Monday, April 6, 2009

Bank of America Raises Rate On Card After Balance Payoff -- Coincidence? Yes


Melissa Burden writes a blog called "Money Matters" for the Flint Journal. Last week she paid off her Bank of America credit-card balance. Today she says that her card's interest rate is being hiked. She writes: "I wonder if they send the notices after a big payoff or if this was a scheduled change and I just beat the credit card company by a hair?" Melissa, here's your answer: it was just pure coincidence. Bank of America sent a large batch of interest-rate hike letters to customers around the country last week. You're one of them.

Several of my readers received these letters as well. Bank of America is blaming the interest-rate increase on "economic conditions." I'm surprised it took Bank of America as long as it did to implement a wide-spread hike. Many of its competitors have already trotted out this excuse and raised rates accordingly. (See Citibank, Capital One, American Express, etc.)

Bank of America's opt-out process, though, is friendlier than most. Here's why: if a customer opts out, the account is not closed. Instead, the account remains open as long as the card isn't used. So, if you have a large balance on the card, you can preserve your low interest rate by opting out and not using the card. After you've paid the card's balance off, though, you can use the card again. Once you use the card, the interest-rate hike takes effect. Thereafter, if the hike is substantial enough, you'll be dissuaded from carrying a balance on that card in the future.

In addition to the friendlier opt-out procedure, Bank of America is also converting fixed-rate cards into variable-rate cards. Instead of having a nice 5.9% fixed rate, which is great for the customer, Bank of America is hiking the rate and turning it into a variable-rate product. Again, Bank of America is late to the party on this one as well. Many of its competitors have already made this move.

The move to variable rates is not surprising, either. Interest rates are at rock-bottom levels. However, when the economy recovers, interest rates will start moving up in the United States. When that happens, the variable rate on your card will go along for the ride. You can see why it makes sense for the card issuers to convert all of these fixed-rate cards.

So, Melissa, there you have it. You and millions of others received the same letter last week. It was just a coincidence that you happened to pay off your balance right before the letter hit your mailbox (see Melissa's story here).

For those carrying a balance, here's how I'd handle the situation: I'd opt out (I believe that most people have until May 1, 2009, to do this). I'd then pay off the balance (be sure you do not use the card while you're paying it off). After you've paid off the balance, you can use the card again but at the new -- and higher -- interest rate. Pay in full from then on.

Related Articles:

•Read More Bank of America Stories Here

81 comments:

  1. I paid off a balance on a card from a differnet bank....and two weeks later they raised the interest rate and lowered the limit....I saw they pulled a credit report and called them.

    I was told they "had changed the requirements for the card levels and AFTER they pulled my credit they decided to change the card type."

    I have perfect credit and ZERO balances on cards.....

    This is going to be the norm soon.

    +Pay off a card and they pull your credit.

    +Call about the account and they review it.

    +COMPLAIN about the account and they review it.

    + Use the card for a cash advance and they review it.

    ALL of the above have happened to my wife and I in the last 6 months.

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  2. In this particular case, Bank of America had already sent the letter. Melissa paid the balance as Bank of America was dropping the letter in the mail.

    I don't think it matters if customers pay off balances or not. That's not always going to be the trigger. Instead, card issuers are raising rates as a matter of course. The only question is whether you happen to have a balance or not when it happens.

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  3. I saw this comming a mile away...

    Right after the recent rate hike debacacle from citibank, I called BOA and canceled my card right on the spot. Same day I received notice from Citibank.

    I know you are not supposed to cancel a card for FICO reasons, but I figure none of these big banks REALLY want my business (made every payment on time in the past, currently pay in full every month) so I'll get new cards from a local bank at the same credit limit and be ok. Yes I will take a hit, but better than getting screwed by goliath national bank(s).

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  4. While it's always great fun to refer to BofA as a collection of vampires who rape babies and club seals, I guess I have to give credit where credit is due: This really is a kinder, gentler method of changing credit-card terms. It may well be that this is so unexpected that it just confuses people.

    I wonder if they've shortened or lengthened the fuse by which they'll close your account for nonuse.

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  5. Spooky, this is one of the more consumer-friendly hikes I've seen. The opt-out procedure is nice. It allows customers to pay off the balance at the lower rate. Then, when the customer wants to use the card again, he or she can make a purchase, which will then trigger the rate hike.

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  6. " This really is a kinder, gentler method of changing credit-card terms. " ???

