politics, random

How Human readable Contracts will Destroy Innovative Credit Card Companies

I found this in a CNN article “A push to simplify credit card ‘gobbledygook’” referring to the push for the government to force credit card companies to simplify contracts so that are human readable.

But the industry is fighting the reforms. The American Bankers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argue that they’ll stifle innovation and limit consumer choice.

I wasn’t aware that there was an innovation among the credit card companies. Unless “innovation” means new sneaky ways to bilk people out of money.

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Three Reasons Capital One Sucks

Since my first job, I’ve practiced the art of living within my means. This means I own only one credit card, which I pay off in full each month. I do this so that I can maintain good credit if/when I would like a big loan, for example, to buy a house.

I had a Discover card for years, but cancelled it after finding out the hard way that the single-use “safe” internet credit card number system they had was neither single-use nor safe.

Capital One seemed to have a decent set of rewards and easy online use, so I went with them. For a few years I was happy, or satisfied, anyway. How quickly things can change though!

A Minor Annoyance
On more than one occasion their website has been completely unavailable during normal business hours. We aren’t talking unavailable for ten minutes, we are talking anywhere between five hours to a day. In today’s web dependent world that is inexcusable.

Rate Jacking
My credit is excellent. I keep a strict budget and pay things off. My one loan, a student loan, is paid on time each month. Until some recent mix-ups (see below) I’d never missed a payment with Capital One. But my rate recently got hiked up to 24%. If I didn’t pay these goons in full every month I’d be screwed in a big way.

The Main Reason Capital One Sucks
The biggest reason Capital One sucks is because they appealed to my desire to be environmentally friendly and go with paperless statements. I love the idea of paperless statements (which saves Capital One tons of money), but I made the mistake of depending on Capital One to email me when the statements were ready. It was a month and a half before I realized I hadn’t seen an email alerting me to a statement. Nothing had changed on my end, same old email, all I’d done on their website was login and pay my bills. A few emails back and forth and I got my exorbitant late fee removed. Everything was good-ish until the same thing happened again this month. I have yet to hear back about the removal of my late fee, but I anticipate it will be removed. The most annoying and suspicious thing about this, besides the hassle (ironically my credit card is billed as a no-hassled card), is that while they have be unable to reliably alert me of waiting statements they have been able to send me unsolicited emails offering auto and home loans almost weekly.

If I do keep my account with them you’ll be sure I’ll set up my own alert system. I obviously should have after the first incident, but I’m a glutton for punishment and a tend to be a bit lazy about these sorts of things. Lesson learned. But I’m more likely to cancel than keep the account at this point. Credit card companies are in need of reliable customers and I feel confident that I can take my ball back and go to a company that keeps their heads far from their asses.

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