Adam tried to buy some games at GameStop by using his credit card, but balked when the clerk demanded he show his ID. He alerted the higher-ups that the denial was a violation of the MasterCard merchant agreement, but the complaint fell on deaf ears. He writes:
If you want to spread some fiscally sound good cheer this year, consider asking your friends, relatives, and coworkers not to give gift cards backed by the major credit card companies. Why am I making such a sour suggestion? Because a new study from two consumer advocacy groups indicates that most of the population still doesn’t recognize what a money trap those little plastic cards can be.
Without warning, Citi decided to close a swath of gas-station co-branded Mastercard accounts nationwide. The trouble seems to have started October 15. Quan was one of the affected customers and the credit card company was pretty disingenuous about it when called.
Dan wrote in to let us know his $8,800 GEICO Mastercard now has a $500 line of credit. “It’s not you, it’s us,” is basically what GEICO told him in their letter on March 12th. They also say they’re doing this to every one of their Mastercard holders. Dan notes, “Interestingly enough, this new limit is less than the 6 month rate GEICO was charging me for my two cars, meaning that I couldn’t even use their preferred card to pay their premiums.” You can read their letter below.
Don’t be too surprised if you get a letter from your bank or credit union in the next few weeks telling you it’s replacing your credit card. If your data was among the latest set compromised, Visa and Mastercard are already alerting financial institutions so they can cancel the account number.
We’ve seen food items, airline mile programs, and credit card limits all shrink as the economy worsens. Now it’s time for other rewards programs to become just a little less rewarding—and somewhat sneakily, too, in these two stories recently sent in by readers.
USAToday says that panic by the credit card industry is squeezing customers who ordinarily would be able to pay their bills — pushing them toward financial ruin and foreclosure.
Once upon a time, Peter Finch won an Oscar for telling us to go to our window, open it, and yell, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!” Now thousands and thousands of consumers are doing just that, but instead of yelling out their windows, they’re yelling at the Federal Reserve in the form of a record breaking number of public comments about some proposed credit card reforms. Not as sexy as yelling like a madman, but far, far more effective.
One of the tricks that seasoned travelers know is to always deny the insurance when renting a car. Why? Because the credit card that they are using already comes with insurance that they are familiar with, and because you are required to deny coverage from the rental car company in order to take advantage of your credit card’s insurance. But how do you pick a credit card that has good rental insurance?
More On Minimum Purchases, Surcharges, And Other Credit Card Merchant Agreement Violations, From The Companies Themselves
We’ve posted a lot of stories of businesses requiring customers who pay with a credit card to make minimum purchases, or pay a surcharge, or show ID. And as we’ve repeatedly said, the businesses’ merchant agreements with the credit card companies forbids these practices. A reader wrote in to argue that this might not be true, as many businesses contract with third-party credit card processors, and are not bound by the merchant agreement. So we did some investigating.
Are you smarter than a credit card company? They’ve got billions riding on their belief that you’re not. Check out these 10 methods, via the Americans for Fairness in Lending, credit card companies use to make extra money off you that you may not even be aware of, knowledge that could save you hundreds in extra fees.
You might think that everyone knows that you have to sign your credit card in order for it to be valid — after all — there’s a panel on the back that says “Not Valid Unless Signed,” but you’d be shocked at the number of angry emails we get from people who have tried to use an unsigned credit card with “SEE ID” or “CHECK ID” written on it and were turned away when they refused to sign their card.
Reader Brandon sent us this picture of a McDonald’s violating its merchant agreement by charging a fee for using a credit or debit card. The text reads, “FEE ASSOCIATED WITH CREDIT/DEBIT CARD OF 25¢ WILL BE APPLIED TO CARD TOTAL.”
A MasterCard spokesperson has confirmed, just like we’ve been telling you all along, that a store cannot refuse to sell you something solely because you refuse to provide additional identification along with your MasterCard. The only time it’s ok is if it’s required for shipping, or when you’re at a gas pump or making orders via internet, phone, or mail, in which case they can use the MasterCard Address Verification System (AVS). But if you’re in a store, right in front of them, in the flesh, it violates their MasterCard merchant agreement. Consumers experiencing this can fill out a Merchant Violation form found in the FAQ/Contact US part of Mastercard.com. Full statement, inside…
A few weeks ago, Zach emailed us to say that his Rewards Zone Mastercard hasn’t worked properly in the five months he’s had it, and no one at Best Buy had been able to help. We pointed him to our Guide To Fighting Back, and he responded tonight with an update.
I went to IHOP(INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES) on March 30th with my wife to eat. After our meal I went to the counter to pay and presented my Visa as payment. I was asked for photo ID, and kindly declined. I was then told that they were not going to be able to accept my card without photo ID.
Recently, my husband and I got two new Chase credit cards in the mail. I didn’t look closely, assuming that this was a new card for our never-used Chase Mastercard account. This account has been around for seven years, but we prefer another card with a rewards system; the Mastercard account is open only to benefit our credit rating. Therefore, no urgency in activating it — I dropped it in the bill pile to deal with later.