Chase Replaces Automatic Payments With Monthly Minimum On All WaMu Credit Cards

Is your Washington Mutual credit card set to receive automatic payments? If it is, and you pay anything less than the full balance, then come March 6, you’ll be paying only the monthly minimum. Why? Because it’s an easy way for Chase, WaMu’s new corporate overlord, to make money off unsuspecting cardholders…

Chris writes:

As a Washington Mutual credit card holder, I just received a notice from Chase about upcoming changes to my account. Most of it is fairly innocuous, and primarily indicates that account numbers won’t be changing so any automatic payments that use this account will be unaffected. They did slip one sneaky little gotcha in there, and while it won’t affect me I figure you might want to inform your readers. Paragraph four states:

“If you are enrolled in automatic payments to your credit card with a fixed payment amount (e.g. $300 monthly), effective March 6, 2009, your automatic payment will be changed to your monthly minimum payment due.”

That’s a sneaky little change that will hamper anyone who is trying to pay their cards off early; since the next ice age will hit before someone paying the minimum payments will finish paying off their card.

If you don’t like the new terms shown below, you have until February 20 to opt-out.


(Photo: dooleymtv)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Luke Wilson says:

    I’m sorry, but this is sneaky how? It was spelled out on the first page in 12pt letters.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @Luke Wilson: It’s sneaky because there is absolutely NO reason for them to do this other than to trick people who might not read these notices or check their account frequently. It might be a few months before someone may notice that their account hasn’t been being paid in full, or at the higher amount they wanted paid per month.

      • Yossarian says:

        @morganlh85: How do you know there is “NO” reason? How familiar are you with the computer systems involved?

        Even if there really is “NO” reason, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who can’t be bothered to check their statements once a month.

        • Diet-Orange-Soda says:

          @Yossarian: If there were a legitimate”computer system” reason, it would’ve taken effect as soon as Chase took over WaMu.

          • idip says:

            @Diet-Orange-Soda: That is not true.

            WaMu’s systems are still completely seperate from Chase computer systems. This is why if you call 800-788-7000 (WaMu)customer service you’ll talk to old WaMu employees who have no idea bout any Chase products.

            Chase took over WaMu in what November? How could they possibly integrate computer systems so quickly? It’s impossible.

            That’s why if you have a WaMu credit card they are telling you on March 5th-9th? you will not be able to access the account because it is being migrated to Chase systems.

    • oneswellfoop says:

      @Luke Wilson:
      It’s sneaky since it’s a positively shit thing to do. Also, before I read the consumerist, I didn’t bother to read through the pages and pages of stuff my bank sent me. I know there is a huge section of the population that doesn’t do that either. So each person that doesn’t pay very close attention to every dollar and transaction on their account will wind up paying hundreds or thousands more.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @Luke Wilson:

      As of 2 years ago, Chase was not sending notifications of changes such as this one to people who had turned off paper statements.

      (I might have thought it was a mistake if not for the fact that they made another change the next month after I had just complained about the first change about which I was not informed.)

      Chase are evil scumbags. They’ve done things at least this bad before, and they will continue to do so as long as people put up with it.

      • usa_gatekeeper says:

        @TechnoDestructo: “…as long as people put up with it.”

        Since cardholders are dealt with on an individual basis by banks, the individual has absolutely no clout other than to change banks. Losing one personal account at a time means nothing to a large bank, especially if the bank’s trickery generates a short term gain of several hundred thousand dollars.

    • vastrightwing says:

      @Luke Wilson: Obviously you’re one who has no problem tricking people as long as you can rationalize that the victim is at fault for not reading and understanding your new terms. This is shady tactics and is used all the time by vendors who insist their shady practices are legit because they spell it out in fine print.

      Too bad we can’t file anti-shady legislation that says vendors can not harm a reasonable consumer with opt-out notices and can not materially change contracts without opt-in permission from the consumer. Because, after all, contracts SHOULD be agreed to by both sides. Almost all vendor contracts are very one sided and they all side with the vendor.

    • CheritaChen says:

      @Luke Wilson: I personally think sneaky is the wrong word. My choice would be devious. Just because the change was published in a disclosure document doesn’t negate the fact that it appears to be designed to prolong debt and increase earnings in interest. Yes, everyone should read their statements/notices/emails, but that’s a separate issue (people can be idiots).

