Consumer alert: sneaky credit card rate hikes

It would seem the eternal battle to screw the little guy by the big banks is going full steam. About to face new regulations that require them to allow you to pay off higher interest rate amounts first, they are sending notices that they are going to jump your rates on outstanding balances. I’ve seen some as high as 24.99% (thanks Sears, I can go to Best Buy).

You will get a notice asking if you want to accept the new rate- you can call and decline, when they will inform you that they will close the account (good). You are then locked in at the lower rate. If enough people do this, they’ll soon be scrambling to open new accounts again and offering deals. In the meantime, you’ve stopped them from changing your rate from hard to pay off to impossible to pay off.

Of course, Congress will play stupid on this for a while, as more people default, go into foreclosure etc. The only solution will be when the Fed decides to step in and force the banks that have accepted huge bailouts to be held accountable for their role in creating this cluster duck.

In the meantime, read all communications from banks very carefully. You’ve been warned.

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