    I think it's more like CC are used to obscene profits and now that they have to face reality like everyone else: there is risk involved in the credit business.

    There is nothing "kind or gentle" about the CC business. Bailout funds should have been offered at 28% interest......

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  7. OK. I got a chuckle out of the "Bailout funds should have been offered at 28% interest" line.

    Parkaboy, thanks for the morning laugh. And thanks for commenting.

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  8. It's also complient with the 2010 credit card regulations, before they are even in effect.

    Amazing!

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  9. And on a relative basis, this is a "kinder, gentler" rate hike. There are much worse out there.

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  10. I guess not everybody received the memo about low rate no fee credit cards. Saturday's mail had a pre-approved offer from Capital One for a 0% BT until July 2010 with no transfer fee.

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  11. FLT, that's a great offer. Rare these days.

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  12. I need to learn to read. This blog post is about fixed vs. variable rates and has nothing to do with low rate BT's.

    FWIW, after July 2010 the rate is 14.99% variable.

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  13. Decided WTH, I haven't applied for a credit card since last summer, so I went online and filled out their application.

    Declined!

    That's it, I'm burrowing my head into the sand and I'm not applying for anything else this year.

    What I really don't understand is how my FICO was good enough a couple of weeks ago to send me an offer, but now it's no longer good enough. Of course, nothing has changed.

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  14. What changed? You're a bit older now. Declined!

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  15. Dumb, dumb, dumb. My FICO did take a tiny hit, I mistimed things and my Citibank card had an $11 balance last week. It was a pay-in-full-before-the-statement-cuts card.

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  16. So there you have it. That $11 balance made all the difference in the world, FLT. You're more risky now. Haha.

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  17. Yes, B of A increased my rate from a fixed 7.90 to 13.65 variable APR on one of my 3 personal cards, my AXP/BoA. Nothing so far on my other two personals, and nothing so far on my Business accounts.

    -Don from SW OH

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  18. Thanks, Don. And remember, folks, don't hesitate to tip me off to rate hikes and other things like this in the future. My emailbox is always available. plastic101@gmail.com.

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  19. Once again, thanks for the heads up, CM. I've been congratulating myself because my husband and I just received our new BA cards in the mail last week; the expiration date is 05/12. Then I noticed when BA's statement posted yesterday that our interest rate had dropped from 13.74% to 12.99%. So when I read this posting, I checked the mail we'd received last week, in case I'd missed BA's increase/opt-out. Then I rushed down to the mailbox; no letter from BA today. So far so good, but I will be watching the mail closely. And if I receive BA's very generous opt-out, I'll take it. But I really, really hope they skip us.

    b_in_sc

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  20. BSC, I hope they skip you, too. And no problem on the heads up. My readers tipped me off to it this weekend. Gotta love my readers!

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  21. FLT, it's good to remember that BoA and other large credit card issuers do not use FICO (not even the FICO Bankcard industry option score) when making decisions. They have their own, in-house developed product-specific credit scores. Your FICO could have remained the same and the BoA's score could have dropped, due to some factor not even used in the FICO score.

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  22. Peter, I don't think I knew that about BOA's internal scoring system. If I did, I forgot. Thanks for the heads up.

    For the record, I think FLT got denied for the Capital One card (with the BT offer).

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  23. This is odd, so are they going to keep the accounts open?

    I wouldn't describe this as "friendly", its just getting people that opt-out to either accidentally opt back in or tempt them to do so with the available credit.

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  24. They'll leave the account open. Think of the account as suspended. If you use the card, you accept the new rate.

    I say it's more friendly, on a relative basis, because if you stop using it -- and pay off the balance -- your card can be used in the future. Most card issuers don't do it that way. Normally the account is closed, ultimately, if you opt out.

    The customer in the Bank of America situation needs to be sure that the card is not used while there is a balance on the card.

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  25. butterflywings from creditboardsApril 6, 2009 at 9:11:00 PM EDT

    Creditmatters,

    We were ratejacked too the same way just today. 5% rate to 22.9% for no reason relating to his credit report and score which are excellent. My question is this: We have til May 1st to make a decision to opt out and we are going to opt out, but if we chose to use the card at all prior to opting out, say this week, would the charge be included in the opt out balance since the deadline isn't for another 3 weeks to even decide? We just got the letter today via standard mail so they would have no idea the exact day we got the letter. We don't want to run the card up or anything. DH has a mid 700 score on all 3 and his utilization is at 5% but we had planned to use the card this week on a purchase and want to still do that if possible.

