bank rates

Help! We’re In A Dysfunctional Relationship With Our Credit Cards

We may need Dr. Phil to sort this out.

The banks where we’ve been loyal, dependable customers treat us badly — cutting credit limits, raising fees and patronizing us with second-rate deals.

Yet banks we’ve shunned for years refuse to take “no” for an answer. They won’t stop filling the Bankaholic mailbox Bankaholic Mailboxwith offers that promise a more fulfilling and rewarding financial marriage.

Here’s what we’ve pulled out the past couple of weeks.

A stark, black-and-white, three-page letter from Bank of America says it’s raising the transaction fee for cash advances and balance transfers on our card from 3% to 4%. It’s also expanding its 3% fee on foreign transactions to include purchases made in dollars, not just foreign currencies.

Our Citigroup card is still soliciting balance transfers. But the deal — 2.99% APR until Oct. 1 and a 3% transfer balance fee — is not that great. What happened to no interest for a full year?

See why we’re not feeling the love here?

But JPMorgan Chase is practically begging us to sign-up for its “Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Signature Visa” card. By using the card just once, and transferring a balance from another card, we can get 16 bonus credits — or enough for a free roundtrip ticket.

A mailing from Capital One will give us 30,000 bonus miles, which is also enough for a round-trip ticket to most places in the United States, if we’ll just put its “No Hassle Miles Ultra MasterCard Professional’ credit card in our wallet.

Which is the best deal?

The fine print leaves little doubt.

The No Hassle Miles card offers a 0% interest rate through February and an adjustable rate of 9.99% (prime plus 6.74%) after that. There is no cash advance fee, transfer fee, late payment fee or over-the-credit-limit fee.

We can’t find any mention of interest rates or what Chase charges for any of those fees in its letter.

Chase touts its card for charging “a lower annual fee than many other airline cards.” The fine print says it’s $59 a year unless Chase decides you don’t qualify for a high-end Signature Visa card and bumps you down to a Classic Visa. In that case the annual fee is $39.

Capital One charges no annual fee.

We’re left with the impression that the Chase Southwest Airlines Rewards Card would be expensive and full of surprises — all of them bad.

Capital One reinforces our opinion that its “No Hassle Miles” cards offer the best deals around.

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Comments (7)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)
7 Existing Comments
  1. Kel said:
    on May 13th at 01:57 pm

    Hi John Wu,

    I have a very bad experience with one of those high interest rewarding banks. Where can I make my complaints and make that bank pay me back what it owes me?

  2. Chico said:
    on May 13th at 08:54 pm

    I’m unable to find the Capital One offer that includes an instant 30,000 miles with the “No Hassle Miles Ultra MasterCard Professional” credit card. Can you please provide a link? Thank you.

  3. getrdone said:
    on May 14th at 10:15 am

    Go Here:

  4. Kelly said:
    on May 14th at 10:50 am

    Getdone, thanks a lot.

  5. Rayle Shonie said:
    on May 14th at 12:51 pm

    The Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards credit card is a great offer. Besides attractive rates and no fees, the rewards program is flexible. For travel, there are no blackout dates and no seat restrictions – unlike with some of the competing rewards progams.

  6. RateRunner said:
    on May 14th at 10:43 pm

    Chico: Capital One’s offer for 30,000 bonus miles was made through the mail. We don’t see a similar deal on its Web site.

  7. Kate Winslow said:
    on June 10th at 11:44 am

    BEWARE of CAPITOL ONE! I received the offer in the mail for the 30,000 Bonus points and I thought it was great so I called up and applied and was approved. Once I received my credit card, there was no mention on the Bonus Miles so I called up and after going through the painful call tree and having to call back on a different Customer Service number, I was told that I only received 10,000 points with my first purchase the the remaining 20,000 would be received in split portions on my first and second anniversary date of getting their card. I pointed out to the Customer Service rep that those details were not mentioned in the letter or on the phone when I applied but she insisted that those were the terms. I think this is deceitful so please BEWARE of Capitol One. I should have known better….I cancelled a credit card with them back in 2008 because their customer service and business practices were so bad. Why, or why did I think anything had changed?????