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November 13, 2006

Chase Credit Cards: How to Avoid 32.24% Interest*

Filed under: Finance — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:03 am

Chase change in termsDo you ignore those fine print notices that credit card issuers send out from time to time?  They are often accompanied by a letter that says there will be a “change in terms,” but it leaves the details to the fine print enclosure.

“Change in terms” is bank speak for a price increase or change that is not in your financial best interest. If they were lowering your rates or easing any terms, they would boast about that in the letter.

Many [but not all] Chase credit cardholders just received an “IMPORTANT NOTICE OF CHANGE IN TERMS AND RIGHT TO OPT OUT” in the mail. For those who did not take the time to read it, here is the bad news and the good news:

*MOUSE PRINT: Your default interest rate is going up to 32.24%. But… you don’t have to pay it if you send them a letter by November 23 opting out of the change.

[The default interest rate refers to the penalty APR that will be used to calculate your finance charges if you pay late, are delinquent, or speak ill of the credit card company to your friends.] 

This notice is unlike similar notices in that your account will not be closed if you reject the changes. But like similar notices, they don’t tell you what the current terms are, so you can’t compare old with new.

It does appear, however, that in additional to raising the default interest rate, they are adding terms of when the default rate will be triggered. (For example, a default late in the month will be treated as if you defaulted on the first day of the billing period.)

Another change that is not obvious because the prior terms are not restated is the apparent lifting of the cap on balance transfer fees. In the past, on some Chase cards, the maximum fee  you could be charged was $75. Soon it will be unlimited.

Since most people have ignored this notice, they don’t realize the once in a blue moon opportunity they have been given to opt out of certain of the new provisions (APRs and default rules). Their silence will constitute acceptance of these terms, including the new 32.24% default interest rate. All that because they didn’t take the time to read the mouse print.

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74 Comments

  1. I too hate Chase They are killing me with high rate what can I do
    I have 2 perssonal accounts and 2 business Can not find anyone to tlk to at chase —-I have good credit but just can not pay off the balance right now —should I close? Need help

    Comment by Mona — May 7, 2007 @ 5:12 pm
  2. Folks, I just got off the phone with Chase on the same issue. Basically what Chase is doing is taking advantage of people on the edge by pushing them over with these unfair rates. Benificial has lowerr rates than these guys. I canceled my card. I will never do business with Chase ever for any reason….not even use an atm they own. I opted out and they still are charging me these rates.

    Comment by Netchiefst — May 11, 2007 @ 3:39 pm
  3. Regarding change-in-terms opt-out letters: An interesting situation occurs when a supposedly upright company (for example, Amazon) puts its name on a card (Chase) and thereby becomes associated with the ultra-sleazy practice of putting the burden upon the consumer to opt out or else. Especially hypocritical in the case of Amazon, which bills itself as “earth’s most customer-centric company” (or DID bill itself; I just went to check, and that claim appears to have disappeared off the Amazon.com Help page, http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html; that’s where I remember seeing it, but perhaps it’s somewhere else on the site).

    When I complained to Amazon (lotta good that would do), I was told that Amazon had contacted Chase to inquire about whether in fact Chase does the change-in-terms opt-out thing, and Chase denied that they do. But of course Chase does. I myself received a change-in-terms opt-out notice on my Amazon/Chase card back in November and had a long and pleasant conversation with a Chase supervisor (“Debbie”) who cheerfully admitted that Chase is guilty of the practice.

    Boo hiss Amazon!!

    Comment by richard abrams — May 22, 2007 @ 11:13 am
  4. I was recently the victim of the same Chase Credit Cart. My interest rate went up from 7.8% to 29.99%, based on a fact that I was late with my payment for 3 days. I contact them and the Chase customer service person told that it is in my agreement. I believe it probably was, but on my opinion this is just a legal games. This legal statement probably was written by corp. lawyers and such. But in reality it gives write to a credit company to do what they want with people. I think it is not legal issue rather than political. And it has to be some type of law witch will protect people from credit cart abuse and limit there power. Any idea how to start approaching that issue with US Government Organizations?

    Comment by Marianna — May 30, 2007 @ 6:04 pm
  5. I’d like to know who actually did not get this rate increase. Seems as if Chase is gouging the middle class to increase profits. Maybe we could orgainize a grassroot effort to picket the Chase banks in our cities around the country. I’m closing my chase card and checking account. This is the only credit card company that has pulled this scam. I have never paid a bill late they told me that I had used a good percentage of my available credit. If i close the card now will they rate freeze at the 28.9%?? I say we get the info out via e mail and word of mouth. Chase is attmpting to bankrupt the middle class. Are we going to stand for this??????

