Alternately titled: Why I Will No Longer Be Doing Business with WaMu MyPoints Visa.
I tend to find myself thinking about finances at the end of the week. Maybe because I get paid on Fridays (every other week), maybe because we’re headed into the weekend which is always where a lot of my money tends to disappear. Either way, I decided it would be a great time to write something regarding the state of my finances/financial topics. I’d love to announce a new Finance on Fridays feature at Footprints on the Moon (how’s that for alliteration?), but I know how quickly those things can fall by the wayside. So instead, I’ll just tell you that I’m going to attempt to write about the financial side of my life more, and update on my progress more frequently. If that happens to be on Fridays, so be it.
In all the personal finance reading I’ve been doing over the last six months, one theme has jumped out at me over and over again: The credit card companies ARE out to get you. I’ve always read those sort of statements and said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” Until about a month ago.
I was logging into all my accounts online like I’ve basically become obsessive-compulsive about doing. But when I logged into my WaMu MyPoints Visa account, I was in for a big surprise. My formerly $81 minimum payment had suddenly jumped to $113. When you’re trying to pay off debt, a change of $30/month is a big deal. Eventually, I figured out that my interest rate had been raised from 16.99% to 25.99%. What I couldn’t figure out was WHY. I certainly hadn’t missed a payment or incurred any fees. I’ve never made a late payment on this account, or ANY account for that matter.
I tried to call the fine folks at the credit card company for some answers. I barely got the words, “I’d like to know why my interest rate has been raised,” before he jumped in with his little ready made spiel about how he was sorry to hear that but interest rate changes are usually due to (insert generic list of reasons here). I could not get him to tell me anything about why my rate had actually been changed, and the only thing he would do for me is put in a request that they send me a letter detailing what happened. Since he refused to do anything else (just before asking me if there was anything else he could help me with today), I ended up waiting for them to generate my letter and 7-10 days for it to arrive in the mail.
When the letter arrived, it said that they’d changed the terms of my account based on my overall credit risk. The “events or circumstances” they identified that indicated an increased credit risk were:
- Lack of recent retail account information.
- Account balance history.
Oh, and they consider the change(s) necessary in light of the increased risk. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that basically say that they raised my interest rate because I stopped using my car for new purchases and my balance is going down rather than up?
I’m really frustrated because it was hard enough to make progress on my credit cards without 25% interest rates. This credit card went from being last on my list to pay off and got unceremoniously shoved to number one. I’m a little disappointed that they absolutely refused to work with me because I was planning on keeping this one after I’m done paying off my debt– I really liked the rewards on this card. Instead, I’ll be cancelling this card not too long after it is completely paid off. It’s unfortunate, but I’ll no longer be doing business with the people at WaMu.