Saturday, May 29, 2010

Has the Credit card situation gone James Bond?

Are you getting lots of bank credit card offers, many of which now have VARIABLE RATES ?

You'd have to be naive to think they are going to "vary" in a lower rate. But I have excellent credit- when I used to get a flood of Zero % APR offers, now the "best rate" is coming in at 15.99% all the way up to 23% VARIABLE rate!

It is good the new laws require them to disclose, if you paid a minimum payment, how long & how much it would take you pay it off. That is a real eye opener. Financial Guru's advise always pay more than minimum payment to get out of debt sooner. 

You know how banks are always sending updates on Terms & Conditions of their credit cards- Lots of fine print & banking legal terms, I was glancing over a Bank of America letter & it included this little gem:

"As a reminder, for your security, safeguards against illegal transactions are in place:

Transactions in countries that are subject to certain economic sanctions or other restrictive measures (such as Iran and Sudan) will be blocked. Additional information and a full list of countries can be found here."

That page has DOS like pages with names of people & companies the Government is watching or prohibiting from doing transactions abroad. So much for privacy!
Think of it as a "No Fly" list for financial transactions put together by a combo of the US Treasury & the CIA. 

It figures such a program contains this familiar name:

    I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks in 
New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon committed on September 11, 2001, acts recognized and condemned in UNSCR 1368 of September 12, 2001.......

So we have a 116 page document of the list of names & companies on this banned financial watchlist, I really don't appreciate my credit card company telling me I can't make a purchase in any country if I want to. 

Not that I do much in the way of international transactions, but theoretically I could get a Visa and travel to a sanctioned country. Why should my bank be telling me where I can use my credit card?

What if there were some emergency & we had to land in a banned/sanctioned country because of engine trouble, for instance?
My credit card would not work there?
What if I had relatives there that I visit?
What if I needed medical care while in any of the banned countries?

I can understand if there are major and or questionable transactions involving large sums of money, such scrutiny may be justified, but for my bank to tell me "for my security" transactions will be blocked is not acceptable, you know, land of the free & all that. 

Oh and they removed the Arbitration option (again, not that I ever had to arbitrate).  They can require immediate payment, and they can require the cardholder to pay the costs incurred in any collection proceeding, as well as reasonable attorney fees if they refer my Account for collection to an attorney who is not B of A's salaried employee. 

Looks like the Bank of America is devising a little internal bailout of their own, although how successful will they be, loading up collections costs & legal fees on a deadbeat credit card holders?

Well, at least they are upholding George Bush's financial mandates.  We all know everything with his name on it, has been a huge success failure. 

Personally, I would think it would have been smarter to let those on a watchlist to let the money freely flow, so they can quietly monitor it. Usually these covert actions can be followed by money trails. 
Instead, every person will be shut down from doing any transactions, even if they have never done international transactions on any given credit card. 

Bush's legacy lives on.

Well, we can rest easy knowing the mega banks are too big to fail!


nonnie9999 said...

when the bank i was with (which, by the way, i used to work for) was bought up by b of a, i immediately closed all my accounts and moved them to another bank. that was years and years ago. one thing they were doing that pissed me off was that they refused to allow their tellers to sit down while they were working. they did that so older workers who had been there for many years would have to quit, and the branches could hire new people at lower wages.

as for credit cards, i used to work in the industry (for processors, i investigated merchants who accepted credit cards), and you would not believe some of what goes on. there is so much fraud, and i would bet that a lot of the money goes to terrorist organizations. you don't have to go do the sudan to fund the bad guys.

Dada said...

fraud and corruption only occur in those slimy little Third World nations like Mexico. That's what I grew up believing. Now I know differently. We here in the U.S. are just far, far better (subtler -- well, we were until "lately") at concealing it. Just look at Washington, D.C. and their corporate masters, the revolving door between 'em.

Besides all the BP lies, defiance of the gov't (re the spraying of chemical disperants, liability skirting, etc.) they want to choose the judge in Houston who will oversee their impending legal liability cases (which are multiple!).

I'm so glad to learn I'll be able to "suggest" the judge overseeing the extent of my asses' liabilities and legalities when my trial comes up.

Oh wait, I'm not an efe-ing corporation, I forgot. Viva Obama, Bush II, Clinton I (whom I used to call our best republican president ever, but now I'm not so sure since Obama), Bush I and Reagan I (One and only -- Thank God!!!) Which takes us back to the worst prez in recent U.S. history -- Jimmy Carter! Ah, "Yeh," Hahahaaa!!).

Fran said...

nonnie~ So that was their game -- get rid of those old employees (who know what they are doing) to hire newbies & pay them less.
Not letting people use credit cards, simply forces them to find more creative ways.

Dada~ How about BP telling us what judge/court/place/venue they want to have hearings in!
Put them all over in each & every different state & county their gooey oil taints.
Oh it's inconvenient for BP? Let's just say that "inconvenience ship" has sailed.

Meanwhile Bank of America can step in & help those Gulf Coast folks out with 24% apr variable rate credit cards, while they wait and see if they really were telling the truth about reimbursing everyone who lost income due to their complete failure to know how to deal with a well thats "never been done before in water this deep".....

What next-- will they be selling the 100 ton containment box & spent oil rig on E-bay?
The catch is you have to pick it up 5000 feet below sea level... in a place it's never been done before. Hmmmm maybe the bank of america will front a loan for that???