For the last 18 years I have had a credit card with Citibank. I opened it in 1991 as a college student. I called them today because I’ve been a customer for a really long time, with a perfect payment history for a good couple of years now, and I was interested in having my interest rate reduced. It is currently 18.99% and I felt that even if they lowered it by a single point it would be a huge win.
I was informed that on November 30th, my interest rate was going up to 29.99%.
“Why? What did I do?” I asked.
“It’s not because of anything you did, it was a business decision that was made in order to offer consumers credit.”
A long pause.
“What are my options here?” I asked.
“Well, you can reject the rate increase and close the account.” she explained.
Another long pause.
“I’ve been a customer for 18 years. You’re saying that on November 30th every dollar of my balance will be subject to 11% more in interest that is compounded daily and there’s nothing I can do but close the account?”
“Yes sir, I’m afraid that’s so.”
“And it was nothing that I did?”
“No sir, it was a business decision.”
I’m just kind of numb that they would do this. Then I realized that the number of people who will close their accounts is far, far less than the number of people who will pay the higher interest rate so they can have their credit.