Debt Smart

website - scott bilkerBy Scott Bilker

Below is a story of bank deception submitted by an email newsletter reader. However, keep in mind that we need to use the banks against each other. That means you don’t want to close your accounts. Transferring your balances is the best revenge.

Cheers to you Ms. Robinson, received from John Phillips

A few years back, my partner Ben, who is an authorized user on my Bank of America Rainbow VISA card, had charged up to the $7,500 limit. At the time the card had been issued by MBNA, prior to their merger with Bank of America. I contacted MBNA customer service and I asked if it would be possible to lower the interest rate, which at the time was 14.49%. I admit that was my first mistake, talking to a customer service rep at MBNA.

The first rep I spoke with, a Ms. Robinson, indicated that that was the lowest rate I could qualify for. (On the Rainbow Card website it indicated that the lowest rate available was 7.9%.) After going back and forth with Ms Robinson I knew I was not going to accomplish anything. I thanked her for her time and hung up. That very day, I received an offer from Citibank indicating that I could balance transfer up to my credit line on my Conoco MasterCard, with no fees, at an interest rate of 3.99%.

Armed with the offer in my hot little hand, I contacted MBNA again and spoke with a Ms. Medley. I again asked if it would be possible to lower the interest rate on my Rainbow card. Ms. Medley then brought up the word “risk.” I asked her if she was calling me a risk and she got very defensive. She said she did not call me a risk. I then inquired why she brought up the word in the first place. She gave a really peculiar answer that MBNA does that on accounts that have a high balance. I asked her to look over the account to see if there were any indications that the account was not being paid each month. She said the account was current. I then told her that I had received an offer from Citibank with a 3.99% balance transfer offer.

I stated this was their last chance to lower my interest rate or I was going to be on the phone to Citibank. She declined. I called Citibank a few minutes afterward and the full $7,000 was transferred over. At this point, I don’t trust Bank of America/MBNA. They have since raised my limit to $10,500 and the interest rate down to 10.49%. But do you think I am going to use that account? No way, Jose!

(Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He’s also the founder of DebtSmart.com.)

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