Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Contacting credit card companies

It's no secret that the way to get the interest on a credit card reduced is to ask. The companies won't do it out of their sense of good will or from any sense of right and wrong. Would they be in the business of charging over 30% per year if they were?

So I finally got up the stuff to start making calls.

First I called the Bank of America. This card, incidentally, started out as a Wachovia card and had excellent interest rates. Then it was sold to another bank, and then to Bank of America. Now the interest is somewhere around 27%. My payments are always on time and always more than the minimum.  I did nothing to "deserve" this ridiculous interest rate.

I tried one customer service line and got voice mail options that did not include any for changing interest rate and did not include ever speaking to a real person. I tried several of the options and just went endlessly into voice mail options, none useful for my purposes. So I hung up. I found another number for them and called that. Got exactly the same thing. So I went online and sent them a message through their message form. The information on the website said they would respond within 12 hours. That was two days ago. And of course I have gotten no response. So I am nowhere with that card, yet.

Then I called citiCards. I spoke to a real person. He talked fast and with an accent I did not recognize (not Indian). He reduced my rate by ten percent, from 23.74 to 13.74%. That's a victory. At the same time I somehow signed up for credit protection that I do not want. I can't cancel it until I actually see it on a bill, and you can be sure I will cancel it then. I wish that I had a tape of that phone call because I had so much trouble understanding what was happening that I kept asking him to repeat and repeat. Ultimately I couldn't take it any more so I did not try to cancel that credit protection thing on the phone. A victory, nonetheless. A reduced rate.

I called Chase. I have two cards, one personal, one business, with Chase - both Amazon cards. For some reason I have not been getting my business statements and I had charged something a while back on it and thought that I had paid it off. Just a few days ago I learned, from a phone call, that in fact I still owed something and that it had not been paid in over 90 days. Well, that sucks. I made a payment then but of course that 90 days is bad. I also made one late payment on the personal card, a few days late, this month. My head was just not on straight and I got it done late. Because of the 90 day thing I understood that the interest rate on that card could not be reduced. But I was really irritated to learn that the personal one could not be changed either because of one payment a few days late. After years of paying on time and more than the minimum. The guy said I could try again in a couple of months. I said "sure" in a sarcastic tone and hung up. So no victory there.

I will call about my paypal card today. I forget what bank has it now - like the others, it has changed several times. I have a couple of cards that I have not used at all - Ikea and Dillards - and maybe I can get those rates reduced, but I suspect not. They probably like to see some activity first.

So far, then, one for three. I have an idea about Bank of America. These systems all seem to work the same, and most of them say you can talk to a real person by pressing zero. Even though the BofA operator does not say this I suspect it's true. So I am going to try that.

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