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  26. Butterflywings, any charges that are made -- and post -- prior to May 1 will be included in your lower-interest-rate purchases. Be sure to not buy anything during the few days prior to May 1. You wouldn't want those purchases to post on May 2, which would trigger the rate hike.

    You would be fine if you made purchases this week.

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  27. chase bank of america ..all of em are crooks they scew up we pay ... il send a bill to us gov.. for the hike percentage..nice little letter to get after 7 years and a 790 credit score .. chop chop payed off and pissed off..

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  28. "I say it's more friendly, on a relative basis, because if you stop using it -- and pay off the balance -- your card can be used in the future."

    I don't think this is a big deal, but if they keep the account open along with the credit limit then it won't damage your FICO score by opting out where as the other opt-outs will likely hurt your score if you have a balance.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do with mine, I figured they were going to close the account if I opted-out.

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  29. Creditmatters,

    If I may ask one more question, where are these assurances coming from that BOA, once the consumer opts out, won't either do a major CLD, or up and close the account say a few months from now, in reaction to the opt out?

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  30. Butterfly, there are no assurances of anything -- especially in the banking biz.

    If you don't opt out, you're going to have a higher rate applied to balances. If you do opt out, you'll preserve your lower rate. You just have to figure out what is more important to you.

    But there are no assurances that BOA will leave your account alone in the future.

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  31. Received same letter (boosting from 7.9 to 13.65). I called the automated line and opted out. It was surprisingly easy (now let's hope they don't screw it up). Called customer service to ensure my really low APR balance transfer amount was locked in too and was assured it was. Just a theory, but maybe by shaking the rolls and finding out who "opts out" helps BoA realize who their savvy customers are (the one's who'll read the fine print, lock in good rates when it makes sense and generally take this stuff seriously). By not terminating the card BoA can spend some time cleaning up after the more iffy customers and then swoop back in and attempt to coddle the good customers. For now, they've managed not to piss me off by forcing me to scramble to get my balance to another card. I'm with Spooky, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt (but may still wear the garlic rope around my neck and hold up a mirror to every interaction). --Carly

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  32. Like millions of other Bank of America cardholders recently, I received a notice of changes to my credit card terms. The changes are extreme. My interest rating is doubling from 4.9% to 9.9%. My credit score is excellent and I have a perfect five-year history since opening this account. There is no reason for my rate to increase.

    I am writing to complain about this unpopular and baseless decision by Bank of America. I was not able to remedy the problem by speaking with customer service representatives.

    Not only will this decision impact my choices around borrowing in this time of global economic emergency. It will also inform my view of Bank of America for years, including whom I choose to refinance my mortgage and service my other bank accounts.

    I urge the leadership of Bank of America and those involved in policy making to consider the full impact of this decision on consumers like myself, the reputation of the bank and the economy in general.

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  33. They did the same thing to me. after I pay off my balance they sent me a later stating the interest rate increase. I called them and cancel my credit card I still have my debit card but not with bofa.

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  34. Just because they hike the rate doesn't mean they won't lower it if you ask, particularly on a zero balance. Never hurts to ask.

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  35. True enough, Grant. Just be careful. Bank of America has been dropping the hammer on customers lately. These customers are calling in and getting what they did not bargain for. See Liz Weston's blog here: http://asklizweston.com/?p=688

    Look at the two stories she cites in her blog entry.

    Just be careful out there, folks.

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  36. If you opt out, what are the terms they are offering to pay off the balance?

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  37. If you opt out, you'll be able to pay down the debt at your current rate.

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  38. But if you are paying it off, over what term, as in months, years, etc.

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  39. Sorry, Anon. It looks as though the debt can be paid off over time. As far as I can tell, there is no time frame. My guess -- and it's just that -- is that if someone doesn't pay it off is a reasonable time frame (whatever that is), the account would eventually get closed.

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  40. Slightly off topic, but I had mentioned before that I had opted out of the citi rate hike in a fit of anger back in December. Paid the card in full, and haven't charged a thing since. Marcus suggested that I check with customer services about opting back in. Well, I didn't want to wait on hold forever so I sent an email three weeks ago -- for two weeks it appeared unread -- and now for another week it is read with no response. So did they wash their hands of me, or is this going through a chain of supervisors....I guess there is no way to know unless I deal with a living person on the phone. Just the heads up though --- when asked is there any way to opt back in over email -- no response from citi.

