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
1. CRAZY HIGH-INTEREST RATES
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."
2. CHANGING THE TERMS WITH FINE
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
"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
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.
3. BAIT AND SWITCH
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
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."
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."
4. PENALTIES FOR BEING LATE TO OTHERS
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!
5. DECEPTIVE OFFERS
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
6. CAN'T EVER SPEAK TO A HUMAN
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...
7. BANKRUPTCY LAW HYPOCRISY
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!
8. STOP YOU FROM GETTING A JOB OR
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!
9. FEES, FEES, FEES
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
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,
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
10. CREATE MORE WORK
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
Click here to see the other side of
the story in:
Reasons to Love Your Credit Card Bank