CARD: Credit Card Accountability
The economy is... well, do I even need to finish that sentence? It sucks! We have seen clients (all nonprofits, mind you) have to close their doors after decades of service. We at Antharia have had to cut back, and are counting every penny. It is amazing how bad things have gotten. And with an earthquake and the need for global fundraising, and well, what are we left with?
Today I opened a piece of "blanket mail" which I rarely ever do. Blanket mail is that which is sent from your bank or credit card company or any other kind of vendor. You know, it is not a bill, it is not anything you really have to read. It's often some tiny print on the change of service, or change in interest rates. But oddly, I opened this one and to my surprise, I was HAPPY to find what was inside.
Some of you may recall in early 2009 we had a banking disaster trying to move our mortgage from BB&T Bank to SunTrust. A nightmare to the extreme. We had ideal credit, I even had great personal credit. The kind of credit that walks into a place and gets 0% financing on most anything, and I loved my Plat. American Express Card. Well, times change. In moving from BB&T to SunTrust, there were banking glitches in making payments, not only to Antharia's creditors, but to my own, and well, the end result is that here we sit in early 2010 a mere year later, and I am fearful to look at either credit report. I am sure most of us are.
The short of it is... SunTrust made a mistake in setting up our banking account. When all the echecks and direct payments to our credit card companies and vendors were cut between January to March of 2009, they all bounced. So what did the credit card companies do in addition to charging late fees? They raised the APR. What was 3-9% went to a whoping 29%. Shocking, isn't it?
Now the nice thing is, SunTrust took responsibility and wrote letters to the creditors and I would say 75% of them reversed everything. But what about the 25% that didn't. Well, it has been a rough year is all I will say. But where am I going with this?
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act signed by Obama on May 22, 2009 has finally made its way into the thick skulls of creditors alike and I have finally gotten a letter from one of our creditors. What I want to share with you is not rocket science or great information you could not find out somewhere else. Instead it is just some short facts about CARD:
- Your rate for existing balances can no longer be raised for being a few days late with your payment. Yes, they can still charge you the late fee.
- You have to be 60 days late (starting Feb 13, 2010) for the credit card company to raise your rate.
- This one is good! Any amount you now send in above the minimum due will used to pay down the balance on your account that carries the highest Annual Percentage Rate.
While none of this will help me go back in time and change what happened, or fix the 2009 year for Antharia or even myself as a small business owner, (as you know, I used my personal credit cards to pay for things around here, come on, it is a small business owner's plight) it does give me some small beacon of hope that things MAY just improve. It also does really, honestly, seem to put some accountability on the credit card companies. If you want to learn more, you can, of course, search the web, but here is the White House Presss Release.-- Jordan Dossett Tags: Credit Card
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