When one applies to a credit card company, they willingly give out all of their personal information in good faith that the company is honest and responsible. Upon receiving a credit card, there are many who will responsibly use it to pay bills or other expenses, trusting that the credit card company will in turn treat them with dignity and integrity. The sad truth is that these companies are constantly looking for new ways to make money off of unsuspecting, vulnerable customers. Through the stealthy use of hidden charges, rules, and fees a credit card company will do anything and everything possible to squeeze every last dollar out of a customer. However, by becoming aware of the many common, sneaky tactics that these companies use, one can become more protected from the dishonest actions of a credit card company.
Changing Due Dates
Many companies will change the due date on a credit card payment every single month, in hopes that through the confusion and chaos the customer will miss a payment. Since the dawn of online banking and automatic payment systems, this sneaky tactic has become much more common, and can really mess someone up when they can not seem to create a consistent budget. They love nothing more than to tack on late charges, and by changing payment dates every month, this opportunity is more possible.
Selling Fraud Protection
This is a highly unnecessary service that credit card companies will try to sell, because every basic credit card agreement already involves fraud protection. They might try to convince someone that by purchasing fraud protection, they are getting stronger protection and better service than initially, however customers are never liable for over $50 of a fraudulent transaction. Simply put, this service is just another way for them to make money.
Raising Interest Rates Unexpectedly
In most credit card’s terms of service, this is a completely lawful and acceptable method that they can use to make more money. They can raise the interest rates at any given time, and are especially obliged to do so if one’s balance is considerably high, or if their credit score is lowered. They have full access to a customer’s credit report, and can research personal information such as housing, other credit cards used, and other loans. If they discover that a customer is behind on payments with another company, they will see this as a great opportunity to raise interest rates. Credit card companies will do everything in their power to generate extra income.
Lowering the Credit Limit
This is another dirty, sneaky trick that credit card companies will implement, and can actually negatively impact a customer’s credit score by making their card appeared to be maxed out. Credit limits are unfortunately not permanent, and companies can really put a customer in a money draining loop by lowering the credit limit beneath their account balance, in turn triggering overdraft fees, resulting in a lowered credit score and finally raising the interest rates. This dirty tactic can really trap a customer, and greatly hurt their credit.
One must be extremely careful when using their credit card, because just one late payment or overcharge can result in an avalanche of cascading penalties. The bank could have lowered a customer’s limit, resulting in overcharge, however that does not stop them from charging fees and penalties for every month that is over. By cleverly implementing this strategy, a credit card company can make considerably more money from a customer through raising interest rates and affecting their account in multiple ways, even after one simple mistake from the customer.
It is extremely important to keep all documents and agreements from credit card companies, and especially read the fine print because this is where they trick the customer. They are also required to notify customers when there is a change in service, and if they do not then they are breaking the law. One can always dispute a change in service by calling the customer service hotline and explaining the issue. Remember that the credit card companies want to keep their customers, and will actually negotiate with a customer if they call and address their concern. Always research a credit card before making a decision to get one, and become well familiarized with the sneaky tactics they could use. When one takes this information into consideration, they can protect their credit and themselves from dishonest companies.