Thursday, March 13, 2008

Credit Card Rate Hikes

I got this from Consumer Reports (emphasis mine):

Dear (me),

Bank of America recently announced interest rate increases, even for responsible card customers—some people reported new rates as high as 28%! And the bank didn't make it easy to object.

To decline the rate hike, the bank required card holders to write a letter agreeing to stop using the card and pay off the existing balance at the old rate, according to news reports. They couldn't telephone, nor did Bank of America provide a form or a return envelope to help meet the short deadline. If the company didn't get a quick response, rates would automatically rise.

Bank of America is not the only bank to hit card holders with high rates and fees. Banks get to raise your interest rates, as well as the fees they charge for most services, because fine print clauses in your credit card contracts allow it. They don't even have to tell you why they did it.

Tell Congress to protect card holders from unfair rate hikes, exorbitant penalty fees and other fine print "gotchas."

As the economy softens, some Wall Street analysts believe that big banks want to make up their investment losses by raising rates to good credit card customers.

A bill proposed in Congress would help rein in that practice and limit other "gotchas." The bill would protect cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases; hidden interest charges, due date traps and more.

This bill is long past due! Tell your lawmakers that you support the Cardholders' Bill of Rights.

And please, take one more moment to forward this message to people you know who use credit cards so they can join you in action for reform, too!

Sincerely,

Jim Guest
President
Consumers Union of the U.S.
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703-1057

Jim speaks the truth. I've had my share of credit card woes. On more than one occasion I've noticed a little slip of paper in with my credit card statement telling me of an interest rate hike. I have to wonder how many I didn't know.

Make a point of looking through all the little crap your credit card company sends with your bill. It might save you some money.

This is definitely worth your time.

3 comments:

Jayf said...

Sincerely,

Jim Guest
President
Consumers Union of the U.S.

Jim speaks the truth.

>>>That's a welcome change from when he worked for the Bradys.

Rustmeister said...

Really? Didn't know that.

JayF said...

James A. Guest
Over the last 20 years, he has headed several public policy and advocacy groups including Handgun Control Inc. and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, as well as Planned Parenthood of Maryland.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/aboutus/slt/jamesaguest/

(He lied as much as thay all do at HC, but I have not seen it creep into anything at CU or Consumer Reports.)