I log into my bank and credit card accounts online pretty regularly–almost every day, certainly a few times a week, just to check on things. Today I noticed that my credit limit shrank. A lot. On March 31st I had a credit limit of $32,200. On April 1st, it was $16,500. That’s a 51.24% decrease. First, since I’m mad, let’s temporarily ignore the fact that my credit limit shouldn’t have been that high in the first place. Let’s also ignore that I would still be in deep trouble if I reached the new smaller limit.
So, what gives? I scoured my March and April statements for a notice about my limit changing. Is it even a surprise that nothing was noted in there? I didn’t get anything in the mail–if they did send something they probably packaged it with those cash advance checks they always send and I tossed it. If I get something in the mail today or over the next few days, it still wasn’t advance notice. I’ve never missed a single payment. I’ve never even been late with a payment. I’ve been a customer for close to 10 years. I don’t normally talk about specific institutions or businesses, but…Bank of America…bite me.
Given the overall badness of the economy, banks are tightening up credit limits to reduce their risk. It had been a customer satisfaction strategy by banks to keep raising credit limits, even giving unsolicited raises–but not anymore. The number of people delinquent on their credit card payments has increased by 12% over the past quarter, and as a country it’s pretty clear we’re all way over our heads in debt. PL and I don’t really have any credit card debt and no car payment at all, but we try not to think about the mortgage on our house that’s probably worth way less than we paid for it and the insane amount of student loan debt it’s taking for PL to become a lawyer.
A recent This American Life Episode, “Bad Banks,” noted that our national amount of debt is equal to our national GDP–the last time that happened was 1929. Oops. We clearly all have debt problems and probably should tighten our credit belts. I get that. I really do. But lower someone else’s credit card limit.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to call to complain and get it reinstated. It probably won’t help, and I’m not actually willing to back up my threat to leave them with actually leaving them. Even though I’d like my $15,500 extra credit limit option to create crippling debt burden back, I probably can’t find any other bank that will give me a high limit.
This credit limit slash doesn’t really affect me on a day to day basis, but other customers wouldn’t be so lucky. Had this card been a $2500 limit card and it was cut to $1000, I’d be pretty much maxed out at the moment, and maybe even in danger of going over my limit. I’d also be using up a much higher percentage of my available credit–a ratio that really affects your credit score.
I checked my other credit card, my $1000 limit Kroger Mastercard that I use for most of my everyday things because of the 15 cent gas rewards, and it’s still $1000. So far the worst thing they’ve done to me is send me the ugly red card with the Kroger logos on it when I requested the pretty green one with circies.
What about you?