duplicate cards, blanks checks in my name, and every other piece of junk mail that could be swiped from my mailbox and filled out in my name.

Ugh.

Credit card companies to blame for majority of theft [PhillyBurbs]
(Photo: frankieleon )

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  1. dodongo says:

    I’ve had exactly this happen to me with Discover. They were nice enough to follow it up with a card, and I got to tell them that I accepted the account due to their nice balance transfer offer, and no, I would not be charging anything to it in the near term.

    • calquist says:

      @dodongo: Yep! I got my Discover card in August and they have already sent me 3 books of checks! However, their Open Road gas rewards are pretty awesome…

    • balthisar says:

      @dodongo: I should cancel my unused Discover. Haven’t use it since Sam’s started accepting Mastercard. I can’t tell you how many unactivated cards I’ve got from Discover now. It seems like I get a new one every six months or so.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @dodongo: I got my “reminder” Discover card last week. I naïvely assumed my card had expired and proceeded to activate.

      It was when the system said “Please wait while transfer you to an agent to complete your activation” that I realized it was a trap. The agent asked, “Any reason why you haven’t used your card recently?”

      “I don’t like double-cycle billing,” I said.

      “Umm… there’s not much I can do about that. Is that the only reason?”

      “Yeah.”

      So she reminded me about the cash back offers. And I proceeded to throw the card in my drawer of retired credit cards.

    • Cafezinha says:

      @dodongo: Haven’t there been posts lately with credit card companies closing accounts for doing just that, letting the card lie dormant, even as you continue to pay bills faithfully? I haven’t charged a dime on any of my cards in over a year, and I keep waiting to get a notice in the mail saying so-and-so card is cancelled due to inactivity. Happened to one card…2 more to go…

      P.S. Love your username. =)

      • dodongo says:

        @Cafezinha: Thx, I like yours too :) Too much cafezinho for me today, in fact, so now I’m jumpy.

        They can go the hell ahead and close the account for all I care. It’ll for sure guarantee they never finance any of my debt ever again. Someone else will have to take my finance charges instead!

        PS – Before the scorn starts, no, I don’t *like* to carry debt, and I don’t *usually* carry much debt, but this was a chance for me to save a bunch of money on a medical procedure by paying up front and getting cash back on it and securing a very low interest rate after the balance transfer. Even after fees and finance charges, it saved me about a $1000 b/c of what the hospital was willing to write off.

    • Anonymously says:

      @dodongo: Same thing happened with me for Discover card. I’ve got 3 or 4 cards now.

  2. shinseiromeo says:

    Same thing happened to me. I have a Lexus Pursuits card and randomly got a new one in the mail… with a different design. I called and asked why bother, and they said it was because they have a new look. They stated I had to use the new one and my old one wouldn’t work after 30 days.

    I’m curious if it was a cover-up to a security breach that they didn’t want the public to know about.

  3. cynu414 says:

    I received a new card in the mail from Washington Mutual. I thought maybe somebody requested a new one so I called the bank. They said that since sometimes the cards get worn out from use they were periodically going to send me a new one. They told me I could use either the new one or the old one. I told them if I needed a new card I would ask.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @cynu414: Wow, I want your WAMU. They hit me for $5 the last time I tried to trade in my barely swipeable debit card for a new one.

      • cynu414 says:

        @MercuryPDX: That is ridiculous. The time I actually requested a card I was at the bank and said “this card is worn out, can I get a new one?” and the girl behind the counter ordered one right away.

  4. Eilonwynn says:

    Had something similar happen with TD – got a card with a one-month-later expiration date. Totally confused, I phoned and asked them. They said it had RFID in the card. I informed them I didn’t want to activate the card, would be shredding and demagnetizing the card, and would they not send me another card without prior notification. They said okay. Flash forward three months: They disabled the card when I was out of the country and depending on it more than I would otherwise. the moral: careful they don’t decide to cancel the other card with no notice anyways, and introducing that kind of technology without an opt-out is stupid.

  5. Senk says:

    Same thing happen twice in less than a year with my MasterCard.
    It’s annoying, since the second card didn’t need to be activate, even if they said so on it.
    It was for a reason, new RFID tag on it for quick purchase at some store and gas station, which I don’t care or need.

  6. melvin22 says:

    I applied for a Chase Freedom about 3 months ago, and within one week of receiving the card, I got another one in the mail with a different design. I tried making sense out of what they were trying to get me to agree on by activating the new card, but (call me stupid) I couldn’t, so I just destroyed the damn thing. I’ve been using the original one without any problems.

  7. MercuryPDX says:

    Discover does this to me too even though I told them sending me me a new card every three months won’t make me use it.

  8. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Meanwhile my Visa expires at the end of the year and they still haven’t sent me a new one. I hope this isn’t a sign of problems to come — my bank’s being bought out but I didn’t think crap would start going wrong this early in the game.

