As we’re all aware, the economic crisis has huge banks flailing as they weren’t impervious to really, really bad decisions themselves. They need money and they need it stat. Remember when credit card companies would do everything they could to convince you to carry a balance? Those days are long gone and cards with balances are poison- they need your whole balance now and not in increments. American Express was offering some problem accounts $300 or so to pay off their balance and close their accounts. Too funny. Since you read my 4/7 post on Chase, you know they tried their darndest to manipulate full balances out of people. They failed and quickly backed down because they were dead wrong, but that boondoggle exposed their aura of desperation further.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, Bank of America is going to try super, duper hard to alienate as many customers as possible by catapulting low interest rates to double-digit territory. No lie. I tell you what, they need to get some of us aggressive couponers up in those corporate offices to show them how sound financial decisions are made. Just throw us a couple-hundred-thousand-dollar pittance (comparatively speaking) for gracing them with such innovative knowledge. We’ll make that last our whole lifetime. Why? Because we rule at handling money and making crazy-smart financial decisions. But I digress. BoA customers can opt out of the interest rate hike thankfully, but then they can’t make any new purchases on the card. If they do, their rate will take flight.
So, we know some banks are desperate for money because of bad decisions compounded with the current economic climate. To try and recoup, they’ve entered into the business of aforementioned shenanigans. However, there is another huge factor that has them scrambling psychotically for your cash: the Credit Card Accountability Act, AKA the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act. It places restrictions on what credit card companies can and can’t do to their customers. It’s set for lift-off July 2010. You can read more about H.R. 5244 here. As part of the legislation, banks can no longer raise your interest rate retroactively (unless you’re 30+ days late with a payment). It also “limits any imposition of an over-the-limit fee to once per billing cycle”. The government is taking away a few of the huge moneymaker outlets for the banks. So the banks are doing all they can to milk as much out of their customers now as possible. Our poor government, they can’t win for losin’. They try and do something good with legislation and well, it just bites consumers in the butt before it takes affect.
No doubt there is a silver lining for consumers who are affected by the banks’ sudden money-grubbing. Consumers will hopefully be more hesitant to rack up balances on credit cards in the future. Until then, I hope the very best for people who find themselves in a financial bind because of the fast tricks of their scheming banks.