BofA, Bank of America, credit card rate hikes, corporate accountability, HR 5244

Well, here we go again. Bank of America, a very large bank based in Charlotte NC is punishing it’s credit card customers for it’s lack of business acumen. This is a prevalent theme in modern day american business. Exorbitant salaries are paid to upper management, with “golden parachutes”, and when they don’t do their jobs properly, who gets punished. The customers and employees. Bank of America has a policy that appears rather arbitrary and unfair. Despite perfect payment records, credit card rates are being jacked up. Despite the fact that there have been recent congressional hearings into credit card companies and banks regarding their practices of affecting FICO scores and raising rates and heightened consumer awareness, Bank of America callously impacts good customers.

An article in The Charlotte Observer today, Wednesday, February 13, 2008, gives multiple examples of good customers that have been treated unjustly by Bank of America. Brenda Fishkin got a letter from BofA last month stating her interest rate was going from 13% to 24.99 percent. Fishkin, 60, had never had a late credit card payment, had just refinanced her home at a lower rate and just got a lower rate on her credit union credit card. The fed has lowered rates significantly in recent months which should mean lower rates for many consumers. Holley Pridmore has had a BofA credit card since 2002. Her rate just went from 15.24 to 23.99 with never a late payment.

Wachovia looks at their customers payment records to determine rates,with the intent of keeping their customers. I have had banking relationships with BofA and Wachovia. My experience with Bank of America several years ago was less than steller. I was a long time First Union customer. What kept me with them was the fine level of service from the local people. I had a credit card with First Union for many years that was great. Before First Union merged with Wachovia, they turned the credit card division over to MBNA. It became credit card hell. Wachovia, wisely, took control of the credit card processing from MBNA. I applaud them for that. And I will say, Wachovia is doing some things right.

Curtis Arnold, founder of US Citizens for Credit Card Terms has been hearing a lot of complaints about credit card rate increases lately and most of them are about Bank of America. Their website is:

CardRatings.com

US Representative, Carolyn Maloney, from NY recently introduced th Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008, HR 5244. The bill bans credit card rate hikes based on unrelated loans. It also requires 45 days’ notice for most rate hikes. We need more consumer outrage! I have contacted Elizabeth Dole’s office several years ago about credit issues and credit reporting. Contact your congress person. Let   them know you are concerned. Also, make sure you check your credit report at least once per year.

Bank of America, if you have a reasonable defense for your policy, respond and it will be displayed as written.

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3 responses to “BofA, Bank of America, credit card rate hikes, corporate accountability, HR 5244

  1. I have been with B of A since 1986, have had cc’s with them for about 6 years. I have no lates or over limits on theirs or any other issuers cards. Because my utilization is above 50%, they bumped one of my cards from 9.99 to 27.99 if I choose not to opt out. Well, I opted out, am paying it them off with my tax return and moving to my local credit union where at the very least I will get decent customer service. B of A has 4 people that know the meaning of the word. Bye bye B of A, unless of course you offer me a 0% transfer then I will give you your 3% and nothing in interest. Guess ya have to play the game too!

  2. I have had several Fleet, MBNA and bank of America Cards for over ten years now, all the cards are Bank of America now. I received a statement today regarding my $16,107.45 balance and noticed that my APR increased from 9.99% balance transfer fixed to $24.99% since I was in “default” because a payment due on 8.31.2008 was received on 09.03.2008. This is my second late in the last year and my rate will remain 24.99%. I’m currently unemployed and receiving $1490 per month and living from my savings. I have never been late on any credit cards but since I had mortgage late on a investment property Bank of America increased all my card APR and closed all four account I had four months ago. My credit got even worse, and all the other cards started increasing my rates as well because of a lower credit score. My minimum payment on the account with a 9.99% APR was $285 and I was able to make that payment every month…the new payment with the 24.99APR is $585 and it will be impossible to pay. I called customer service and explained my situation and they advised me that I need to speck to a credit counselor. I also spoke to a manager and explained if the payment doesn’t go back down to $285 I won’t be able to make the new payment and basically give up and stop paying and ruin my credit and possibly be forced to go into bankruptcy. He then told me that he “noted” my account and asked me if there was anything else he can help with? Having the high balances on my cards are completely my fault and responsibility, however I have been making every effort to make timely payments during very difficult financial times for my family. And at this point it seems that the more effort I make, the more difficult Bank of America makes it for me to stay current. If anyone has any advice, please le t me know because I don’t want to be a dead beat but the situation is getting worse and BoA is doing everything possible to make me default on my credit card loans.

  3. To Alec – Look up your local consumer credit counseling service. Make sure they are not-for-profit and preferably affiliated with the national NFCC. They should be able to work with you. Since you are unemployed you will likely be eligible for a CCCS payment plan that would include lower interest rates from the banks.

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