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Citibank Raised My Interest Rate From 11% to 24.99%. – Richard

“Hey Steve,

Citibank just raised my credit rates from under 11 percent to 24.99 percent!. Needless to say, but not happy.

I have my own business. I need credit at times. Yes, it has been a struggling two years now. Banks are tighting. people are going bankrupt and business does suffer some.

I am thinking positive that things will change. After twenty years in business, I have never seen such a disaturous situation for people in general, and small business.

How do you get out of debt without falling into the hands of Lawyers and bankruptsy, with a decling economy?

This world is so set up for failure it is pathetic. Peope work hard, I work hard and to have the banks get bailed out by our government- our tax monies- to go and screw us all is devious and wrong.

Richard”

Dear Richard,

You know why Citibank raised your interest rate? Because they can.

The financial system in America is designed to extend credit and punish people when life does not work out absolutely during the repayment period. No financial agreement makes any allowance for accidents, unforeseen events, illness, divorce, etc.

There is no legal way to force creditors to accept a fair and reasonable repayment plan in America other than bankruptcy. Credit counseling programs are only offered at the graciousness and permission of the creditors and they control the terms offered. In America there is no real safety net for people when they get into money troubles. That is just reality. And get this, Citibank does not subsidize most, if any, credit counseling programs. They put people into debt but do nothing to help them get help in times of trouble. Maybe that’s why some call them Shitybank.

There are tools that can be used like debt management, debt settlement and bankruptcy but I suggest them, not because they are perfect at all times, but because that’s all we’ve got to work with.

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But after working hard to help consumers with debt problems all these years I can honestly say that it has been a hopeless case to try to get Washington to change laws to allow people to repay their debts in difficult times in a way they can afford. Bank lobbyists spend millions to persuade Congress to vote the banks way and the last bankruptcy reform act was a classic example. It was a change in the law that was unnecessary and unwanted by us consumer types. It served the banks and gave no new tools to consumers to address their debt. in fact it forced more people into debt slavery.

When I look back over my writings over all these years, now more than ever, I find myself suggesting bankruptcy as a tool to seriously consider to deal with problem debt. And I do that not because I want to screw creditors but because creditors have forced people into such a corner, with no real options to get out of debt, that bankruptcy is a tool worth considering to break free from impossible situations.

Putting the moral implications and discussions aside, if banks can get billions in taxpayer dollars to continue their ridiculous financial assault on the average consumer then why can consumers get a debt bailout with bankruptcy to get themselves regrouped?

Richard, you say that it is devious and wrong and I agree, it is wrong. Probably the last legislation that helped consumers to deal better with their problem debt was the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. And not one single bit of legislation has been passed that has allowed consumers a real shot of breaking their debt situation with reasonable, affordable and sustainable payments.

Even now, when bankruptcy judges are fighting for permission to modify unsustainable mortgages in bankruptcy so people do not get kicked out on the street, lenders are spending millions to lobby against that.

The best hope we’ve had for positive change is the new Obama administration that might actually do what is needed and right, but only time will tell. At least legislation was passed recently, lead by democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, to protect consumers from interest rate hikes, but that won’t kick in for 18 months, and yet my credit card company can raise my interest rate with fifteen days notice. Seems unfair, because it all is.

Steve

READ  CITIBANK, N.A. - CFPB Complaint 2018-04-04



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.

19 Comments

  • Citi Bank did this to me as well. I opted out and they closed my account and enforced the new higher rate anyway. I had a 5.9% rate, they increased it to 15.99% even with my opt out notice. I filed a complaint against them with the BBB and they sent me a letter saying they would not raise my rate, but they did and still closed the account. They are a bunch of crooks. I don’t know why it is that the government can bail them out, with our money, but we have no recourse in handling these crooks. It’s outrageous and immoral. In fact, I wish they would have went bankrupt like many of us have had to do, over there greediness. They are the worst of the worst… and the coin “ShittyBank” is dead on. Bunch of crooks. I hope to see them crash, just as they deserve!

  • I had an EE account with Citibank, and my division was aquired by another company a year ago. This January, they just raised my credit card rate from Prime+1 to 29.99%!!!!!!

    They didn’t send me a letter, or give me a call, or offer any concession on the balance to grandfather me in to a reasonable rate.

    I might as well have gotten a loan from Tony the Loan Shark!

    Anyway, I am rolling it over to my Addison Avenue sponsored Credit card and closing that account. Addison is still at 7.25% (just raised from 5.24%) for people with good credit. I hope that helps. They do have a website, but since this is not an advertisement, I will let others search it out.

