Let me first say that it is incredibly hard to tell this story without getting angry all over again.
I definitely agree that 1FBUSA gives credit cards to college students with little or no credit with the hope that they will rack up charges so that they can make huge finance charges and make tons of money. But they have plenty of other shady ways of making money too, like what happened to me.
I changed banks in May of this year, although I kept my other bank account open just in case. In July, I had transferred most of my bills over to the new account, and was ready to transfer my ACH (automatical funds withdrawl) for 1st Financial Bank over to the new account as well. I called 1st Financial Bank to get the paperwork to change my ACH sent over. I filled out the ACH paperworkand sent it back around the same time that I paid my July bill.
A few days before my August bill was due, I called up 1FBUSA and spoke with a representative. I asked them if the automatic withdrawl would be taken out of the new account since I had sent in my ACH paperwork about a month earlier, They assured me it would.
The day after my bill was due, the amount had not been taken out of my bank account yet. Nor had it been taken out of my original bank account. I logged into my 1FBUSA account online to see if it had been paid and just hadn't shown up on either account, and instead, I see that my payment is now late, and that I have been charged a late fee and an overlimit fee due to the late fee. Instead of the minimum payment for $36, I now owed them $169.21. This means that they didn't process the ACH, but they also cancelled the ACH from my previous account! I don't know if they did that when I ordered the paperwork or when they received the paperwork (but conveniently didn't process it in time), but I never approved the cancellation of my previous ACH.
It was Friday, and I was at work, so the next time I would have time to call them when they were open would be Tuesday.
I called on Tuesday, and I was on the phone with them for an hour and a half. I spoke with a representative, and almost immediately asked for a supervisor because it was something I knew a rep probably wouldn't be able to handle. The supervisor told me that not only would they not waive the fees for me, but he said that it was not on record that any rep had ever informed me that my ACH would be processed on time! I was appalled. They expected me to be accountable for the fact that their rep did not document our conversation from a week priot properly.
I asked to speak with his manager. This was completely unacceptable. The manager couldn't care less, and tried to divert my attention with questions like Why didn't you call on Friday? Why did you wait for today instead? It was completely outrageous. And after an exhausting hour and a half on the phone running the conversation in circles because I couldn't believe that they would be okay with the fact that they were forcing a customer to pay for an employee's mistake, the only resolution they would offer me was, well, none at all. I was stuck with a $170 bill that I shouldn't have had to pay. But, of course, I did, because I didn't want the ding on my credit
That is the worst thing that 1FBUSA has done to me, but there has been one other incident that sticks out from my horrible customer service experiences with them, not because of any costs, but more because of the inconvenience.
My PayPal account was hacked into in early September. The issue was pretty easily resolved with PayPal, but I called my banks and credit card companies where money had been spent to alert them of the fraudulent charges. When I called 1FBUSA, even though I explained to them that the hacker didn't have access to my credit card number, they shut my account down and opened a new one.
I can understand why they did that. What I can't understand is why they have decided to lock me out of accessing my account online for the next three to four months! I called them for information, and they said that this was their policy when someone fraudulently gains access to an account. This makes no sense to me, because it prohibits me from having immediate access to my account, so I can't actually view when and if fraudulent charges occur until I get my monthly bill. I am also now unable to pay my bill online, and, most importantly, I can't see if the refunds from PayPal were made, or if and when my payments go through!
They also raised my interest rate from 8% to 22% without notifying me in any way. How freaking ridiculous. I actually only noticed this when I received my last bill, and I have absolutely no idea how long it's been like this.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, they charge you $9 or $12 each time you want to pay your bill via phone or via the internet (I can't remember which is $9 and which is $12, but either way, it's ridiculous). This essentially forces you to use their obviously flawed ACH system, and it prevents you from paying money to your credit card more than once a month, which is something that I find is instrumental to helping me pay my credit cards back effectively.
My recommendation: if 1FBUSA send you a credit card offer, tear it up immediately. If you have a 1FBUSA card, open a new credit card and transfer your balance right away. They are the most nightmarish company I have ever had to deal with.
San Ramon, California