Credit Card Industry Debt Articles

Credit Card Horror Stories: Tales of Credit Limit Reductions and Account Closures

Bankrate.com did a story on Friday (sorry for not getting to this earlier) highlighting some of the same stuff that I’ve been pointing out here for weeks. More and more customers are experiencing credit-limit reductions and account closures. Over the course of the past few weeks, Bankrate.com readers have been chiming in with their own credit-card tales. Many of their stories will seem familiar.

90 percent reduction
I received a Macy’s Visa back in 2005 that I didn’t even recall applying for. The credit limit was $5,000. Nevertheless, I didn’t use it until this year. I had planned a trip to Disney in Florida and wanted to use it then. I called to activate it and found out that my limit was reduced to $500. How drastic was that?!
— Patricia S.

Bruised credit scores
I am 49 years old and have been employed since 1993, when I graduated from law school. My wife and I have lived in the same home since 2000. Neither my wife nor I have any late payments on any obligation we have had over the last 10 years or more. We do, however, have a good deal of credit card debt, very nearly all of it at 4.99 percent interest or less. Our annual household income is over $90,000 and our total monthly debt payments, including my student loans, our credit cards and our mortgage, is about $2,400. My wife’s credit score was about 720 and mine about 690.

A few months ago, Bank of America advised rather abruptly that it was cutting our cards’ credit lines by a total of about $30,000. This increased our credit utilization ratio rather dramatically, and it has begun affecting our credit scores. My wife’s score has dropped by more than 50 points and mine by an even greater amount. In turn, I believe other credit issuers will begin cutting our credit limits. We just received notice from American Express, for example, that my wife’s card limit through them will be cut by over $5,000. No doubt actions such as this will further depress our credit scores.

As a consequence of their actions, my wife and I are seriously considering severing our relationships with Bank of America and American Express. Although this sounds like the proverbial cutting off of one’s nose to spite one’s face, I don’t know what else to do to express my displeasure with these companies other than discontinuing their opportunities to profit from my patronage.
— Doug H.

Bankrate.com did a story on Friday (sorry for not getting to this earlier) highlighting some of the same stuff that I’ve been pointing out here for weeks. More and more customers are experiencing credit-limit reductions and account closures. Over the course of the past few weeks, Bankrate.com readers have been chiming in with their own credit-card tales. Many of their stories will seem familiar.

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Read the rest here: Credit Card Horror Stories: Tales of Credit Limit Reductions and Account Closures




About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

13 Comments

  • CITI card has sent a letter stating that they are closing a card with a $15,000 credit limit because we don’t charge on it. We stopped using it to keep our debt under control and now we;re being penalized which will impact our FICO.

    • Lynn,

      Yes it does impact your FICO score. But at the end of the day it is their card and they can take it and go home with it.

      This is why I recommend using the cards at least a couple of times a month and paying the bill off when it arrives.

      Steve

  • Lisa. I know for a fact that if your husband has never used the new card his ex has. He can not be held responsible for any of it. if they can show he used it even one time. he is stuck. If they have no signature of his. He can have his name removed. This same thing happened to my sister. She made them remove her name since she had never used the card

  • Right before Washington Mutual went bankrupt, they raised my interest rate to a whopping 29% — and I have excellent credit!! Their customer service centers were in another country (India, I believe) and they were not interested in talking to me or helping me out whatsoever. When Chase took over WAMU’s accounts, I thought things would change, but to my surprise, they are just as bad as WAMU. Their customer service is in India and they cannot or will not discuss any interest reduction. I am now forced to charge off this credit card debt because I refuse to pay 29% interest on anything. They can go pound sand. My credit will recover. BUT I WILL NEVER, EVER DO BUSINESS WITH CHASE BANK AGAIN. I would rather stick needles in my eyes.

  • If you really want to read how evil the lenders have become, just check out the website creditcardaddict.com and click out the comments regarding AMEX!