  • Hi Steve I have a similar problem everybody has with Citibank. I missed the letter and now I have $4,000 with 1.99 % until June and $4500 with 29.99 % (used to have 15.9)
    so I spoke with Citibank and the said that is nothing they can do. I missed the letter because I use the web page for everything plus at that time I receive the letter I was very busy with some family problems. Steve what is the best way to approach this problem. I do not have money to pay them cash and I cannot have a loan. I am thinking in stop to pay them for 2 months and then deal a better rate , or wait until February to see what happen with the new regulations

    • Franco,

      February will not get you a better rate, just prevent them from raising it.

      Consider enrolling in a debt management program, you may be able to get a better rate that way. However, by doing so the card will be closed.

      Steve

  • We have been living overseas, in Shanghai, China for over 2 years. Just 3 days ago I logged onto my Citibank account online. It’s not something I do monthly as I always have paid my cc payment via our online banking and never had any issues. I’ve been a Citibank customer for over 10 years and have always had a very good relationship. I’m was SHOCKED and speechless when I logged on and found my APR went from a fixed 12% to 29.99%!!!! I immediately called and was told that a letter was mailed to me alerting me to the change and I had an option to “opt out” and close my account however, the deadline has passed! How the hell can Citibank do this?? I would have definitely opted out of the rate increase and happily closed my account from these crooks. I explained we live in Shanghai, we don’t get our mail on a regular basis–maybe once a year when we go home during summer. All our banking is done online. The mail goes to my mother’s home and if she deems something extremely important or we ask her, she will open the mail for us. But for a generic envelope from a CC company, she wouldn’t have opened or even probably paid any attention. I graciously argued with the agent that how in the world could a company which was bailed out with my money then go and stab me in the back with an interest rate which is more than double what I was paying. Also, why didn’t Citibank send an email to keep a look in your mail for very important information regarding your APR? Or send me a message in my ‘message center’ of my online account. God knows, they are on your ass like mad if you are late. I find this pure and utter corporate greed. I’m at a loss for what to do now. How can they treat (in the reps words) “one of the best clients, you have a wonderful record with us?” I’m so furious, I want to file a lawsuit against them. What are my options? Does anyone have any idea how to fight these greedy sick bastards?

    • AAAG,

      Having recently lived overseas myself and been in a similar position of mail delays, I’m afraid to say I don’t agree with your position. I know you are mad, and having your interest rate jacked certainly is grounds to be mad. But here is the big but.

      With all financial products the notices come by mail, as required by law. All the regulations require them to be sent and notify you only by mail and with 15 to 30 days notice. Living overseas I used a mail forwarding service that allowed me to screen my mail and pick which items they would send it to me once a week.

      If mail delivery is an issue for you there are services like Earth Class Mail that will receive, scan and email you your correspondence. That would certainly address your situation, not Citibank of course. If I had known about Earth Class Mail when I lived overseas I would have used them.

      On the Citibank issue I’m afraid that the missed opt-out date leaves you stuck unless they are willing to change the rate, move you to a different Citibank product with a different rate or you do a balance transfer.

      As an expat you’ve got to make adjustments to make sure things like this don’t happen again. Living out of the U.S. is your issue, not the banks or any other financial products provider. Look into Earth Class Mail to avoid something like this happening again.

      Steve

      • Hi Steve I have a similar problem everybody has with Citibank. I missed the letter and now I have $4,000 with 1.99 % until June and $4500 with 29.99 % (used to have 15.9)
        so I spoke with Citibank and the said that is nothing they can do. I missed the letter because I use the web page for everything plus at that time I receive the letter I was very busy with some family problems. Steve what is the best way to approach this problem. I do not have money to pay them cash and I cannot have a loan. I am thinking in stop to pay them for 2 months and then deal a better rate , or wait until February to see what happen with the new regulations.

  • I just looked at my statement today and found that my 16% APR has jumped to 29.99% APR. I have never missed a payment and carry a minimal balance over from time to time. This is absolutely ridiculous. I find it VERY interesting that they do this before the new laws go into effect! Goodbye Citibank! I will never give them another dime.

  • Citibank just changed my student loan from a Fixed Rate to a Variable Rate – without telling me. Seems like I’m now at the mercy and they can shift a large debt (a got my doctorate) into any amount they feel like… What the hell

    • Steve,

      Can you tell me more about your student loan. How much is it for? Is it any special type of student loan? What was the interest rate before they changed it? What rate did they change it to? I understand it is variable but how is it calculated?

