Like many Americans that find the economy squeezing our pocket books, I am even more overwhelmed when my credit card companies arbitrarily raise interest rates to painfully high amounts on existing balances. Recently I was raised to an interest rate of 23.85% on my Washington Mutual credit card, which has now been taken over by Chase. This occurred during a time when my credit score was rising into the higher range of average. I have never missed or been late on a payment, and I always pay more than the minimum payment due.
When I spoke to two supervisors in the credit card department of Washington Mutual/Chase, I was told that they are unable to negotiate interest rates. They said that they monitor their client's accounts constantly and IF an offer for a lower interest rate comes up, I will be contacted. This is a joke. I have never received an offer for a reduction in interest rate on an existing balance. Usually the only offers for lower interest rates come from competing credit card companies trying to lure me away from other companies. They offer misleading rates which jump tremendously when the honeymoon is over
After reading online comments at numerous sites, I find myself almost feeling lucky to be asked to pay only 23.85% on this Washington Mutual Credit Card, because for some are going even higher. This interest rate is more than 10% above any other card I hold. I fully expect to hear from other companies that just haven't yet gotten around to raising the interest on my other cards. They want to get their shot in before new rules take effect in 2010. It's like telling a criminal that he's going to have to stop stealing in 18 month, so he better get to it.
I was told by one supervisor that I had received a notice that this raise would occur if I didn't opt out by a date that has now passed. We check our mail carefully and if we received such a notice it must have been very well hidden in the fine print.
These practices by banking companies have to be regulated and controlled before 2010. I am hopeful that The Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights: Balanced Reform, will pass and take effect quickly.
Please do all that you can to help those of us that find ourselves at our wit's end in this very tough economy. The very companies our tax dollars have been given to without restriction are now gouging us for every cent they can. Only you in Congress have the power to stop them.