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  41. Anon, definitely call those folks. Who knows what happened with the email.

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  42. I've been at a fixed, single digit rate for 8 years, never late, and never carried a balance. Oh well, guess I'll be taking this card out of my wallet for a while.

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  43. Brian, did you get the letter? If not, there's no guarantee that you will. In fact, of the people I have spoke with, all had a balance on the card. You don't. Maybe that will be the difference maker.

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  44. Its funny that these come on the heels of the Credit Reform bill in the Senate and the recent announcement that BofA anticipates beginning repayment of the TARP funds in April.

    BofA is trying to push through some changes that may not fly if the Credit Reform Bill gets passed in its current form.

    As an added F-U to the taxpayer, first they take the tax payer funds to stabilize their company, and then they boost interest rates so that we can pay back the money they took from us in the first place.

    If I didn't pay my bills on time I'd be in better shape ... its getting sad.

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  45. We just got our letter yesterday. I wasn't real shocked because my son had been warning me that the banking industry is goin to be scrambling, and I had just completed paying off my balance at B of A on the first of April. So I Beat Them!!!!!! I will just stick the cards in a file and let them cool off a bunch.

    I can thank B of A for sending me that letter...because they inspired me to search the internet for more info on what the heck is happening with the banks, and I found your blog. I love all the great info you share here...I also set the alerts for all my cards. Thanks for that advice.
    AZCarol

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  46. Carol, glad you paid the balance. Congrats.

    And smart for setting alerts. It's a nice backup to my other tracking device(which is a spreadsheet with due dates).

    Thanks for visiting the blog. And thanks for posting.

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  47. Yup, I got the letter. The rate's going to variable, currently 14.something. Again, I don't especially care as I don't ever carry a balance, but it's the principle of things.

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  48. What's the phone number to opt-out?

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  49. Jeeze... yeah I got this last night and was absolutely floored that the customer service agent on the phone was so rude. I asked if there was anyone I could talk to about negotiating the 23% (up from 7.9%) rate. He snidely stated that "It's the bank's money and we can do whatever we want with it." When I cited the original offer, toted by multiple representatives as "for the life of the card" they said that they always reserved the right to modify the agreement, and once again very snottily told me that I can either close the account or pay the new rate. They said that it was the only way of making sure an automatic payment (which I've got domain renewals I don't even remember until they hit the card) doesn't go through.

    What's this FICO everyone keeps talking about, and why would closing my account and paying it off affect it? (Last I checked my "credit score" was 689, I'm 22 - is that good?)

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  50. Michael, sounds like you got a robot.

    As for FICO, people worry about closed cards because your available credit gets taken out of the mix when it comes to your overall available credit. It gives you less wiggle room when it comes to utilization.

    If you're not quite sure about utilization, read this story here: http://www.creditmattersblog.com/2008/07/utilization-matters.html

    A FICO score of about 720 is the median. Half above that score; half below. You really want to work on getting your score in the top half.

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  51. The BoA representative was amazed when she checked and found I had a 5.9% fixed rate for over 8 years - never a late payment. She said the increases were across the board and there was nothing she could do; although she thought I might get better treatment if I got a Business Card.

    Great idea. Unfortunately, I was laid off in October and while I have assets and a great credit score, I don't have a job. And, at 59 - I don't expect to be hired before I retire (not by my choice, but I'll need the money).

    It's a double whammy: First the economy goes down the tubes, taking my job with it. Then the banks raise their rates.

    I know it's not personal, but it sure feels that way.

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  52. Bank of America has performed in my humble opinion a criminal act against most of its consumers. Credit card customers have had their rates increased by an obscene amount. Generally without any rhyme or reason behind it. Except for the lame excuse that it is because of the economy. Apparently there are to be regulations imposed by our government to stop this type of obscenity that some banks and credit card companies are doing. What I'm curious to know is WHY is our government WAITING until JUNE 2010 to impose these regulations??? Why is our government not putting limits RIGHT NOW on this type of criminal practice that B of A and other credit card companies are doing to the American public!!! Why wait until 2010??? Funny how these banks and credit card companies are being given a "head start" of sorts. I wonder who is profiting from this "wait". It sure isn't anyone that I know.

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  53. I received a notice today from BofA. They are increasing my interest rate from 5.9% to 11.74%!! This is an increase of almost 100%!!