      Steve

  • I had a Citibank diamond card with a $40,000 limit. Never missed payment. Never late. I float around $5k-$7k on it. It’s for business and I don’t mind since the interest is tax deductible. Got a letter last month that my credit line was reduced to $5k. Today got a letter that my APR went from 10% to 29.99% starging Jan 1 ’10. No help on the phone.
    Biz is slow now and I can’t pay the balance down. So what am I going to do? Stick them. I’m not going to pay the card at all.

    • While not paying might make you ‘feel’ better, you are only hurting yourself. Call Citi and see if you can opt out of term changes on interest rate. But in doing so they will close the card.

      The card is theirs for you to use as they see fit. They are able to take their card and go home any time they want.

      If you don’t want to be subject to this then you always need tone sure you never carry a balance greater than what you can payoff. Otherwise, they ‘gotcha’.

      Steve

  • Yep, me too. I’ve been a card holder for TWENTY years and just got the notice of increase to 29%. Never late, never at my credit limit, low balances that I pay off within a month or two. What are they thinking?? Bye bye Citibank….I’m off to my local credit union where maybe my card won’t be platinum or gold…but it won’t be from a piece of sh$t bank like Citibank!

  • I just got raped as well.

    Had a Citi diamod card with an 8.2 rate. Never late, always paid more than the minimum. Just got the notice yesterday they were uping my rate to 29.99. That’s the default rate even though I did not defualt.

    They got a 2 billion dollar bail out and this is how they treat their on time customers.

    Of course I declined the offer and will just pay off the card when I can.

    I will never use Citibank again for anything.

  • Can’t you get cheaper credit cards someplace? I have one from USAA bank that is 10.9%.Maybe you can shop around and find something better, then transfer the balance. I got rid of my Citi card. That bank is awful. To think we bailed out those pigs is sickening.

  • There is a federal law that went in force this summer 2009. Now every credit card company must give at least 45-day prior notice with a right to opt out before making any card changes including APR increase. Earlier regulations had a 15-day prior notice requirement. But did credit card issuers ever honor the law?
    Citibank has just increased my interest rate from 17.99% to 29.99% without a prior notice of any kind. A similar instance of Citi’s interest increase took place last year where a notice with opt-out conditions arrived at least one month after the due date noted in it. Last year, my account was updated with a new interest rate at least one month before the notice was even mailed by Citibank, so opting out would cancel my account at a new double interest in either case. This year’s notice have not arrived at all while new interest rate was already applied to my online statement dated 9/11/2009.
    I wonder who the federal law on 45-day prior notice was enacted for if credit card companies like Citibank ignore it? Thousands of online blogs point this violation that Citibank became accustomed to over the years. Also, the due date is never shown on Citi’s online statement. The due date in online account’s main page is sometimes wrong and does not always match the due date in paper statement.
    Anyways, I filed an online complained with Better Business Bureau and called Citibank. The rep lied to me saying that a notice about this general interest rate increase was on my June statement. There was no notice about APR increase in either May, June, July, August or September statements. He did opt me out over the phone though and said my account is closed now.

  • Citi did this to me also. I opted out and haven’t used that cards at all. I just make my payments each month to keep the 7.4% rate. However, I experienced a problem where Citi Bank changed my email addresses internally so I wouldn’t receive the email alert on one of my accounts. I found this out last night when I was paying the other card and saw I was 4 days late. (I have two) I have always received email alerts on both cards every month, so how could the one card now have a #1 behind my name in the email address and the other edress in the other account be correct? I called today and spoke with a rep who looked at the account and said everything look correct since January, but saw that I made a change last night. I said that ewhen I went to make the correction, it wanted to make a change to the other account. Schananagans!

  • They did the same thing to me except raised me to 26.99%. I’m furious. I called no help, they are the scum of the earth and should not have been bailed out. I hope they all fail and their CEO’s go homeless. Which will never happen because they are all multi millionaires who rape the public.

  • First USA bank did me like that once. I got a low interest card and cancelled them out. Why can’t you do that? USAA bank has decent rates. You can find other ones on the web.
    Citi bank did that to me too..They are doing it to everybody. I transfered this to a lower rate card. I will keep them for awhile but won’t use the card. I do that because it probably costs them money to service my account and I won’t be using their card 🙂 . I think they should change their name to something that sounds similar but starts with an s.

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