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Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Keith, Jul 21, 2000.
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"Do credit card companies offer a great rate on a card, and then monitor credit report changes on a daily/monthly/quarterly basis so that they may hike the rate? "
You better believe it.
If you so much as have one 30-day late with any other creditor or debt to credit ratio becomes too high these thieves will jack up your rate. Also if something brings down your credit score below a cutoff point they'll hike it up as well while usually giving you a phony reason since otherwise they would be liable since they know that NOWHERE in your credit terms and regulations does it state that a drop in credit score gives them the right to raise your rate. Incredibly there are some shyster companies who raise your APR if you so much as take too many (2+) cash advances on your card. Worst of all are those companies that finding nothing and no legal means to justify raising the rates do so anyways in what is little more than a pre-mediated criminal act. The worst abuser of this is First USA, but Fleet is also a big abuser.
Then there's those companies that run what is little more than a "bait and switch" scam wherein they'll offer you a great introductory rate and balance transfer rate for switching and try to entice you to transfer as much as possible and then once doing so nail you with a HUGE INCREASE in APR claiming that your amount of credit vs your credit limit ratio is too high. Most notorious for running this scam are Providian and First USA.
When you apply for a card, you agree that the company can check your credit report from time to time. If the company decides that you are a higher risk, the interest rate can be increased. Some companies use credit monitoring as a pretext to raise rates. This happened to me once and I got the company to restore the old rate by threatening to close my account.
I have only used my credit for cash advances and/or balance transfers. I have never had my credit rate increased for using it. Of course, I only use my credit when a teaser rate or special offer comes along. The moment the special offer expires, I use one of my many lines to pay the balance and wait for another offer.
Deal from strength, exercise your credit.
Stephen, you're right, the cardholder agreement does not state "We will raise your apr if you're credit score drops." It does state "We reserve the right to change your terms at any time." Some companies also give notification of possible apr changes with the application itself, (ex- "You must keep other lines of credit in good standing" or "You must maintain outstanding performance with the credit bureaus." I am not defending the practice, because I don't believe it is appropriate for all customers, I'm just stating that you are notified ahead of time.