      PS I’ve always been a bigger fan of yours than your brother. Loved you as Secretary Not Sure.

      @Yossarian: How’s this, then? There’s no good reason for it. If a bank as big as Chase can’t migrate customer data like this to make the transition seamless on the customer’s side, then nobody should be trusting their computer system with our money at all.

    • yankeespitfire says:

      @Luke Wilson: There’s a non-sneaky reason for this change. If you read the other changes, the rate method is changing from fixed to variable and the minimum payment amount is changing. So let’s say you usually run a $1000 balance and have a pre-scheduled fixed payment set up for $100, more than the minimum but less than pay-in-full. Now you see a really great deal at the Circuit City liquidation on a big-screen for only $3199 and have to have it. Now you’re at >$4000, your account cycles and your minimum payment is around $145. Because you’ve preset your payment and there’s no way to notify you and get you to bump your payment in time, you’ve incurred a $39 late fee for not paying the minimum by the due date. So its a system thing, not a scam to make more $$’s off ya!

  2. Snarkysnake says:

    Not helping will be the change to a variable APR (plus their (bloated) margin).Some folks could end up going way backwards in their quest to get out from under their debt. Another reason to avoid Chase altogether and go find a credit union or other card provider that isn’t bent on rape and pillage.

    BTW- I have a high energy ray gun locked and loaded for the first poster that blames the OP for carrying this card.

    • greggen says:

      @Snarkysnake: But beware of credit unions, not all are knights in shining armor..
      I had a couple CU fees (too many electronic transfers from a saving account) and got popped for two $30 overdrafts. When I asked to have them forgiven this one time, I was told no, the CU needed the fees to ‘keep the doors open’…
      They are, in many ways worse than the banks.. You dont expect to get screwed from the ‘good guys’

  3. sinfuly Delicious says:

    Im already gone from ChaMu (think shamu) after they decided to end all the secured credit cards. notifying me in a letter that was mailed to a quite old address and doing it less than two weeks before they closed the card.

    this in turns killing my oldest active acct and avail credit line. there goes the credit score I was trying to rebuild.

  4. renegadebarista says:

    I don’t see Chase being sneaky at all here. I have a card with WaMu/Chase and not only did I get the letter, I got an e-mail alerting me to this and one of the tellers at the branch I bank at told me about it. How is that being sneaky or underhanded?

    • morganlh85 says:

      @renegadebarista: It’s underhanded because there is absolutely no reason for them to do this, other than hoping that a lot of people won’t notice, or won’t change the amount paid for a few months. Think about how much money they will make in interest payments if people even forget about this for a single month.

    • Allie Trevillian says:

      @renegadebarista: The reasoning behind it is what’s sneaky. They’re hoping that people will not make extra payments, pay off the card, what have you. Keep in mind that minimum payments can be as low as $10 on a several hundred dollar balance. That means years to pay off a $500 balance, and thusly years’ worth in interest. It’s a ploy to make money, they’re going to be preying on those who don’t know any better.

      Also, it’s pretty sneaky that they’re to pass this off as part of the bank merger process. It’s not, they’re just adding it, like those little paragraphs that get thrown into Congressional bills.

    • idip says:

      @renegadebarista: I didn’t find it sneaky either.

      I got the notice in the mail and when i called to check my balance the rep informed me of it.

      I figured it was something to do with moving the credit cards over to a new system.

      If not, well… then it’s my own fault for not checking my credit card accounts AT LEAST

      • idip says:

        @idip: SIGH….

        AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH. I mean, if i’m going to go 5 months without checking my statements as some of the other posters are saying (or at least saying some poeple do) then how am i supposed to know if i’m a victim of identity theft? or if there are any charges that don’t belong on the account.

        Everyone assumes Chase is doing this maliciously… is there any proof that points to that theory? Or have we all just become paranoid anti-corporation (anti-capitalism can one go as far as saying socialist) citizens?

