Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Reason to Kill My Credit Card

Welcome to anyone visiting via the Carnival of Money Stories #69: Summer Vacation Edition hosted by Squirrelers. I hope you enjoy this post as well as anything else you find while perusing my blog. Please know that things are a little crazy right now because I'm hosting a huge series of giveaways, which is giving me twice the posts as normal right now. I promise you can find the "regular" stuff amidst the giveaways! Feel free to stick around and hey--go ahead and enter to win some stuff if you want. There are some great prizes to be had!

So after becoming listeners/readers/fans of Dave Ramsay, we began our journey to becoming totally debt free. We decided that we would take it to the limit and drop all credit cards permanently. That is still the plan.

Since October 2009 we have paid off over $15,000 in consumer debt. Absurd, right? (I mean the amount we have to pay off, not the fact we have done it; I rather love that part) I will admit (ashamedly) that we still have a long way to go, but we are making our way through it and killing off credit cards as they are paid off.

Image Source: Accredited OnlineSchools

The current target of our debt snowball is a Chase card that was my primary card since graduating college. It has the highest credit line and the longest credit history attached to it. It also had the highest balance on it. The snowball method would indicate that we would pay it off last (we have one other card with another high balance although not as high as this Chase one), but this one is getting paid off next because it will be a huge emotional win.

You see, I was a good customer of Chase's, as far as credit card companies define good customers. I had a high credit line because I would carry a balance for long enough to please them and then pay it off in full. Each time I paid off a big balance in full, due to the way credit card companies have acted in the past, I would get a credit limit increase. I finally asked them to stop increasing my credit limit when it reached $24,000. Yes. $24,000. On one card. Ridiculous. They obviously thought I should be able to purchase a nice new car on that card.

Last summer I got a nice letter from them telling me that my minimum payment amount would more than double. I was floored. Frankly, I couldn't make that payment because I was deep in debt with not only them, but with three other cards. I called them and told them so. They increased my interest rate and left my minimum payment percentage the same. It hurt, but I had gotten myself into that mess and I didn't have any choice.

Upon investigating this in anger online, I found that Chase did this to over 1,000,000 of their customers. What did these customers have in common? They had previously transferred a balance at a "lifetime low" interest rate, they were employed, and they consistently paid their bills as required and on time. So they were wanting to punish those customers who were most loyal to them and responsible as far as that word can stretch in the credit-card carrying person's dictionary. Yep...increasing the payments of those they were most certain they could get a payment from.

I was furious. After 8 years of carrying that card, this was my reward for using it the way they wanted me to.

I vowed then and there that once that card was paid off, I would never use Chase again for any of their banking products.

That's all back story. Here's the current deal:

So, I open my mailbox last week and I have a letter from Chase. It states the following:

Dear Kaye:

We are writing to provide you with important information about your account. In an effort to ensure the credit we extend is appropriate for each customer, we regularly review customer credit lines. Based on our review of the account referenced above, we have changed the credit line to $15,000.00.

The review of your account considered several factors including our assessment of information obtained from the consumer credit agency listed below. The primary reason(s) that led to our decision to change the credit line are:
  • Balance owed on revolving accounts too high.
  • Balance too high compared to credit limit

We understand that you may be disappointed with this decision, but we hope that you continue to find value in the benefits, protection, and payment flexibility your account provides. If you have any questions....

So. There it is, ladies and gentlemen. My credit limit has been decreased.

Why? Well, I agree that my balance owed is too high, so I cannot argue with that.

However, the crap about my balance being too high compared to my credit limit? Well, my ratio of balance to limit is higher now thanks to my limit decrease, so I don't really buy that.

You see...they see that I am paying this sucker off. In pretty hefty amounts. Every month. And they see that I'm not using it. At all.

So they are ready to close my account as soon as it is paid off. And you know what? I am too. That's the first thing I have agreed with Chase about in a while.

So why my feelings are not hurt by any part of this letter nor the actions associated with it, I find it humorous that Chase suddenly is concerned that my credit ratio is too high. They are concerned that I cannot pay my bills although they have NEVER not received a payment from me.

The dishonesty associated with most of the credit industry (I only say most because I can't lump absolutely everyone into the same category. I'm sure there are good people out there. Somewhere.) sickens me and further confirms and solidifies our decision to be done with them once and for all.

And the way...I am not "disappointed with this decision," and I have not found "value in the benefits, protections, and payment flexibility" with my account in a long time now. So really...don't let that concern you.

By the way...I'm not trying to pick Chase out from the bunch. Most credit card companies are doing something similar these days. Chase just decided to do it to someone who would blog about it.


  1. That happened to us too sometime last year - but what really got me was that they lowered my limit below what my balance was. So not only did I get an ugly letter but I then started being charged over the limit fees each month b/c the new lower credit limit. I tried calling in anger, in tears. Nothing worked. And I have had that card for years and always always always had it in good standing. Crazy!

  2. Seriously?! Below your balance?! That's just harsh!

  3. I had the same thing happen to me!!
    I have 3 credit cards with Chase and a Truck payment with Chase bank. I pay all on time, every time. I thought I was a loyal customer, but apparently I'm not. I had an opportunity to pay down my credit card debt, and decided to pay off 1 of my Chase cards. $10,000 -hoping my credit rating would go up, only to receive a letter from Chase telling me (on the card I paid in full)that due to a recent evaluation my available credit will go down by $5,000. Now you may think this is no big deal, but I am furious. That $10,000 available credit should make my score go up, but now it is only $5,0000 available it will not. Also, I guess I can expect what little I have left available on my other cards will probably be decreased too. I called, and of course talked with a girl from India who told me all they could do was reevaluate my credit situation again. What good will that do? You just did it and found it to be needing a decrease? She definitely heard an earful on how Chase rewards their loyal customers. I plan to blog about this to everyone, everywhere. If it stops one person from using Chase, be it a bank account or car loan, or credit card, I would be happy as you state- Friends don't let Friends use Chase Bank. Thanks for listening.