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02-02-2010 08:10 PM - edited 02-02-2010 08:29 PM
So ever since Congress decided that the banks need to actually treat their customers fairly, my boyfriend and I (we live together & have been dating 3 years) have had nothing but trouble from Chase and Citibanks, to the extent that I want to close out my checking, saving, and credit cards from them. The customer service has been TRULY appalling and I HATE the idea that they are receiving our business!
I'm 22 and have a credit score of 756.
I have two credit cards and one debit card. One credit card is from Citi, the other two are Chase cards. (I also have my checking/savings accounts with Chase.)
Both my credit cards are about 3 years old, I have been considering applying for another credit card but am waiting until I have a better job and have paid off my other cards in full. (Currently I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA and we live on about $1,200 a month in the expensive state of California. And my boyfriend lost his job, so I support the both of us until he can get work again. Needless to say, while the credit card debt has increased in the past few months, I have still paid every bill on time.)
So... here's what's been going on. I just got notices from both Chase and Citi letting me know that they're going to increase my interest rates (both currently 8.24%) after more than three solid years of on-time payments and an excellent credit score. I feel like I'm being punished for nothing! Because my income is so low right now and I'm supporting two people, I can't really afford to have my interest rates increased because I can't pay off the balance in full. Both companies said my only other option is to close the accounts. My father says I shouldn't, because the length of time with cards matters, but some of the other instances have REALLY irked me and I can't stand either business.
For example... my boyfriend wrote two checks of $50 and $300, one for me (rent) and one for a bill. Chase bank listed both checks as $300 even though you can click on "View Image" on their own website and clearly see that the checks are different amounts. The -$600 sent his account into overdraft, and he got slammed with over $200 in overdraft and extended overdraft fees for a week. Chase spent a good hour or two saying there was nothing they could do and he had to pay the fees, even though it was their fault. ETA: They also said that whoever he wrote the check (me!!) to probably tried to steal more money and that he should contact them and force them to "return" the $250 they were overpaid! Obviously, I didn't get any extra money and I would never steal from him! Finally, they conceded, but for a good week the overdraft fees were still listed and meanwhile he couldn't spend any money since his account was in the negative. After more haranguing, they gave in and removed the fees, except for one for $10. We let it slide....
This isn't the first time that's happened... I've watched Chase "disappear" my income checks, conveniently a day or so after I've started paying bills (first thing I do after I receive my paycheck is pay bills), and then get to watch all my checks bounce. I'm Fed Up. And now they want to raise my credit card interest rates? Why do they deserve any more of my money?
Citi hasn't been as bad, but then again I don't have a checking account with them. I'm just irked that they want to raise my rates... again, a situation where I have ALWAYS paid off my debts on time and often in full. I even called them more than a year ago to request that my rates were lowered and they easily agreed because I had such a great record!
Anyone else dealing with this? What would you do? Any recommendations on a better bank!?
*Sorry for the length but I hope the amount of detail helps*
02-02-2010 08:23 PM
02-02-2010 08:25 PM
Hi Basil...I can understand your frustration. Unfortunately, this has been happening to a lot of people. It stinks, but there is not much that can be done about it.
You have to do what makes the most sense to you. If you can't afford the payments at the higher interest rates, you may have to close the cards and pay them off that way. Generally, it's a good idea to keep cards open...but you have to be able to afford to do that.
Have you checked into any credit unions in your area? Credit unions are good to work with. They have checking, savings, and most of them have credit products as well. You don't normally have the run around issues that you do with the large national banks. I'd check it out.
02-02-2010 08:29 PM
I feel the same way about Chase and Citi. Theres really nothing we can do, because we are just one voice to their gigantic corporation of theives...but I would suggest at least keeping one of the two cards open for the account history. My rate with Citi was increased to 29.99% from a low, low rate of 7.24% and I owe them thousands of dollars...I had no choice but to opt-out and continue paying the balance at the 7.24%...it really makes me mad that my credit score is going to take a hit and lose all the history once the account is paid off..but I REFUSE to pay CITI 29.99% after they took our tax dollars to pay their CEO several million. With that, I can care less what effect it has on my credit...I will not contribute to the pocket books of the greedy executives who didn't make decent business decisions. Take your business elsewhere, I suggest a local credit union...MUCH better than the average corporate bank. The sooner you open a new credit card with a credit union or bank then the smaller the impact you will have on your credit for closing the two accounts with citi and chase. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, so be sure to tell all your friends and family members about your experiences with Chase and Citi...
You will be able to keep that history for about 10 years after you've paid it off. It continues to count in your history and your average age of accounts....so, it doesn't go away for a long time.
Looks like great minds think alike....we both suggested credit unions. They are great. We are gradually moving our business to one.
02-02-2010 08:44 PM
Thank you both for your responses! I'm definitely doing my research on credit unions now. I'm totally ready to close my checking/savings accounts with Chase. I think I'll also close out one card and make sure the other is used sparingly... probably the citi one simply because I have never had to sit in a Citi office demanding to have a problem fixed...
Any advice/red flags I should be aware of when choosing a credit union?
Thanks so much!
02-02-2010 08:51 PM
02-02-2010 10:29 PM
I'm a big fan of credit unions. DH has a lovely $10,000 CL Visa with Alliant CU (Thanks TXJohn for recommending them), and we have had several car loans through local CU's. They can be more conservative at times, and they don't always report to all 3 CRA's.
FICO scores banks differently than CU's; and they like to see at least one bank/national credit card or revolving account.
For well behaved bank cards, I like Kroger 123 and Cabelas. They're both coded as bank cards (not merchant cards) and tend to be somewhat generous and well-behaved..
Good luck with your bank AND your CU accounts.
02-03-2010 12:14 AM
02-03-2010 04:57 AM
Be sure to check out Alliant CU Click Here - will open in new window
Although you may not have a brick and morter branch close by, they have great benefits like high interest on savings and checking. High CL's on CC's, E-Deposit which allows you to deposit and have the money credited instantly to your checking or savings acct. and good customer service.
It will require that you belong to a qualifying organization but you can join by joining the National PTA and it's only a one time requirement.
Good luck and keep us posted.
02-03-2010 08:01 AM
Hi Future, I'm not applying for another card to increase my credit limit. Right now I'm at $9K, which is more than enough for me as I typically use my debit card for all purchases. My credit cards are only at 20% utilization, and once I get my tax return that will drop to about 5% or less. The only reason I'm looking to open another card is to make my credit profile look better and hopefully get better interest rates, rewards, and customer service. I've been reading what people say about department store cards, and was thinking of applying for the Amazon.com card since it's the only place I can see myself shopping regularly.
And yes, I have looked into balance transfers on my credit cards but I expect to have my cards paid off by the summer (fingers crossed nothing else bad will happen to us!!!) and the transfer fees would add up to about the same amount in interest I'm paying just by leaving them on the card.
Honestly, I really really really just want to cancel the Chase/Citi cards because I have been so upset by their poor customer service. I know that's like a total bad move in the credit world, but I just don't think I owe them my business.