Advanta Credit Card / Deceptive practices % unbelievable interest hikes
I had an Advanta card for several years and had around $3000 left to pay off when I spotted a deal where I could transfer my balance from other accounts to Advanta for 2.99% interest. It included transfers from other credit cards of lesser amounts and the total balance after the transfers was about $7000. I asked what the monthly payment would be and set up monthly automatic payments through my bank for about $20 over the minimum amount I was told would be charged monthly. Generally, I'm very careful to check the bill each month to ensure that I'm paying the right amount. Somehow, I failed to do so, discovering the "problem" only after someone with a thick foreign accent called to tell me I was being hit with a huge late fee and other fees. Why? Because the minimum amount was $4 more than the payment I'd made! I paid an exorbitant phone transfer fee to solve the problem and was told they would waive the late fee (and it wouldn't affect my credit) because I'd taken care of it right away. I had this feeling I should immediately transfer everything to another credt card account, which I did. A month later, I received information in the mail that said my interest rate was going to around 32%--at the beginning of the month. The problem is I'd received the notice at the end of the month it was to begin. I figured out that had I not transferred the balance immediately, the cost of the interest would have been about as much as the balance transfer, except I'm now paying about 6.9% interest instead of 33% each month. Advanta’s wonderful 2.99% balance ended up costing plenty. After this experience, I wondered, "What about people who CAN'T transfer their money and they're stuck?"
I think the best thing people in the US can do is write about their experiences to their public officials (congress, the president, the governor, etc.) and write, and write. Pres. Obama mentioned this problem, so there's a slim possibility a deluge of mail, phone calls, and email might have an effect. For people faced with this kind of interest rate who have nowhere to transfer their money, there are good suggestions from others burned by Advanta.
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