This Is Why Banks Are in Trouble

I’m currently at war with one of my credit card companies. A few months ago, they decided to jack up my interest rate from a reasonable 7.9% to a just-this-side-of-outrageous 19.9%. Since my payments are withdrawn automatically, I didn’t know anything about the switch until I got a special note telling me my payment was late. Hmm. So I check the statement, and sure enough, I’m apparently “late” because my payment–which was safely larger than what the 7.9% rate required–wasn’t quite enough to fit my more-than-doubled new rate.

Of course, now the bank decides that my payments–which are withdrawn early, mind you–are late because they don’t meet the new minimum. So now I get whacked the $39 late charge. And since I have a couple of late charges, they jack my rate up again to 27.99%. Apparently no one in the banking business has a working definition of “usury,” but there you have it.

I call them and ask for a rate reduction because of my solid payment record. No dice. Now I have to show financial hardship. Well, geniuses, I didn’t have financial hardship until you decided to start charging me nearly four times my original interest rate!! So now you have less money coming in, I have more headaches, and now the bank’s decided the way to ensure my customer loyalty is to turn over the late charges and such to a collection agency.

Way to install confidence there, American banking system. When I finish paying this card off (since I am honorable, even though late, and won’t declare bankruptcy and stick it to you as you so richly deserve), it’ll be a cold day in hell before any of my money works its way through your doors. Not that they’d be my bank of choice anyway, considering that a chunk of my tax dollars have paid for custom-loomed rugs and antique breakfronts and ginormous bonuses to a bunch of executives who have basically run the company into the ground and all. But there you have it. Tank the economy, get a bonus and a bailout. Teach kids in the inner city, try to pay your bills, and buy school supplies and Kleenex and whatnot out of pocket with the raise and step I didn’t get, and worry about whether we’ll be employed next year–since schoolkids don’t fundraise or donate to political campaigns. Go figure.

Yep, that makes sense.

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