The Credit Card Bill Of Rights Act, which was introduced on Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives, would limit interest rate hikes and late fee penalties that credit card companies use to unfairly squeeze profits from customers.
Consumers are not being as big sluts with their credit cards as they slowly discover that they have no money. [WSJ]
BusinessWeek has just published an article about Bank of America’s recent surprise mailings in January to some of its customers, announcing “that it would more than double their rates to as high as 28%, without giving an explanation for the increase.” These customers have good credit scores and hadn’t made any late payments, and those who called Bank of America to ask why this was happening weren’t given clear reasons. Industry experts say Bank of America has reached a “new level” of “lack of transparency in raising rates,” beyond anything Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase currently practice, because BoA is apparently using some undisclosed internal metric to determine who gets the rate hike.
“We live in a small town, and everybody looks at your clothes and what you drive and where you have your hair done,” said Ms. Gamble, who earns about $2,600 a month as a grievance counselor at a local prison.
800-889-9939 is the number for Capitol One’s U.S.-based Senior Customer Service reps. They take escalated calls for credit limit increases, fee waivers, account term changes, or interest rate decreases.
The notoriously easy to hack NYC taxi credit card machines are now slightly more secure. [Gothamist]
When Capital One “closes” your credit card account, they’ll continue to allow automatic withdrawals even though the account is closed. But they won’t send you a statement—you know, because it’s closed!—so that you’ll end up with late fees. Quenten experienced this first hand when he closed his account recently, and now Capital One has sent his account to collections over a $38.00 late fee for two 38-cent charges that he never knew about.
Rising defaults and people behind on their payments have credit card companies retreating from the marketing and lending orgy of the past few years. Here’s what the different banks are doing to shore up their positions:
Egg, a Citibank-owned online bank in the UK, announced this past weekend that it’s canceling the accounts of 161,000 of its customers after “conducting a one-off, extensive risk review.”
We know that technically it’s a great thing that you have multiple options to pay for your food at Burger King, but this is just a little too sign-of-the-times, and it makes us sad. Somewhere out there is a guy who’s still paying off the Whopper he ate in June.
Dawn writes to tell us that she and her husband both received the $100 iPhone credits last fall, but when she tried to use them on December 4th she discovered one of the credits had a zero balance. An Apple CSR told her to go ahead and make her purchase without it, and the $100 would be credited immediately to her Visa. Unfortunately, she took his advice.
There’s all sorts of advice online about how to disable RFID chips and tags, and now that they’re starting to show up uninvited on credit cards, you might be tempted to try some of those tactics. But as a reader found out, many credit card issuers will simply swap out your newfangled RFID-enabled card for a traditional one if you just ask.
Matt writes in with a tip if you’re unlucky enough to have a Best Buy credit card and plan on using it any time soon: check whether the brick and mortar store near you has any special promotions running first. If so, buy the item from their store instead of online or you’ll be bound by Best Buy’s 90 days same-as-cash terms regardless of whether or not the store is offering a better deal.
My girlfriend and I had a layover at JFK last week. While I was waiting for her in the bathroom I started reading a poster that seemed to be prompting me to get a JetBlue American Express card.
Citibank and Bank of America both offer special credit card programs based on health and medical expenses. If you’re disciplined about not carrying revolving debt, and you have recurring medical expenses, they can help reduce your total cost over a year. Bank of America’s cards are point-based programs—if you’ve got Aetna insurance, you can accumulate points that you can turn into “cash direct deposits to a health savings account, or other standard rewards.” Caremark members can redeem points for awards only, although BoA’s standard awards catalogue “includes health and wellness products like fitness equipment and blood pressure monitors.”
I keep reading and it says that I can “reject this amendment” by doing so in writing by 2/29/2008.
Keeping a second credit card won’t lead to financial ruin, and may prove useful in several situations. Bankrate offers six reasons to stash away a spare card.
On Tuesday we speculated that the surge in credit card fraud and forcible card reissues our readers have been reporting to us were the result of a recently discovered breach at a “major retailer,” and now GE Money Bank reported that the data of over 650,000 customers of JC Penney and hundreds of other retail stores is missing. Are these two events related? The official line is no. GE Money Bank says the data, which was stored on magnetic tapes, “was created in such a manner to make unauthorized access extremely unlikely and difficult, even for experts with specialized knowledge and technology.” But guess what?