AMEX Adds "We Can Yank From Your Bank Automatically" Clause?

UPDATE: Don’t Worry About AMEX’s Bank Yank Clause

AMEX just sent out some new changes to terms of service for some customers, and one of them has us scratching our heads in particular. There’s various increases in APRs and fees, but then under “In Case of Errors or Questions About Your Transactions” they’re now adding “You authorize us or an agent to debit your Bank Account for this amount.” What scenarios would qualify under “errors” or “questions”? Don’t like the sound of agreeing to let anyone make withdrawals on my bank account without myself pulling the lever. The notice of TOS changes, inside…

Notice of Changes to Your Account

The terms of your Account are subject to change in accordance with the American Express Cardmember Agreement (“Agreement”) governing your Account (including increasing rates and fees, changing fixed rates to variable rates, and adding new terms). Any language in your Agreement contrary to or conflicting with terms amended herein is replaced fully and completely. All terms of the Agreement not amended herein remain in full force and effect. These changes apply to existing balances and future balances on your Account. We urge you and any Additional Cardmembers on your Account to read this notice carefully and file it along with your Agreement in a safe place for future reference.

APR for Flexible Payment Features
For billing periods that begin on or after December 2, 2008, we are replacing the third sentence of subsection B of the Finance Charges section of your Agreement with the following:
- “Except as provided below, the APR is the Prime Rate plus 11.99%.”
This is a variable rate. As of October 13, 2008, the Prime Rate plus 11.99% is an APR of 16.49% and a DPR of 0.0452%.

APR for Default
For billing periods that begin on or after December 2, 2008, the last sentence of subsection D of the Finance Charges section of your Agreement is replaced with the following:
- “The Default Rate is a DPR which corresponds to an APR equal to the Prime Rate plus 23.99%.”
This is a variable rate. As of October 13, 2008, the Prime Rate plus 23.99% is an APR of 28.49% and a DPR 0.0781%.

Late Fees
We are changing the day upon which late fees may first be assessed as a result of late payment. If you have not paid the Amount Due on this statement before the 10th day after the Closing Date of your next statement, you will be assessed a $35 late fee (Iowa $15). For billing periods that begin on or after December 2, 2008, we are replacing the Late Fees section of your Agreement with the following:
- “If any portion of the Amount Due on a billing statement is not credited to your Account before the 10th day after the next Closing Date, we may assess a fee of $35 (Iowa $15). In addition, if any portion of that Amount Due is not credited by the following Closing Date, we may assess an additional fee in that same billing period of the greater of $35 or 2.99% of any amount past due (Iowa $15). If any amount past due is not credited to your Account by successive Closing Dates, we may assess a fee equal to the greater of $35 or 2.99% of any amount past due (Iowa $15).”

Transactions Made in Foreign Currencies
Effective January 11, 2009, the bolded clause in the Transactions Made in Foreign Currencies section of your Agreement is replaced with the following:
- “in each instance increased by 2.7%.”

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Agreement
Effective December 2, 2008, we are adding a sentence to the last paragraph of the “In Case of Errors or Questions About Your Transactions” section of your EFT Agreement. The following is added after the third sentence:
- “You authorize us or an agent to debit your Bank Account for this amount.”

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