    Comment by Rich — June 14, 2007 @ 12:21 pm
  6. The more I think about why would any goverment entity help the middle class in this matter. All the “fat cats” are benefiting from this arrangement. Remember the rich look out for the rich. Do you think a poor guy passed the legislation that allows the credit card companies to gouge the peole that utilize credit. Unless, we the consumers can have an impact on the creators of the legislation which is very difficult b/c we are not professional lobbyist with deep pockets. We will continue to get screwed in this unbalanced economy because as the economy continues to drop into the toilet more people will begin to depend on credit to survive and for those people it will be a quick end. Chase has taken the first step to drive a stake into the heart of the middle class. Thanks Chase and your local politicians who by the way get a raise every year ( around 20%) Lets boycott Chase and picket….who is with me!!!!

    Comment by Rich — June 14, 2007 @ 3:30 pm
  7. Wow! I missed a payment 1 day late, and my BP card went to I dont rem…18%. Then I missed a payment on my other chase card in may…went from 0 to 29.99… I figured my credit must be bad, but I got 3 new cards approved today and I am transfering to them. Chase is a total joke. NEVER have a EVER missed 2 payments in a row, or for more then 30 days ever!!! On ANY loan, and less then 30 days, they dont report…yet chase told me my performance was poor, and a few hours after I cancelled my card, I asked if they would just reopen the accounts, and he said my credit performance was poor. I said oh really? That means I have been missing payments, yet, less then 30 days late on only 1 payment is never generally reported to the credit burors. what a joke. BTW, Chase has banks EVERYWHERE here in chicagoland, and guess what, there always empty. I think there screwed now. Where NEVER going back, theres no question about it! DONT YOU DARE GO BACK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NEVER FORGET for example of the way other banks treat you…citibank, I told them what happend, btw, I forgot to pay my citi card that month too ( I lost ALL my mail that month-long story) Citi hit me with the late pay default rate too, but did lower my rate to 12% from 26% and preserved one of my low rate 3.99 tier rate promo, AND offered to transfer my 2800 from chase for 6.99 for 1 year, AND wave the bal trans fee!!! Talk about day and night!!!

    Comment by J Addison — June 15, 2007 @ 4:02 am
  8. do you know why Chase and allthe large banks are based out os Deleware……the anser is shocking…..Delewar has the most leinient banking laws in the world….manly to make their own pockets fat:::..also the default apr cannot go higher than 29.99%……the real question you need yto ask is what and how do the calculate Effective Anual Presentage reates….don’t know what that is….then canel all your card and stop trying to support you life on credit…..mony is only good when you have it.

    Comment by Troy — June 19, 2007 @ 6:16 pm
  9. Also the terms and conditions really mean the can do what they want and when they want to…….stop complaining about Chase and read the fine print…..o yeah pre=aproved dosen’t mean anything……look up the word ..it mean BEFORE aproval..not hey alpy and get 10.000.00 like the paper indicates…stop the debit America is is up to you

    Comment by Troy — June 19, 2007 @ 6:18 pm
  10. I work for Chase Credit cards. What people comment about how Chase is ripping them off is not the entirly the whole story. Remeber there is two sides to every story. Beofre an APR is raised due to something being reported to the credit reports, we do provide the card memeber a letter 60 days in advance (we are only required 45 days by law)letting the card memeber know the reason why we are raising the APR and they have the option to close the account down at that time to preserve the APR or except the change in terms. Most card memebers either choose to ingnore the letter or they just forget to call and just say they never got a letter. The only time we don’t send a letter is when the cusotmer is late and that is due ot the fact that is stated in the card member agreement that if a payment comes in late then we reserved the right to raise the APR. Again customers want a credit vcard so bad that they dfon’t ever read the terms of agreement before signing their name. Another thing not recieving a statement, being on vacation, or someone else was to pay the bill is no excuse for not making a payment on time. We do not have to waive fees we do that as a courtesy. The last thing I have to say is when you call you credit card companies or any company you do business with NEVER treat them with disrespect by yelling at them, demanding things, or threating them! They are only their to help you. They do not make the rules. Remeber the old saying “You catch more Bees with honey than you do with salt!”

    Comment by John T — July 18, 2007 @ 10:02 am
  11. Why do you blame the credit card company when for the most part it’s your fault that something has happened. Chase or any other company is NOT going to raise your APR, decrease your credit limit or any other account affecting issue. A credit card is nothing other than a LOAN, so when you lend money, you expect to be repaid, correct?? Yes, that is the same with a credit card company. when you run up a 5k balance and then stop making your payments on time because you had a bbq or because vacation and then call and act like it’s not your fault thats just ridiculous. Your an adult start acting like it and grow up. your big enough to charge it, your big enough to stay on top of your due date, APR and credit bureau reports.