    I have been a customer since 1998, use the card frequently which gives them processing fees, a 750+ credit score, and a spotless 5 year payment history.

    I called to inquire why and I was told it was a "business policy" change and the "economy". What does that mean?! I am a low risk borrower and my credit rating is steady if not increasing.

    It doesn't make sense. For years I have received balance transfer offers and just 4 months ago I used one to transfer a balance from another card to this card.

    So I qualify for a special balance transfer rate, but now the default APR is being doubled?!

    The risk profile just does not make any sense. Based on what I have read here and on many other sites (google Bank of America raises interest rates), there seems to be no reason or consistent logic behind the rate increases.

    I am just fed up with Bank of America. I will definitely opt out. Then I will either pay the card of with a balance transfer from another lender (Wachovia and Discover Card are great) or take a 401(k) loan and payoff the card.

    And I tell you this... Bank of America will NEVER have my business again!!!

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  54. This situation is starting to remind me of the Citibank situation back in November.

    Read my Citibank coverage to see what I mean:

    http://www.creditmattersblog.com/2008/12/all-in-one-place-citibank-coverage.html

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  55. Well, not to be outdone, Discover Card is getting in on the act - received a notice in yesterday's mail that they plan to jack my account terms up to 19.99% variable next month. Same refrain as everyone else, never a late payment, etc, although I do carry a balance.

    It does include an opt-out and I plan to take advantage of it - I hate to close an account with a 15K limit that I've had for 6 years, but it's the principle of the thing. I won't bend over and take a retroactive interest rate hike on purchases, FICO hit be damned. I won't be needing a major loan for the next couple years and right now Discover Bank needs customers like me more than I need a bank like them. So long, Discover, it's been real...

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  56. Anon, thanks for the heads up on Discover. They're all getting in on the act. And you're right: you're getting a rate hike on purchases that might have been made long ago -- at much lower rates.

    Back in the day, I used to think that was OK -- since we were all aware of the possibility of that happening. I've since changed my tune. It's BS.

    Thanks again for the comment.

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  57. I called BofA this morning to ask questions regarding letter I'd received - plan to appeal and pay off balance. Just had to pass this along for a chuckle - we all need a chuckle in this mess. I live in Nebraska - NE. Rep asked me if the state I lived in was "Nebraska or New England." Seriously, went on to say he always gets that abbreviation mixed up thinking "it's the state of New England." I did point out to him that New England isn't a state -- "oh, yea" he says. Kind of scarey isn't it??

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  58. Anon, did he CLD you for pointing that out?

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  59. "I've since changed my tune. It's BS."

    Why is it BS?

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  60. Before I answer that question, I do understand that it's spelled out in the contract. No problem with that. But I'd like to see retroactive interest-rate hikes become unconscionable.

    I think it's BS because it's the only contract I know of where you can purchase something at one rate (the rate you had today) -- and then, later on, have the lender hike it to something that you didn't bargain for. That's the BS part of it (at least for me).

    Still, it is in the contract. When borrowers decided to use credit cards, that's what they agreed to. And until the law is changed, those borrowers who carry balances will have to live with it.

    I'd like to see the rule change on this particular aspect, though.

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  61. And this is another reason why I say that consumers who carry credit-card balances (that are not contractually locked in to a particular rate) do so at their own peril.

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  62. Well, well. There's a new big jerk lender of the week. In addition to BofA, I received a letter from Discover Card this afternoon that stated my APR is going from 1.9% to 18.24%. Yup, over a 900% increase!!!!

    Anyone else get this notice from Discover yet?

    Same with the BofA account, no lates, 750+ FICO, long term user.

    There is an opt out, but you must notify them in writing and they will close out the account. I will move funds around and payoff this card and take the FICO hit on a closed account.

    So the BofA is slightly off my you know what list, since the APR on BofA was "only" doubled and the opt out is more fair since you can pay the card down with the account still open.

    Seriously, is there any other industry where you borrow money and the terms can be changed for any reason at any time?!

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  63. Fed up, yep. I wrote about Discover on Wednesday.

    http://www.creditmattersblog.com/2009/04/discover-raises-interest-rates-on-some.html

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  64. Fed up, a closed account will really only hurt you if the available credit is necessary to keep your utilization low. For example, if you always keep low utilization -- just as a matter of course -- you likely won't even notice a hit when you close an account. The account, for scoring purposes, continues to age until it eventually falls from your credit report some ten years from now.