        • henwy says:

          @idip:

          It’s just crystal ball speculation. Frankly, I think these are the sorta people who would bitch no matter what. It may very well be that the automatic payment amounts didn’t transfer to the new system easily so it’s all just being reset to the minimum. Frankly, I’ve always thought it was sorta stupid to have these sorta automatic deductions. Take a hour out every month to pay your bills. Hell, it shouldn’t even take that long with electronic bill pay. It’s always better for you to keep track of these things yourself and to adjust month to month as circumstances change.

          • idip says:

            @henwy: Yea. You’re probably right about that.

            Also, I’ve seen automatic payment wreck some major havoc on checking accounts.

            Set it and forget it! Right?

            You miss that one paycheck cause Payroll was late and then you have all these automatic payments coming out, not very good at all.

            • Nerys says:

              @idip:

              Oh yeah. Unless your wealthy auto pay is a BAD BAD idea.

              Here is how is breaks down. If your TIGHT like a lot of people here is what happens if you miss ONE PAYMENT.

              Bank returns the paymet $35 fee
              Credit Card charges $35 return check fee
              Credit Card charges $35 late fee
              Credit Card charges $35 overlimit fee since the $70 in fees plus finance charges just put you over your limit.

              $140 in fee’s PER CARD. so now you have to pay $140 PER CARD PLUS the original payment.

              Tell me how no matter how much of a goof up the user makes that $140 in fee’s is justified for what is likely a $30 or so payment.

              There is none. lets not even get into the banks. “rewriting” history to rework the numbers to intentionally increase a single NDF fee into DOZENS of fee’s. (I checked in black’s law this is called embezzlement and its legal if your a bank)

              Then off course they have a racket going with over draft protection. you have to PAY MONEY as a fee to auto move YOUR money from YOUR savings to YOUR checking account and they will only move the PRECISE amount needed so they can charge this fee multiple times.

              THAT’s also defined in black’s law its called racketeering.

              all legal if your a bank.

              Massive Prison time for us if we do these things.

        • athmsVT says:

          @idip: They have the ability to allow auto payments. They have ability to set that auto payment to vary either with the minimum or full balance due. If it was not about creating revenue, they would spend the small amount of money to update their system or allow WaMu customers to stay on the Wamu system.

          Also, who says I do not check my bills every month regardless of my auto payment status. My citi card is due at the beginning of the month, my Amex somewhere closer to the middle. My utility bills seem to move around. The point being is that I check them monthly, I just prefer to be able to do it once a month. I hate having to keep checking for a bill I know is coming. If it is not there when I check and I have auto payments, I do not have to worry about a late payment charge and can check it the next month. But hey your system must be superior to mine.

          Credit card companies like to nickel and dime people. The due dates float a day or two each month. One of my old cards would have due dates on Sat./Sun. but you had to pay the bill by the Friday before. I understand the reasoning, but why not sate the due date as Friday then. One utility would not let you pay bills on the day due online, regardless of whether they had opened for business. I once tried to pay at around 1 am on the due date, and I was told I could only schedule the due date for the day after the due date. I could however go to an authorized payment center and pay there with a check. Due date means something slightly different to many companies. Why not have a standardized definition of a due date?

          • Nerys says:

            “If it was not about creating revenue, they would spend the small amount of money to update their system or allow WaMu customers to stay on the Wamu system.”

            You kind of missed the point. they INTENTIONALLY designed THERE OWN system for this very purpose. to prevent you easily paying larger than the minimum automatically.

            What you think that’s how it came? you think they did not specifically request the software be designed that way. Yeah right.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @renegadebarista: here’s why:

      i think chase has played this game before & here’s the thing – the reason for doing this is to reap more income from people who normally wouldn’t pay it. either they won’t pay more than their minimum (& end up paying more in finance charges), or they’ll have to revert to making payments on a monthly basis (at which point they’re more likely to forget a payment & incur penalty fees & interest).

      i’d recommend that if you’re on this plan, allow the service to keep making your mins & go in on your own to schedule a 2nd payment every month. you’re less likely to make a mistake this way.

    • dveight says:

      @renegadebarista: I don’t find this sneaky. Shitty, yeah, but not sneaky.

      After reading through lots of these reply, I gotta say, PEOPLE TAKE SOME FREAKING RESPONSIBILITY!

