Watch out for new credit card "policies" - CHASE card holders already hit with fees

By Lynn Truong. Last updated 28 November 2009. 0 comments
Photo: istockphoto

Update: Chase has reversed the maintenance fee charges!

The other day as I was going through my monthly process of paying bills, I noticed one of my credit cards (which I have had a 3.99% APR on an old balance transfer I've been slowly paying off) suddenly had an increase in the minimum payment by double.  Additionally, I saw a "SERVICE CHARGE *FINANCE CHARGE" line item for $10!  I immediately called the bank (Chase) and asked about both of these things. 

Turns out, their latest policy changes include upping the minimum payment from 2% to 5% of the balance, and charging a monthly maintenance fee for "processing payment and statements."  So I asked if the fee would go away if I closed the account.  The customer service representative said, no.  Closing the account would make no difference.  She did give me two options that would remove the charge:

  • Give up the 3.99% APR and pay the normal APR (I forgot what she said specifically, but the consensus around the web is that they're offering 7.99%)
  • Pay off the entire balance within 30 days of when the $10 fee was first charged (which was about 20 days ago)

Great options.

It's not just me. There's plenty of complaints from Chase card holders.  But this is just one of the many changes that credit card companies are doing to accounts. Some people might suddenly see that their available balance got cut by half or more.  Others will see these sort of "maintenance fees" pop up suddenly.  Back in December, The Federal Reserve Board voted for new rules to protect credit card customers from exactly these types of fees, but the rules don't take into effect until 2010. Unfortunately with the current downturn, it looks like banks are seizing the opportunity to charge while they can. 

For me, I'm looking into whether I can fight the fees (doesn't look like it so far) or find another credit card that will allow me to transfer this balance (all my balance transfer offers that used to come by the truckload in the mail have all suddenly decided to honor my request for no more mail). 

Has anyone else faced similiar new "policy changes" from their credit cards?

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

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