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Credit Card Rate Hikes: Two Companies Change their Practices

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New York, NYOne credit card company has announced it is making major changes to the way it does business, specifically with regards to sudden rate hikes. Earlier this month, Citigroup Inc. announced that it would end universal default on all Citi-branded consumer credit cards.

The change was effective immediately, according to Citigroup. However, whether or not other credit card issuers will follow suit remains to be seen.

credit card abuseUniversal default occurs when a credit card company raises a customer's interest rates after that customer has made late payments on other creditors' bills. Those bills can include utility bills, credit card bills, and mortgage payments. Furthermore, the company can raise the interest rates if the consumer applies for other credit cards or loans.

Citigroup also announced that its "anytime for any reason" rate increases would be eliminated. This change is effective immediately for new customers and will go into effect for current customers by April. "Anytime for any reason" rate hikes are also common practice for credit card companies and allow them to raise interest rates and change the terms of a credit card whenever the company deems it necessary. Without the "anytime for any reason" clause, Citigroup's credit card terms may now change when the card expires and is replaced, which usually occurs after two years.

Under Citigroup's new policies, a customer's interest rates and fees will only increase if that customer makes a late payment to Citigroup, exceeds his or her credit limit, or pays the bill with a check that bounces.

Three weeks before Citigroup's announcement, Chase announced that they would no longer use double-cycle billing. Double-cycle billing occurs when a company applies interest charges based on a two-month period instead of a one-month period, leaving consumers paying interest on balances that may have already been paid off.

However, even though Citigroup and Chase are making positive changes, there are no guarantees that other credit card companies will follow their lead. It is important for consumers to carefully read over the terms of their credit card contract so they know if their credit card issuer could potentially use "universal default", the "any time for any reason" clause, or double-cycle billing.

Some credit card companies are still using deceptive practices in order to increase company revenue. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, some companies regularly change due dates and payment mailing addresses in order to increase money made from late fees. The same article noted that credit card companies also charge fees to make phone payments and set certain time limits on the due date that payments must be received by. If a payment is received after that time a late fee is applied. Credit card companies also allow customers to make a purchase that puts them over their credit card limit but they will charge those customers an over-the-limit fee.

Although the moves by Citigroup and Chase will help some consumers with their credit card debt, these moves are voluntary as opposed to being legislated, meaning that the companies can change their minds at any time.

Furthermore, there are still many credit card companies out there using deceptive practices to hike their rates as a way of increasing profit. It will likely be a long time before all credit card companies end their inflated rate hikes and put customers first.


Credit Card Rate Hikes Legal Help

If you have been a victim of any unfair practices by your credit card company, including substantial rate increases and unfair penalties or broken promises, please contact a [Credit Card Rate Hikes] lawyer who will evaluate your claim at no charge.


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