      It may be shitty that they are changing this, but they did e-mail and sent out letters. If you are too lazy/busy to read your mail/e-mail and to check your account at least one a month, then you win the Darwin award.

      I have come to the conclusion that regardless of what companies do, there will always be people looking for something to bitch about, and try to pass the blame on to someone or something else, and unfortunatly, many of these types of people read and post on this site.

      Your finance is not the Ronco Rotisserie Over, you just don’t set it and forget it!

  5. JN2 says:

    I think the OP should take responsibil-> Ouch!!

    Ok, I won’t blame the OP . . . . .

  6. Mollyg says:

    I love the part where they say they can change any part of the “agreement”.

  7. bohemian says:

    It is a profit making scheme pure and simple. They hope to make enough extra dough off of those who don’t read notices or are too busy to micro manage their finances so they won’t notice the payments changed until months later.
    It is just like the grocery shrink ray and skewed unit pricing intended to fleece those not paying attention or too hurried to notice.

    • idip says:

      @bohemian: Verifying your payment was made is now considered ‘micromanaging’?

      I’m really concerned now.

      If people assume everything is going right with their accounts and don’t bother to check their statements ever.

      How many double charges are going through? How many scam charges are going through their accounts?

      This is a legitimate concern!

      • bohemian says:

        @idip: You would be surprised. I was at a work meeting and one of the execs mentioned that he had not bothered to balance his checkbook in over a year. Said he was too busy to look at his bank stuff. There are plenty of people who are lucky if they bother to open their bills in time to pay them.

        Go to the grocery store. There are always plenty of tired looking people just dumping things into their cart without looking at them closely. Meanwhile their kids are screaming and hanging off of them or the cart.

        Scary thought but those people are out there.

        • idip says:

          @bohemian: I’m a full time student, with a full time job. I’m tired every single day and most nights i manage only to get 5 hours of sleep and I still manage to keep up with my finances.

          It’s easy for us to escape personal responsibility when we say we are too busy or tired. Does that mean we don’t have to pay attention? No.

          WaMu sent me the above notice so I’m going to take 5 minutes out of the month and make the correction.

          • Nerys says:

            @idip:

            From what I understand you can not make a correction. the system is rigged to ONLY permit the minimum payment or a FULL payment.

            so there is nothing for you to correct you are now forced to do it manually every month.

            I would never ever use auto pay anyway. tried it once goofed up by $10 cost me over $600. Will never make that mistake again. Auto pay = bad unless you have plenty of extra cash in the bank to cover “goofs”

            I hacked all my links to force my websites to allow me to save the user/pass and I have roboforms for the rest where I Can not hack them to permit the built in save function to work.

            I then created a link to each CC page and all in one folder in firefox. I click open all in tabs and just click “log in” to make my payments.

            in 15 mintues I am done each month.

            I also changed all my due dates so all cards are due between the 1st and the 8th. so as long as I submit all my payments BEFORE the last day of the month I know there all in and all on time.

            some are even nastier now. forcing you to submit payments at least 2 days in advance. this way thsoe day before payee’s get nailed for that $14.95 rush payment charge. How nice of them.

            Pretty soon you will see they say you must cancel a payment more than 48 hours in advance or pay a cancellation fee (for the solution is to set the payment the week before and then cancel it if you really must) since many times making NO payment is a lot cheaper than making a bounced payment.)

            Sick people I tell you. Filth. WHen I am done paying off these cars they are all being closed. Pure evil.

      • Nerys says:

        @idip:

        Having to MANUALLY log in to make the “extra” payment completely DEFEATING the point of the auto payment for a lot of people.

        YES thats mandating micro managing.

  8. Blaaaah says:

    It’s pure speculation about what their reasoning is.

    My bet is that Chase’s efforts to integrate the WaMu accounts into the Chase infrastructure screwed around with the payment schedule on the WaMu accounts. Rather then fix them all, they decided to set them to the minimum and let the customers take care of it.

    Occam’s Razor: No need to choose malicious intent over simply lazy behavior.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Blaaaah: ok, but does chase’s system allow you to set up auto payments for more than the minimum or not? i don’t believe they give you the option.

      they used to (up until about 2 years ago) – i remember a co-worker complaining about this very same thing.

