Friday, December 19, 2008

Win the Credit APR War

I just got off of the phone with Citibank, the issuer of my Citi Dividend MasterCard. For years this has been my go to (non American Express) card. Most of the benefit comes from the 1-5% cash back. It was nice getting a check with every $50 in savings. Last week I received a letter stating that my 8.99% APR was about to go to 15.99%. Now a little background, credit card companies don't like me because I always pay off balances. However, in the event that something happens, I want to have the best rate possible. Note that nothing much in my credit has changed in recent years, which was validated when I spoke to the cust. service rep who said the card in general was going to a 1 yr only intro rate of 8.99. This new policy is almost DOUBLE the earlier rate.

Everyone, and I mean everyone should choose to OPT-OUT. Why is this? Because EVERYONE who doesn't is going to almost IMMEDIATELY get the increased rate. But by opting out, they have locked in my 8.99% rate for the remaining time on my card. At this point, my card doesn't expire until 01/2010. I have a WHOLE YEAR to go find a better rewards card. Hell, by that point Citi might have a new option available to me.

Lets see, I could have done even better. If this happened to you, you have until Jan 31, 2009 to opt-out of the citi rate increase. FIRST, call customer service and tell them you accidentally mutilated your card (maybe thinking of how much you hate credit card companies). Usually, credit card companies issue cards for 3 years. This should move out your expiration date. When you get your card, call in and then opt out. You'll be locked in until your card expires.

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