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Tuesday, May 21, 2024   

10 Reasons to Hate Your Credit Card Bank
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

Buying a house forces you into debt, going to college forces you into debt, buying a car forces you into debt, if you don't have a credit card then you don't exist because you don't have a credit history. We just can't win.

And when you finally get some debt, the credit card banks are right there to take advantage of us! I've had enough! I'm sure you have too, so please tell me your story in the survey.

Believe it or not my friend recently received a credit card offer through the mail with a starting interest rate of 35%. I can do better with almost any loan shark! Oh yeah, that bank IS a loan shark--depending on your definition of "is."

Ever notice that the bank's letters that encourage you to use your credit are in BIG BOLD letters. You know, the letters that say, "go on vacation," "write yourself a check," "buy a new wardrobe," but the letters that try to get you to give up your rights are in microscopic small type?

What are they hiding?

They're raising their late fees, getting you give up your right to bring them to court, jacking-up your interest rates, and much more!

The worst part is that these "amendments" are "negative response." That means that if you don't tell them that you don't want the terms, then you're agreeing with whatever they sent you.

It's like those music clubs. You know the ones. You pay 1 cent to join and get 12 CD's. The only catch is that if you don't tell them not to send the monthly selection they send it automatically and bill you! It's like making a deal with the devil!

I'd love to do business like that! I'll just ship you a television, and if you don't return it I can charge you! Real easy to get the sale isn't it?

I guess if you happened to die while the letter is in the mail then it's a guarantee you'll agree since there's no way to respond. If the banks had it their way they'd probably try to bill you in the afterlife.

You know those pre-approved credit offers you receive in the mail nearly everyday? Well, they're really not "pre-approved." Check the fine print. They always have some words that allow them to weasel out of giving you the card that you think you're applying for.

The offer may say, "0% for six months, then 9.9% fixed, with no annual fee, and $5,000 credit limit." Then you get the card and it's "6.9% for 3 months, 29.99% variable, $50 annual fee and $400 credit limit."

What happened?

Re-read the fine print in the original offer and you'll find the tricky legalese that says something like, "Ha, ha bet you can't read letters this small! We don't have to approve the pre-approved offer and can therefore send you any card we wish."

You'll love this one! Many credit card banks have changed their policies so they can raise your rates, no surprise, but check this out. Some will raise your rate to 23% if you're late paying your electric bill. That's right! They check your credit file and if you are late paying any other bills, not just theirs, they slam you even more!

Even when you read all the fine print they can STILL do whatever they want. They'll send you credit offers and say, "you can use all your available credit" and when you do they'll charge you a penalty fee! Then when you call to complain they'll tell you that you're an idiot that doesn't have any common sense. See my article Chase Bank Tries to Pull a Fast One

Just try calling them to check on your account. It's takes forever to speak to a human! They always want you to key in all the account information, all the numbers, then when you finally talk to their drones they ask you for all that information again! Why the hell did I enter it in the first place!

I can get around this by hitting "0" then the "#" keys. I get a reply, "We cannot recognize your account number so please be tortured again by reentering it now." I keep hitting the "0" and "#" keys until the recording gives up and says, "Please hold while we transfer you to one of our new hires who probably cannot help you anyway."

Hmm, It's almost like they don't want you to talk to anyone...

Here's another good one. The banks have lobbied Washington to change bankruptcy laws to make it more difficult to dissolve debts in bankruptcy. They want the consumer to be more responsible for repaying their debt!

Let's see. Who gave the consumer making $10,000 per year a $50,000 credit line? Who sent that consumer letters saying, "go on vacation, give a check as a present this season, buy a new wardrobe."

Give me a break. These banks want to have it both ways. It's just as much they're responsibility for making us able to get into debt.

Do you think they'd be in favor of a 3-day waiting period to give credit cards? How about the government has to call the consumer to verify that they can really afford to use the credit line? Think the banks would like that!

If you have a problem with your credit card bank they're going to report this in your credit history. Everyone looks at your credit history. Landlords review it to see if you will be a good tenant, insurance companies look at that report, and employers also review your credit history.

What happens when the creditors make a mistake? A mistake that makes you look terrible to potential employers and landlords? Oops, not their problem. It's your responsibility to find and correct their error.

I bet many people have been turned down for jobs and are paying more for their insurance because of a mistake in their credit report that a bank made years before!

Late fees, overlimit fees, annual fees, bla, bla, bla. And they're going UP! It's like being robbed at gunpoint in an alleyway by a guy in an Armani suit!

Come on, give me a break! Does it really cost the bank $35 if you're late by one day with your payment? I doubt it.

Actually, you may not have been late at all. The bank may have just credited your account late and charged you anyway. see the article, One Day Late--Yeah Right! to read more about this.

Banks make 47% of their revenue from fees! Don't ever let a fee go. Call the bank and make them waive that fee, and if they don't, PUNISH them by doing business with another institution.

I remember as a kid when my parents brought in the mail. I used to ask, "Is there anything for me?" What's was their response, "No, only bills."

Freakin' bills! That's all that's in the freakin' mail. And you have to read the details or they'll freakin' get you!

The only way to fight back is to use one bank against the other. They need our business so we need to reward the banks that are good to us and punish the ones that take advantage of us.

Banks are a business like any other. They're job is to service you and I. If we don't like they way they treat us then it's time to do business with another bank! Don't ever be "brand loyal" unless that bank has been "customer loyal." Meaning that they've always given you their best rates and service!

Click here to see the other side of the story in:
 10 Reasons to Love Your Credit Card Bank



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