With Black Friday just a few days away, this seemed particularly current. Many people with credit cards probably have received a letter in recent weeks or months about their interest rates going up. I have received two such letters, both from Citibank, concerning my credit cards from Zales and a furniture store.
For those who don’t know what is going on, Congress passed a law in the spring that places much greater restrictions on what credit card companies can do to consumers and how they can raise interest rates. This law goes into effect in February and credit card companies and raising rates ahead of the law. The House of Representatives caught on to this and passed a bill to move up the effective date to December 1st. Unfortunately the Senate has been unable to pass a similar bill and consumers will continue to find their rates increased from now until February.
The banking industry is responding by saying that the increase in interest rates is due to an increased risk in lending. This sounds like a good excuse until it’s compared to reality. Both accounts that I had were never late and both have been active this year. I have excellent credit. And still my rate for both accounts was raised to 27.99%. This is beyond ridiculous and is even more insulting when I think that Citibank was one of the biggest banks bailed out by your taxes and mine.
On top of cancelling my credit card with Zales, I sent them a letter telling them that I would no longer be purchasing from their store because of how I was treated by their financier, Citibank. Big banks aren’t going to care if they lose a few customers like you or I over increased interest rates. But if the companies that they provide credit for realize they are losing business because of absurd interest rates and do their banking elsewhere, maybe these banks will finally get the idea.
If you find your interest rate increased on your credit card between now and February, I encourage you to not only cancel the credit card, but contact the company who issued it and let them know that you intend to take your business elsewhere because of they way you were treated by their financier.