    Comment by Kyle A — July 20, 2007 @ 11:18 pm
  12. I read most of the complains, and my story no different from the rest of the group. Two time’s late payment my interest rate went from 7.5% to 29.99%. Nobody send me any letters or informed me of any interest rate changes. The nice lady who working for the Chase Bank sad that they send letter to you 60 days in advance, but I did not received one, so as majority of the people who complained. It is feels horrible to become victim of abuse. You literally become prisoners of the Chase Bank. (Funny that they make Chase TV Commercials with Tag Line Chase Freedom).
    The question is where to find protection from Chase Credit Card ABUSE… It has to be some type of LAW, which prevents them to raised interest rate. They invite us to use there low interest rate and with a fist chance increasing it to 29.99% that the way they increase their revenue by skimming American People.
    Whom to write to find a legal protection from the Credit Card Companies? In addition, create a new Law which will limited there terrorist activities.

    Comment by Marianna — July 21, 2007 @ 2:41 am
  13. Yes…..the old story…we sent you the notice your interest rate would double…yeah right!! Never received a thing. I certainly would have a heart attack knowing my interest rate would double! I called AAA Bank of America which is my credit card.
    They told me different stories. I might add….I have never been late on any credit card or car payment..or anything. But…their second story was….well…we just rounded it out…averaged to what other banks are charging..that is how we came up with 24.99%. Keep in mind my previous interest was 12.29%. None of my other credit cards (3) are high. Hmmmm. How can you prove that they DID NOT send you out a notice.
    YOU CAN”T!! Your are now at BANK OF AMERICAS MERCY!!!!!That is BS!!So..now I just called and closed my account…and I will pay it off today!! BANK OF AMERICA….SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am going to take my money out of your bank…all of it!!
    You cannot treat people like were idiots!! Debbie in Portland Oregon.

    Comment by debbie — August 23, 2007 @ 7:12 pm
  14. This reply is for John T.(Chase Employee) July 18 post….

    First, John, you are probably correct that most people that claimed not to receive
    letter stating the increase in APR, in fact, probably did receive it and neglected to read and/or call
    to not accept the change. However, if a person claims they did not get the letter then
    that person should get the benefit of the doubt unless Chase can prove it was received.
    I know Chase cannot prove that anyone received them becuase they are sent regular mail
    without Certified Return Receipt (which is what a court will want to prove a customer received it.
    Chase should have granted those customers that claimed not to receive the letter
    30-45 more days to decline the changes on their account.
    What if all the Chase customers said they sent you letters stating they declined the change
    and you stated you never received it and there was no proof?
    Or, what if you just sent in letters stating that our new rate will be 0 percent unless
    you respond to decline? I don’t think Chase would respond nor change the rate to 0.

    Second, when I called to inquire as to why my rate was being raised it was claimed by the
    Chase rep on the phone that my credit was worse. This was not true. I had not missed or
    been late with any payment to them in over 2 years and I keep up with my credit score and
    over the 3 years prior to the raise in interest my credit had done nothing but get better.

    Chase was just abusing its power and hold over most customers since most could not pay
    off their cards nor transfer to another card company/loan like I could.

    Because of all this, I no longer will do business with Chase in any way. In fact, I was going to
    apply for a Southwest Airlines credit card which would give me enough points to earn a free
    flight but once I found out the card was backed by Chase I tore it up and all the others they
    send me each month.

    John, you are right “you catch more Bees with honey than with salt”. Remember that when
    dealing with your “customers”. Even though many of the tactics used by Chase are currently
    legal does not make them right and in the long run it will drive customers to use other
    companies.

    And, this posting is just a few of the people that have had this happen.
    Do an internet search and you will quickly find many other complaints regarding this same
    tactic be pulled by Chase.

    Comment by Shawn F. — October 1, 2007 @ 9:53 am
  15. MY RATE ON MY CHASE CARD JUMPED TO 29.99% AND I STILL GET OFFERS FROM THEM FOR BALANCE TRANSFERS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN LATE ON ANY PAYMENTS. WHAT HAPPENS IS SENATE BILL S1309 OR HOUSE BILL S1395IS PASSES. WILL THE CREDIT COMPANYS HAVE TO REIMBURSE FOR ALL THE TIME THEY CHARGED INCREASED RATES ON PURCHASES PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED BEFORE THE INCREASE DAY?? WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU JUST REFUSE TO PAY THEM??? I THOUGH ABOUT IT MANY TIMES. IT IS UNSECURED DABT….. WHAT ARE THE REPROCUSSIONS???

