|by Jason Steele|
Credit cards are kind of like teenage relationships. They really are casual and not meant to last a lifetime.
How can you tell when it is time to move on?
5. Your Rewards Are Not What They Used To Be
I am looking at you Citi Bank. The Consumerist has the scoop on Citi as well as other reward programs that have been hit by the “shrink ray”. Of course it would be nice if they merely reduced the number of points you receive in the future, allowing you to spend the points you have already accrued at the redemption rates that were in effect when you accrued them. In reality, it is always the other way around. If you are lucky, the devaluation occurs with a little bit of advance notice, allowing you to dispense with your points before they become worthless.
When that happens, it is really time to tell them how you feel by canceling your card. If you have good credit, there are still plenty of card issuers that want your business, even these days.
4. Customer Service Isn’t What It Should Be
Are you speaking with a poorly trained representative on the other side of the world every time you call? Are you constantly trying to sort out various miscommunications? Are they unwilling to waive any fees for any reason? Maybe it is time to find a company that values you as a customer. You should expect competent customer service agents, clear communication, and an occasional waived fee for when your best laid plans go south.
3. The Annual Fee Isn’t Paying It’s Way
The annual fee looked great when you were getting a sign up bonus worth four times as much. It even looked good when your rewards were delivering a great value per dollar spent. Now, you hardly ever use the card anymore, and your annual fee is due. It might be time to move on and cancel the card without paying the annual fee. If you are going to pay a fee you might as well get something in return. Before canceling, you might want to check to see if they would be willing to waive the fee. If not, so long!
2. Your Credit Limit Has Been Reduced Dramatically
More and more these days, I am reading stories of people who have had their credit limits sharply curtailed for seemingly no reason. At a certain point, they are just baiting you to go over your limit and incur some bogus “over the limit” fee on a charge that the credit card company approved. Lowering your credit limit is one way a credit card company is saying that they don’t trust you. Don’t they realize that relationships are built on trust? If you regularly use over half of your credit limit, maybe it’s time to cancel them and find a company that trusts you a bit more.
1. Your Credit Card Company Is Going To Pay You To Go Away!
Apparently American Express, despite their all of their recent efforts to piss off their best customers, is still unable to get rid of as many customers as it would like. In a truly unbelievable turn of events, they are now actually paying customers to cancel their credit cards. I know this sounds like a headline from The Onion, but it appears to actually be true. First, I read stories like this and this, but didn’t believe them. Finally, I actually went to the web site mentioned and it appears to be legit.
According to the site:
Pay off your entire balance between March 1, 2009 and April 30, 2009, and we will send you a $300 value prepaid card. to thank you2. Enrolling in this promotion will automatically cancel your account.
The prepaid card will arrive within 4 weeks of the end of the promotion. The prepaid card can be used to help you with your day-to-day expenses including purchases at your pharmacy, grocery store, or virtually anywhere
American Express Cards are excepted.
Wow. Who ever believed the financial crisis would come to this? Unknown is why Amex isn’t simply canceling it’s unwanted customers. I am praying that I will come home and find several of these offers in the mail.
Until then, I will try to “work it out” with some of my credit card companies that I have a less than perfect relationship with. The lesson here is that a relationship is a two way street. If you are not satisfied, there are plenty of other places to go. Your business IS valuable. Don’t let any company take advantage of you.