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Credit Cards Rates, Fees Keep Going Up

Well, you can’t say they didn’t warn us.

The banks threatened to go on a rate-raising, fee-hiking, rule-writing rampage if Congress approved the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility Act of 2009.

Credit Cards Raise Rates, FeesIt did, and the result has been an unending stream of letters from my credit cards making good on that threat.

But I still find it ironic that the most recent arrived the day after the first few provisions of the law intended to protect me from the credit card industry’s worst abuses took effect on Aug. 20.

It was a typically muddled, if not deceptive, letter that indicated it wasn’t through kicking us credit card holders around.

It began innocently enough:

Customer privacy and security have never been more important. We want you to know that we’re doing more to protect your privacy and make your account secure.

Gee, thanks.

But buried in the mumbo jumbo about privacy changes I soon discovered:

Account policies are once again changing.

That’s never good.

Enclosed with the lovey-dovey intro letter about protecting my privacy was a fine-print pamphlet outlining new rates and new rules, all to my detriment.

For example:

  • The Overdraft Advance APR changes to Prime Rate plus 21.99%, and that’s applied to current and future balances. In July, that percentage would be 25.24%.
  • Balance transfers and will carry a fee of 5% of whatever you’re transferring or advancing (up from 3%.)
  • The bank has the right to deny any balance transfers or cash advances even if I have more than enough available credit for the transaction.
  • In fact, the bank is suspending balance transfers unless it expressly allows me to make one.
  • If it chooses to do so, that balance transfer will be treated like a cash advance. It will accruing interest charges immediately and at the higher interest rate imposed on cash advances (as opposed to purchases).
  • And finally, the astronomical default rate will be imposed on my credit card balance if I make a late payment “on other accounts or loans with us or one of our related companies.”

Ok. Enough already. I get it.

You’re a bad ass and the government’s piddling effort to protect me from our abusive relationship has only turned you into a bigger bad ass.

You’re going to impose every draconian fee and rule your army of lawyers can think of before most of the new restrictions take effect in February, and there’s nothing I or any of those pitiful consumer-huggers in Washington can do about it.

Comments (3)
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3 Existing Comments
  1. tom said:
    on September 11th at 07:07 pm

    One other ‘feature’ of credit cards has become the difficulty of getting them to close an account you no longer desire. We’ve been working on this sporadically for two years now and counting. I guess we will eventually see an annual fee and penalties on it, for lack of use, of all things.

  2. Jimbo said:
    on September 25th at 05:26 pm

    I think you’re missing the point. The way you stop the abusive morons is to close the account and stop doing business with them.

  3. REH12 said:
    on March 8th at 12:10 pm

    Jimbo! You said it! Drop them like a hot rock, if the card issuer gets too greedy or out of line. They can’t pay their “gucci gultch” lawyers when the money dries up. Eventually, the “high-steppers” on “mahogany row” at the banks and card companies will figure it out. Their jobs will be gone too. Its easy, dry up their cash anyway you can. dave ramsey has it right, debt is evil. especially credit card debt! conduct yourself accordingly and win!