  9. alanjstr says:

    I am a Chase card holder. I just checked their website. When scheduling automatic, monthly payments, you can choose from Min Balance and Full Balance. There is no option for a fixed dollar amount. This seems to be the only way they can transfer the automatic payments without surprising someone.

    • vastrightwing says:

      @alanjstr: There is a different option: have your own bank’s bill pay send a fixed payment to the credit card company. I do this with Amex. Amex also don’t have a way to send in a fixed payment: no problem, my bank can push a payment of anything I want.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @alanjstr:

      That’s what I figured. I think The Consumerist owes Chase an apology for making a baseless and inaccurate accusation of wrongdoing. Perhaps they should do a little fact checking before posting their stories?

      • mac-phisto says:

        @I_am_Awesome: they used to have this option though. what was the reasoning behind eliminating it?

      • CheritaChen says:

        @I_am_Awesome: I think The Consumerist owes Chase an apology for making a baseless and inaccurate accusation of wrongdoing

        Where’s the accusation of wrongdoing in this post? Carey’s snarky comment about making easy money off unsuspecting cardholders doesn’t claim that Chase is wrong to do so. It just implies that doing so is, rather typically, anti-consumer. Which it is. If that’s the reason for this change. And like I said above, I can’t readily imagine any good reason for it, other than this.

  10. ken2148 says:

    I’m also not looking forward to all the changes coming from Chase. But I thought the WaMu credit card payment website sucked (for those not doing automatic). I think WaMu’s website was setup to try to trip people up with selecting the wrong date to pay. How hard was it to have a clickable calendar where it showed me the current date and the due date. Why did I need to use drop down lists that not only did I have to select the right day, but the right month and the right year? I wonder how may people screwed that up and ended up paying late fees. I know I came close to screwing that up a couple of time. I hope Chase’s website is better in this regard.

    Sounds more like they are trying to resolve the two systems together and just went to the less effort one. Chase could have been truly a scum bag and had it changed to pay full balance and sat back to watch the over draft fees pour in (crap, I hope I didn’t give them any ideas). I’ll give at least a little credit (very little) for putting it in full size print on the first page and the 4th paragraph too. I also received this letter via e-mail. So at least they’re trying to inform people of the changes. But I hope they’d keep more of the features people liked at WaMu.

    • parkavery says:

      @ken2148: Heh. I thought I was the only one who thought the “Year” dropdown box was shady. Welcome to the club!

      • idip says:

        @parkavery: I also meant to mention… in the “Year” dropdown box, there are two options 2009… and 2010.

        If you hit 2010 it’s your own fault. If you find it shady it’s not like it has 2010 on top. 2009 is the first option.

        Also the site will not allow you to complete the payment unless you select an option, even then it brings you to a confirmation screen.

    • idip says:

      @ken2148: I never had any problems with it. Takes a few extra seconds to think about the date but then again you shouldn’t be rushing through you payments anyway.

    • Harley RidersTexas says:

      @ken2148:

      KEN are you also looking forward to your NEW rate of 25.99 percent? GIVE me a BREAK, no idiot would want this…are you that desperate to rely on credit? We have GOT to stop this fraud and this taking advantage of consumers!

  11. InThrees says:

    The article assumes that the non-minimum payment currently in use will be more than the new payment. That may not be the case, right? Isn’t this the result of a merging of 2 different kinds of cards?

    What if the minimum payment on the new combined balance was $347 and Joe Customer’s automatic payment was $300? Bam, late fee, likely increased interest rate, and surrendering of his first born, etc etc.

    I agree this change will likely work in Chase’s favor in a lot of cases, but it is really the only way to cover their ass on the “You didn’t notify me and my autopay wasn’t enough!” scenarios.

    • Jeff_McAwes0me says:

      @InThrees: If your minimum payment was $347, your balance would be astronomical. This policy change would be the least of your problems.

    • idip says:

      @InThrees: I could buy something along those lines.

      I can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard the following:

      Me: Yes Ma’m you’re card is cancelled you reported it stolen last month.

      Customer: I know! How come you didn’t tell the Wine Club that i have a new card number!

