Cardmember since 1993 – actually earlier than that but my original card was a Chase card that got sucked into Citi. I’m employed, have a good credit and payment history, generallly carry a balance and use the card for larger purchases. I’ve not missed payments or even come close to exceeding my limit – pretty much a textbook consumer credit customer. Last year my interest on the card was 9.99%. In October that “special rate” went to 15.99% (no negative trigger on my part at all – and remember, I’ve had the card for SIXTEEN years). Today I get a letter stating that, starting on November 30th (yup, less than 2 weeks away), my new improved rate will be 19.99%. Again, no negative trigger on my part, just “current economic conditions” – those being that the legislation to stop EXACTLY this type of action goes into effect in February. It’s an end run by a company that, had they been allowed to fail after engaging in bad business practices would not still be engaging in bad business practices – a company that engaged in GOOD practices would have filled that slot.
So, what’s my choice according to the moneylenders at the temple? Accept a DOUBLING of my interest rate on my existing balance to keep my card or take my lower (but newly higher) rate of 15.99% and have the card closed on me, damaging my FICO. Or, I can go tomorrow, get a nice card with a transfer option, keep my Citi account, charge that $15.99 monthly gaming charge to it and keep a balance of around $5.00 so the card stays active and used and consumes Citi resources. I’ll have to figure out exactly what the numbers need to be to keep the vampires at bay with respect to transaction fees, inactivity adjustments and all the other screw the consumer terms Citi so loves.
This isn’t choosing to do business with one company or another – this is a company that TOOK TAXPAYER MONEY making an end run around a law and doing it in a manner that negatively (in terms of the FICO credit score hit of a closed account) affects consumers who have done NOTHING negative to trigger a punitive response.
Pathetic. Oh and I’m not one of those folks who will tell you they were perfect for 13 years either – but I was close. I paid online last Thanksgiving and wound up being late by 4 hours because Citi changed my payment due date without warning; a previous shady practice. That’s when they lowered me the 9.99% rate after they apologized and dropped all fees – apparently, however, a year of timely payments earns a higher rate…