    So, there is never a guarantee that a closed account will hurt someone. Really just depends on your overall available credit. If you already have a nice cushion, you'll fare well.

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  65. Thank you for the clarification. My utilization is fairly low, so hopefully little if any impact.

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  66. so what happens if i
    1. opt out, thus keeping my card open for use, but not actually using it.
    2. pay off my remaining balance
    3. start using the card again after july 2010 when the new credit card rules go into effect?

    how are other cards effected for those which if you opt-out, they close the account; so instead, you choose to accept the higher rate and pay it off while still having the available credit for use? well if you still end up with a balance after the July 2010 rule change, will that existing balance revert to your old much lower interest rate? or are you stuck with the monster rates?

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  67. 1. If you opt out, you retain your rate. Check the fine print to see if your rate fluctuates with prime rate, though. Usually it does -- even if you're opted out.

    2. No problem there.

    3. Depends what the new rules stipulate. My guess is that the banks will be able to jack rates -- they'll just have to give you more notice. If you use the card after July 1, 2010, I would imagine you're going to a much higher rate.

    Most card issuers close the account when you opt out. You keep the lower rate and pay it off at that lower rate, but ultimately your card is closed. I do not see the rate going back down in July 2010. If you still have a balance at that time, but you've opted out, you should retain the lower rate.

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  68. i have a BOA credit card with a 7.5% fixed rate, like forever, with a balance of about $19k - which was used for emergencies such as tires or repairs for my car and to recently purchase all five appliances in the home i just bought in Oct. 2008 (short sale and the seller or dead beats stole all the appliances) obviously one can't live in a home without appliances. Neither here or there, i hadn't rec'd the interest rate hike increase as of yet, i know it's coming though, i feel it but if it does, rather than pay twice the minimum payment as i have been doing for a while now (never late either and exc. credit score) i will just pay the minimum payment on this card rather than pay it off. The money i would have paid over and beyond that, I'M LEAVING IN MY CHECKING ACCT. The banks want you to get pissed off and pay off your balances because they need the money to not only pay back the bail out money that they borrowed, but prob. the big CEO's bonuses, etc. etc. Now with the money in my bank acct and them getting the minimum payment (plus about $30 extra) I will have the money in the bank to use for tires or car repairs rather than not have it there and use the BOA card and have the entire balance now get charged at the doubled interest rate. If i don't have any emergencies after a period of time, i'll then take some of that monies and apply it towards the card, but not until i have a good amount in the bank that i don't have to rely on the card. If they don't raise the min payment from 2% to 5% on me that's fine. I can wait this out until someone takes the bull by the horn and regulates these banks. As i said before the banks (BOA) want you to pay off your cards. If not by yourself, by balance transfer to another credit card or bank. Now that's good for that bank because they now will get a 3% balance tranfer fee from you, they'll get alot of great people who pay their bills on time and even better yet, those who pay well over the min. amount. One banks pissed customer, is another banks goldmine. My credit will still be good, i'm paying on time and AS AGREED by making the min required payment (well maybe a little bit more) I dont' care how long it takes to pay that card off and it keeps them from getting my money quicker bec the need it NOW, i'll have a savings act to use for emergencies, the balance will still have the 7.5% rate and not at a doubled interest rate, and the acct will still be open, which is a good thing on a credit report. I'm sure things will change for the better in a year; it's the credit card companies that are taking advantage of a situation right now because it's not regulated. There doing such before they are - or better yet positioning themselves just right.

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  69. BofA Customer - 4 Car Loans since 1999, Customer Since 1991 - 23K Balance because of Legal custody battle. I received rate hike letter 9.9 to 15.xx. Called and asked the specific reason that I was being singled out. "we are sending these to 4.2M customers" Asked again, same answer. Repeated question,same answer. I asked what new card holders where getting? 17.9? I asked about their quarterly profits? Then out of nowhere I got an offer of 9.99, continue to use card, no lowering of credit line, and all the same terms and conditions as my current card? What gives-the rate increase is not user specific: it is a blanket they are throwing over everyone. Ask how it was determined relative to YOU! God Bless America its your Tax dollars they are lending (tarp)

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  70. Please hear a my husband's response to B of A's unfair business practices in this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6hy4PBo4tE&feature=channel_page
    We have received many favorable responses from ex-BofA and soon to be ex BofA customers.