      Me: Ma’am, I’m sorry it is not our responsibility or even a possibility for us to find out who you have auto payments setup with, that is yours and you need to work it out with those companies.

      Customer: Well this is Bull*!

      Me: I’m sorry you feel that way ma’am. Did you think this was going to be a problem when we sent you a card with a new credit card number on it?

      Customer: *slams phone onto receiver*

      Me: *facepalm*

  12. bjuser says:

    Is this only for automatic payments? I always pay my credit card bills manually each month, sometimes even pay 3 different times per month whenever I have extra money. Will I still be able to schedule manual fixed amounts??

  13. d2002 says:

    Thank god the Consumerist is here to catch things like this. Unfortunately, Consumerist can’t catch every single one of these transgressions. For every one exposed credit card scheme, there’s probably 20 that goes unnoticed. That’s why we have to hammer the ones we do catch.

    Spread the word:

    [digg.com]

  14. Imaginary says:

    If you want to hide then you hide in plain sight. That’s what they’re doing here, hiding the information right in front of you. When you rip open that envelope or sealed fold-over thing they blast you with tons of information. Not just what you need to know on the first page then details on the next page, not it’s just a crap load of info right there in front of you. So you put it down thinking “I’ll get to it later after I relax from work”. They rely on this behavior, it’s not like they have to do anything special to achieve their results, this is how business is done now. Look for more of this behavior as the economy and the rules governing these companies gets tighter.

  15. pmcpa2 says:

    Um… how is that opting out… they cancel the account!

    • mac-phisto says:

      @pmcpa2: that’s how “opting-out” works in the credit card industry. agree to the terms or your account is closed – your choice.

      but wait – it gets better. let’s say you opt-out & close the account. in actuality, it’s still active, so if you forgot to change your quarterly withdrawal for the country club to a different card, the charge goes thru & your mistake just caused you to opt-in after you already opted-out.

      nice, huh?

  16. TrueBlue63 says:

    I suspect that this is a systems integration issue. It sucks, and something material, that is likely to incur charges and interest, should get its own notice.

    More likely that they are trying to standardize procedures.

  17. jbl-az says:

    It initially occurred to me that perhaps Chase has always had automatic payments at only the minimum payment due level. Some other comment posters have confirmed this; that Chase card holders could choose automatic payments either to be balance-in-full or minimum-payment.

    Given that this is the case, and that WaMu is gone, why is this more than Chase simply trying to integrate the new credit cards into its existing system? It may not be optimal for customers, but since they’re not exactly sneaking the change in, is this such a bad thing?

    (NB I must admit that on the other hand they don’t always integrate everything. Because of the origins of one of my credit cards, that I am paying off a (relatively) low-interest long term balance on, I have noticed occasionally a “bankone” in a URL here or there.)

    • idip says:

      @jbl-az: Just simple ways to account for acquired accounts.

      WaMu’s systems had ways identify if an account had been acquired. They weren’t blatantly obvious, and sometimes you’d have to take a few minutes to find it but once you did it opened up new doors for those customers.

      Plus people would rather get up in arms assuming Chase is doing this to screw people over.

      • Nerys says:

        @idip:

        Sometimes just sometimes they are right. chase DOES do this to screw people over. hence why they STOPPED doing it a few years ago for there own customers.

  18. lalaland13 says:

    What bugs me more than this is that the Web site will be down from March 4 to 8. So if you’re due between those dates (like me) you better schedule it beforehand. Although to be fair, there is notice of this when you log in. Although if you try to log in the day before you’re due and it’s down, you’re SOL.

    • Corydon says:

      @lalaland13: Or you could just pay your credit card bill the old fashioned way. I think I have some paper checks lying around in the bottom of a desk drawer somewhere….

    • idip says:

      @lalaland13: It’s also recommended to pay up to a week before your due date. That’s why when you schedule email alerts they typically come 5-7days in advance.

  19. lalaland13 says:

    And I just saw that e-mail alerts will no longer be available for my account after Feb. 25. Woohoo!

  20. Corydon says:

    This really isn’t a big deal for me. I’m a WaMu cardholder and I’ve always done what a previous Consumerist article suggested: pay my credit card from both of my biweekly paychecks. I do it manually so I can control exactly how much is sent in.

