Watch out – New credit card charges on the way

Just because we are in a financial meltdown, does not mean that the financial companies (i.e. credit card companies) will be friendly to their hurting customers.

As many consumers are trying hard to make the transition from major spender to major saver, several credit card companies are engaging in soon-to-be outlawed unethical billing practices. This is causing even more hurt for an already struggling consumer base.

JP Morgan Chase has been one of the worst offenders. They recently sent a piece of paper to almost all their customers, letting them know that their “no annual fee” cards will now have a $10 per month maintenance fee if you don’t make a charge on the card. On top of that, many of their interest rates will be going up by several percent.

So what are you supposed to do if your credit card company raises your rates and tacks a fee on your no-annual-fee credit card? Boycott the unethical financial institution and cancel the credit card!  But, there is a stipulation…

As I understand it, credit companies are required by law to give you thirty days to cancel your credit card account if the terms of the agreement change. If you do choose to cancel, it usually must be done in writing.

By the way, cancelling then simply means that you will no longer be able to charge to the account. You can continue paying on it as normal until it is all paid off.

Starting in July of next year, many of the unethical credit card schemes will be banned. The ironic thing is that many credit card companies are choosing to rip off consumers this year before these behaviors are specifically forbidden.

Even more ironic is that many of the companies who are now taking advantage of consumers were the very companies that OUR tax dollars bailed out earlier this year.

One thought on “Watch out – New credit card charges on the way

  1. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for your comment on my site. I wanted to mention, because it is a pivotal matter relative to the issues with Chase and pending lawsuits, the (so-called) “$10 per month maintenance fee” is a finance charge. Accordingly, whatever finance charge a customer may have had “Until the balance is paid in full” has indeed been altered.

    I am not just being picky about this in correcting the record on your site (or when people comment on my site), rather, this is definitely part of Chase’s PR spin strategy, to minimize the issue by calling it a service charge, a fee, and the like. But, the fact is, Chase messed up with its own fine print (as I pointed out to Chase Card Services CEO Gordon Smith, in a certified letter sent to him on December 3, 2008). As stated in the change in terms notice, I quote (panel 2 of 2):

    “The charge is $10 per month ($120 total annually), and it is a finance charge.”

    A copy of the actual change in terms notice, the aforementioned letter, and several other related documents can be found under the link category “Correspondence” on my site.

    Best wishes to you, too.

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