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  71. That video from Roy DeYoung encouraging B of A customers to take their business elsewhere is brilliant! We all need to join in the B of A Walkout!
    I love the new logo Roy developed.
    http://www.cafepress.com/bofawalkoutgear

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  72. BOA recently raised my APR from 13% to 29.99% I was a day late on a payment that was due on a Sunday. Is there any way to dispute this?

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  73. Anon, BOA has the upper hand here. The only thing you can do is call and plead your case. If you've never been late before, you might be able to persuade them to reverse the late fee and restore the old rate. The magic words: you'd like a goodwill adjustment for being a great customer. You're hoping that they'll overlook a payment that was late by a single day; one that was due on a Sunday.

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  74. I haven't heard anyone mention automatic withdrawals on CCs? I had opted out of a BOA rate hike (5.99% to 11.99%) and changed all of my automatic debits over to another card. Except one that I seldom use. I simply forgot and purchased from that merchant in May. Got my bill with one charge for $19.95 and the new high interest rate. BOA said that if the merchant would credit it back to BOA they would low my rate. The purchase had re-activated my card at the new rate. I was extremely lucky - the charge was from May and the merchant had no way of transferring the purchase over to another card. So they decided to act in amazing customer service, and processed a refund for the purchase. I hope my comment reminds at least one person to double-check their PayPal, Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, and all of the above.

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  75. I opted out of a rate increase on my BofA Visa back in 2004 (from 16.99 to 24.99 fixed); the agreement was that I pay off the balance at the existing rate of 16.99 and under the existing terms. A couple days ago, I got a notice that my interest rate was being changed from fixed to variable. Even though there's no immediate change in the effective APR, it will go up as soon as the prime rate goes up. I called to complain that this was a violation of the earlier agreement. At first, the CSR agreed and said to ignore the notice, but before I could even react, he said he had just received "new information," and that my rate would indeed be changed to variable. He also noted that BofA can change the terms in any way it chooses, for any reason at all, and that no agreement is "in perpetuity." He gave me an address to write to, and I will, but I doubt it will make any difference!

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  76. I had a account which rolled from First Card to BOA it's been a about a year or two so now since they change hands, they sent a notice last April, then jacked the rate from 5.9 to 10.9??? I would like to continue to be a customer, but not at those rates, think I'll pay the account down to a $.01 and see how long it takes for them to come around, but knowing them now they will probably close the account, and take the penny.

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  77. I am really enjoying Bank of America’s credit blunders even though it personally affected me.

    I have had a BofA business Visa credit card for over 8 year, I have never made a late payment and I can’t remember going over the maximum balance.
    Last October I called Bofa to dispute the 25+% interest rate. I had a $16k credit line that I had about $10k on where I made 2-3 times the minimum payment every month. I would utilize the credit line frequently so the balance was reduced only slightly each month. After escalating the call the representative declined my rate reduction request stating that it was because I kept a high balance.
    In January, after clearing the account of all but $16 I called back to get my rate reduced. After an extensive inquire into my business finances and operations they once again declined my rate reduction request. They stated that I had too much signature credit outstanding, this is due to a $180k secured loan being recorded as unsecured. I am going through the big three credit reporting agencies to clear that matter.
    So this weekend I am on my way out of town on business, I pull out my trust BofA business card and call to check the balance, woo hoo I have over $15k available. While on my way out of town I go to fill up with gas and the card purchase was declined. After searching around I call Cust service and find that BofA closed my account, upon inquiring further I find that they closed it due to a financial review of my business and personal credit.
    I call them on their usury good standing interest fees and they close my account. I have all of my personal and business banking as well as 2-3 other credit lines with BofA. I am in the process of pulling all my business from BofA, they are truly the definition of bad business.

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  78. If it's already been said I apologize, but I wanted to add that "allowing" card holders to continue paying off their debts to a lending institution at the same rates at which those debts were incurred is NOT friendly treatment it is CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED treatment.

    Bankers cannot ignore the contract you, the card holder, and they agreed to when you accepted their lending terms and force you to pay back an outstanding debt at a different rate of interest.

    On a side note, do you think I could send BoA a notice of my intent to repay my debts at a new reduced APR and if they don't respond within 45 business days I will assume they have agreed? [That'd be some tricky calculating to determine what my actual payoff amount would be over the next 24 months or so, say, at my proposed 1% APR versus the 19.9% they want... but it'd be worth it!]

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