  9. rlee says:

    I received a completely unexpected American Express card from Citi, even though I’d gotten the first one less than 6 months ago. When I activated it, I asked why they’d sent it, and was told it had lighter less wear-prone plastic. I complained about their sending it without any heads-up mail before or after, but she brushed off my concern about the potential for undetected theft.

  10. bovinekid says:

    Yeah, I just got another card from Chase yesterday for no apparent reason.

  11. MsAnthropy says:

    I’ve heard that Discover have a habit of doing this at random – unsurprising given that you can have as many cards (different designs, y’know, so you can have a card for every mood) as you like on the same account, all with exactly the same card number – so why WOULDN’T they send you a few spares if they thought you might need more?

    I don’t get the reasoning behind this any more than I can figure out why Bank of America (and, to a lesser extent, every single other credit card company I know of) is so obsessed with sending out endless numbers of balance transfer/cash advance checks. You don’t know they’re coming, so if they go missing in the mail, you don’t know you should call and cancel. Great!

    Oh wait, I do know why they do it – they want to talk you into spending some more money. Duh.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @MsAnthropy: I’m sure it’s for the added convenience of having a card everywhere you might need one. You can keep one in your car glovebox, one in your desk at work, one in your Gym locker….

      [The above is sarcasm, please don't do this.]

  12. greggen says:

    I thought I was the only one… Just got a Kohls card (2nd card) I had applied this time last year for a card and got savings on that purchase and paid it in full, never charged anything else…
    Just shred it and forget it…

    • sprocket79 says:

      @greggen: I just got a second Kohl’s card in the mail yesterday. The funny thing is, I actually used my Kohl’s card last week for the first time in ages.

  13. hunter3742 says:

    Heh…always nice to see something from another Farker…

  14. lifestar says:

    Yeah, Discoverd Card did the same thing to me too, but the exp. date was different. I didn’t really needed the new card though b/c the old card’s exp. date was still 2 yrs away! Either case, yes they explained to me that to ensure that the account stays open, it would be good if I made a purchase once in a while onto their card.

    I mainly keep it to boost my credit score, so not planning on putting major purchases on that thing.

  15. lintacious says:

    Discover kind of did the opposite for me. My card expires in August. So around my expiration date, I kept checking the mail for a new card but never received one. So I called them, and they informed me that I was sent a new card in January! Well, I had definitely never received that card so they did send me a new one. But I still don’t understand why they wouldn’t send it around the time my card actually expires.

  16. vastrightwing says:

    Watch out. Banks are the scam. You have less to worry about Nigeria than your own bank. The bank profits at every turn: get scammed? Bank wins. They profit from the scammer and you loose. They keep their money & you get hit with the fees. Don’t have money in your account? bank wins again, you get hit with minimum balance requirement & overdraft fees. Someone has insufficient funds to pay you? bank wins. They charge you for the mis-fortune of doing business with the wrong person. Have overdraft protection? bank wins again. They charge you for using it in addition to the interest. use your pin at a retail location? Bank wins again. They charge you for the transaction & they charge the vendor.

    Solution? M-A-T-T-R-E-S-S (aka cash)

  17. Josh_G says:

    I haven’t had a credit card since college, which oddly enough was a Discover card which I never used (cut up) and magically was used to make a bunch of purchases in a far away place I’ve never been. I canceled the account twice only to have it re-opened by this other “me” according to the Discover reps. Finally threatening a lawsuit got Discover to flag the account that kept it from being re-opened. Getting the balanced on the card wiped was a blast too.

    Discover kept wanting to transfer me to the 3rd party agency they sold the debt to (who of course wanted me to talk to discover if I didn’t want to just pay them off).

    I just ended up using my student loans from college to work my way up the credit ladder. Student loans – car loan – construction loan (house). Never had a problem with being flagged about not having a credit card.

  18. xamarshahx says:

    discover tried this with me

  19. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I actually had the opposite happen with my Amazon card. I opened the account about 5 years ago to save 30% on an order and I’ve never used it since, I just got a thing in the mail saying that if I don’t use in the next too weeks they were going to close the account. That’s fine with me as I’ve been meaning to close that for years anyways.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Hooray4Zoidberg:

      It’s actually to YOUR advantage if YOU are the one who closes the account vs having the credit card company cancel your account for you. I guess this shows future credit providers that you are in control of how/where/when you spend your money etc.
      I guess some creditors look at the words “Closed by vendor” as a negative in your favor thinking you may have had some issues with them and they (the creditor) needed to close your account on you.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Happened to me last year, but the thing is they sent it to my mothers house, a house i never lived in with a new number making mine useless, i switched banks that day.

  21. Alessar says:

    When I was fresh out of college and working part time I got a new credit card. My credit card company helpfully sent a second card for my account, in my wife’s name. Problem: I wasn’t married, they mailed my MOTHER (who I was staying with). I was floored, they pried enough to find another person’s name at my address and just went ahead and sent the card. I was beyond floored and all I could get out of their customer service was “well don’t have her us it then.” No apology, no remorse they directly mailed another person a card on my account.