    What really pisses me of is that Chase is taking away what drew me to the WaMu card in the first place, namely the ability to keep an eye on my credit score. They “helpfully” directed me to Chase’s own pay service for that.

  21. outsiderlookingn says:

    With my card going from Wamu to Chase I lose the perks. This is a card that will now get tucked away and get used once a year. I had been using it for almost every transaction because of the PetPerks with PetSmart. They took away the perks and now I don’t even get my credit score free. I thought Wamu sucked, but Chase is worse.

  22. SacraBos says:

    So, after that date, reset the automatic payment amount? I mean, they aren’t permanently requiring automatic minimums are they? This is just an artifact of the changeover, isn’t it?

  23. twritersf says:

    Two words: credit union.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As the OP, my reason for calling this a ‘sneaky little gotcha’ is that most credit card institutions bank on (no pun intended) their customers not bothering to read these letters all the way through. I fully recognize that Consumerist readers are a better breed, and most everyone here wouldn’t be bitten by this change. I can’t imagine any Consumerist readers paying the minimum monthly payment in the first place.

    -Chris

  25. tedyc03 says:

    My solution to a similar situation (when Bank of America did something like this to me) was to instruct my bank to make a regular, specific payment rather than letting BofA do it.

  26. Red_Eye says:

    My wife and I over the years have had credit cards with many companies. Of all the companies we had cars with the most ridiculous draconian ways to screw a customer came from Chase, that’s why we had long ago paid them off unfortunately we got a double whammy when our mortgage and both our credit card accounts wound up in Chase hands this past year. We will modify our debt snowball to pay these cards off first. I recommend everyone else do the same.

  27. bravo369 says:

    I got the same message. If they can charge the max and the minimum then i don’t understand why they can’t keep charging what a person set up.

    Anyway, i logged into my account today and saw this message ” IMPORTANT: Online access will be unavailable from March 4 – 8, so please schedule your online payments in advance.”

    My bill is usually due around the 4-8 of every month so if you are used to logging in the day before to pay then you may be screwed. I always set up payments for my payday but i’m sure others will be hit by this.

  28. James Ihde says:

    I want to say one thing thought to all of those that have posted. My wife has a Providian card (which was bought by WAMU a few years ago). This card is now going to become a Chase card (which we already have a couple of). Knowing Chase’s credit card systems through their online website I know that they only options for automated payments is the entire balance or the minimum payment. I would like it if they would add that feature like other banks do. So, to all those who are saying how sneaky and evil they are being….please check the facts. They put it up front where you could see it and didn’t try to hide it in fine print. This is more of a feature that their payment system doesn’t have compared to wamu’s. As far as the credit card in question goes….that has been paid off for years….so it doesn’t really matter to me what they do with it :)

  29. PillowTalk says:

    You should mention that by opting out, your account is closed. That could make a difference to someone if this is their oldest account. I was going to do the same, but it’s my only card and I’d rather not try to get a new one in this lending climate.

  30. MikeVx says:

    You should never use the website of any company you owe money to to make payments. If they screw up, you are at their mercy, and if they get underhanded and grab extra money intentionally, its a you said/they said case. Once you have made a payment this way, your account is not safe.

    There should be no bank or credit union left on this planet that cannot do electronic payments from the bank/CU web site. If you are masochistic enough to do automatic payments, do it from a system where you have the most control. This has several advantages, one of which is that your bank/CU has records, and if the receiver tries to claim missed payments when it was actually made, they are going up against the financial institution that sent the payment, not against you.

    I have five payment systems available to me across four accounts. The fifth is a legacy Checkfree account. All of my financial institutions offer online payment systems, I never have to deal with the sites of those I am paying.

    This sort of thing only affects you if, to quote yet another internet meme, “You’re doing it wrong.”

  31. Harley RidersTexas says:

    the FEDERAL RATES are DOWN…these banks took BAILOUTS with OUR taxpayer money and we are going to sit back now and let them ram it to us on ridiculous and unlawful APR’s? SOME APR’s are going over 29 PERCENT! We need to contact the United States Attorney general and write to your representatives ASAP!