    Comment by MR. BPF — February 5, 2008 @ 5:58 pm
  16. It has been 8 months since the last posting was added to this thread, but the Chase scam remains. Yesterday I got the same “Change In Terms” letter, raising the rate on my United card to 29.99% without any reason. They had done this to my Continental card a year ago, and now they targeted my other card. I didn’t even call them to know why, once I know I’d just hear bs. I NEVER missed a payment, either to Chase on anyone else, all my accounts are in a good standing, and my credit rating has been stable for a long period. Not the best of the world, but not the worst, either. Even so, I became another Chase target, and got ripped off. I agree with nearly everybody in this thread, it’s really a scam. Well, this will come at a cost to them. I work with Chase since 1998, and I had all types of accounts, including car loans, home equity loans, savings, checking, for me and my whole family. I’ll transfer everything to another bank, probably Citybank, and I’ll gladly become one more client lost by Chase. It’s unbeliavable how they keep doing this year after year, and nothing happens to them…

    Comment by Prokton — October 24, 2008 @ 5:30 pm
  17. I have posted a letter to Gordon Smith, the CEO of Chase Card Services, to a Website that I have been working on feverishly in response to a “change in terms” notice raising minimum payments from 2% to 5% of the balance (and adding a $10/month “finance charge”) to a site I have been working on as a form of protest, ChangeinTerms.com. See the “About” page.

    The actions by Chase described in my letter will most certainly put me, my family, and thousands of others in harm’s way financially as of January 2009.

    This is the first year in my married life when I have not given my wife at least a token gift over the holidays (and we have never been extravagant – even in “good years,” our gift-giving limit has been a few hundred dollars); hence, Chase Card Services is truly, the “Grinch That Stole Christmas,” as far as we are concerned.

    Comment by Dr Robert Lahm — December 26, 2008 @ 12:49 pm
  18. I recieved a call from chase saying that I am past due 7 days. I called told them that I didnot recieve a bill. I have 5 chase cards and never missed a payment for the last 3- 4 years. But the lady didnot want to help or listen to my situation and so I cancelled all my credit cards from chase. For few dollars in late fees and interest she lost my account. I was planning to finance my house thru chase but not any more. I have excellent credit and with a good job

    Comment by N. Pandula — January 9, 2009 @ 1:16 pm
  19. I recently read the small print on my Macy’s card bill which said the annual % rate on the revolving amount was about 200%. We never go beyond 30 days (which is actually about 21 days), but I wonder how many people read the fine print?

    Comment by Norma — January 10, 2009 @ 9:46 am
  20. whats to stop my bank that my house mortgage is with from raising my 30yr fixed interest rate because “of market conditions” or because they just feel like it…

    Comment by Chris — January 27, 2009 @ 7:35 pm
  21. i recently recieved a change of term on my chase card stating that my prime for life card would now be considered a prime plus 3.99% which i don’t know if it is legal due to the fact that this was originally a wachovia acct bought out by chase. years ago the notice claims the reason is to make my acct a more profitible acct. does anyone know if they can change the terms being that my original contract was with wachovia.let me know thank you.

    Comment by annmarie — February 18, 2009 @ 12:08 am
  22. I just got dupped this month of March, from 9.99% to 14.99%… Should I feel lucky? that it’s not 32%. I just called Chase and same story, an orange and white letter was supposedly sent in January and I was suppose to reply by February 7th, I got a whole month to call them to close my account. Credit Card company wins again! and Again! and AGAIN!

    Comment by Dereck — March 30, 2009 @ 8:45 pm
  23. I just found out my parents who has never had a late payment ever in their life was two days
    of paying due to the fact my father was sent to the hospital & we thought we were going to loose
    him so my mother stayed overnights at the hospital, & my brother & I would take turns driving home
    to get whatever my mother needed, long story short, our only concern was for our father to recover.
    so everything else was secondary. So after all was done when my mother who is in her 70s returned
    home was two days late & noticed that the rate increased, so she tried calling & everyone kept hanging
    up on her & that was that. I did not believe story, so I myself tired to get this resolved & they
    hung up on my four diffrent times within 45 min. They made so much money off of my parents in their
    late 70s..& still tried to make more money during a life & death situation and only two days late with
    never being late ever in a liftime..I could not believe this could happen in USA, I who really does not
    cry left with tears that they could do something this tragic to my elderly parents.

    Comment by wendy — July 10, 2009 @ 11:27 pm
  24. dont ever do business with chase,i never will again,went over limit my new rate is 32.99 percent,what a scam,for a $300.00 payment they charge $200.00 in intrest.chase is … greedy …. [post edited]

    Comment by lon neal — August 20, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

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