  • I was making the minimum payment + the interst without fail every month on no less than 6 credit cards. Suddenly the interest rates were increasing and a medical bill doubled over a month. AAAHHHHHH. The credit card company (Chase) lowered the credit line on 1 card & increased the interest on another..Hardball??? They wouldn’t make any adjustments. HARDBALL!!! It’s called Chapter 13 bankruptcy with 100% payback. MY credit score was in the capper anyway. Why let them have more interest. It’ll be a COLD day in your know wherer before I have another credit care in my wallet.

  • I beat one of these cards. They jacked up my interest rate when i was out of the area on a military mission. Cystomer service would not do a thing for me until I was 30 days late on a payment. Although I NEVER miss payments on anything, I did on this account. Before hitting the 60 day overdue, THEY called me to work something out. I now have zero % interest for 6 months and no additional fees. I will pay this card off and end my “relationship” with the company for ever.
    Don’t be afraid to play hardball with these companies when they try to play games.

  • This isn’t funny or a “wake-up call” for some people. It’s not always people living on credit or beyond their means! My husband’s ex-wife ran up their credit card to $18,000, which he paid off with cash. Then we find out that she made him an authorized user on accounts that she is now delinquent on. He had a FICO score of 801 a year ago and now has credit cards lowering limits and even closing accounts because of her delinquincies being on his credit, too. These companies won’t remove his name–they say she has to because she is the primary owner. We are currently disputing it with Equifax, but in the meantime, cards are closing that have zero balances and hadn’t been used in years. Then other cards will lower limits or close because his debt to ratio is too high–DUH! Of course it’s too high, they are yanking thousands of dollars in available credit! He has never had a late payment in the last 10 years, has a stable job–military for past 10 years–and makes a good income. Now my credit is being hurt and yanked because of his situation because we are married and share joint accounts. Please open your mind and don’t be so judgemental of others. Also remember that people are losing jobs everyday and need credit right now.

  • Hi there: Ready for your wake-up call?
    Isnt it sobering to receive a first class lesson from your friendly bank/lender/credit card issuer. Pay attention because this is for you. Did you actually beleive their marketing campaigns and hypnotic suggestions as to how they love you and want to help you? How they will always be there for you? Customer service? You count count on us? Your in good hands? etc etc? Welcome to reality. This is a business transaction. When things go wrong, they are not here to help. They dont know you or like you. They are not your friends. Jesus is no where to be found. This is strictly pay to play dynamics. They want their money or else. Fail to keep your end of it, and they will mark your credit score for life and hire people to hound you until paid. Some will force you into bankruptcy and not rest until you are homeless and penniless. When the system fails, you are the one to be destroyed and cajoled. Why doesnt the other party have to suffer. Demanding high interest rates and having to be told my way or the highway when things go wrong doesnt sound just to me. The sword cuts both ways. If the system has failed, repair it. Do not destroy the people who created the system while you are doing it. People are the value and should be treated accordingly. We search for life on other planets and do not even respect what we have right under our noses. What madness! Learn to live with what you have, seek simplicity and discover the mystery of the riddle of “less is more”. The system be damned.

  • I don’t agree with you about these cards. Wouldn’t just saving for that trip be a better idea? If you need to use cards, you can’t afford to go. You are planning to spend money you don’t have. You are delusional to think that you control those cards. They deliberately set you up to screw you and keep you trapped in debt. Get rid of those evil things and pay cash.

  • I understand Mr Englert’s point of view above but surely if you control the credit card rather than the credit card controlling you (i.e. pay off your balance every time its due) then there is only benefit to be had from having a credit card.
    Mr Rhode, I suspect that the banks are cutting credit as a general rule right now and we as the consumer have to “ride” through the tough times until the sun comes out again in future. I know for a fact that American Express have and do still offer some of the most competitive cards on the credit card market so it may be wise to maintain your relationship with them for now? (I do not represent American Express in any way, by the way).

  • I just read the article about people getting upset that their credit limits have been reduced. that is so funny! Those cards were designed to turn us into a slave to a bank. A reduced credit limit will save us from ourselves. Save for what you want and you will be better off. A credit card is not an emergency fund. That is what gets you into trouble. Credit cards are a modern version of slavery.

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