Chase changes credit card payment terms

August 25, 2009 7:06:13 PM PDT
With the economy the way it is, many people are having trouble keeping up payments. But one bank is putting even more pressure on many of its customers.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

People are calling 7 On Your Side in droves because Chase Bank suddenly changed the payment terms on their credit cards.

Margaret McKinney is out of work but managing to get by on a very strict budget until this month, when Chase suddenly more than doubled her credit card payments.

"I just couldn't believe they would do that. I've had a Chase credit card for years," said McKinney.

The notice said that starting this month, her payments go up from two percent to five percent of her balance. That raises her minimum payments from $537 to about $1,300 -- way out of her reach.

"I don't really have the funds, I'm not employed right now," McKinney said. "This was the worst time ever to suddenly pull this."

McKinney says now that her minimum payments have more than doubled, she is in danger of defaulting. If that happens, she could lose her low 3.99 percent interest rate and replacing it, 25, 30 percent -- she doesn't know.

She pleaded with Chase to lower the payments back down, so she can keep up, but got nowhere.

"The woman explained they were at this time particularly looking at accounts with my type of interest rate," said McKinney. "She said we want to eliminate these accounts."

McKinney isn't alone. 7 On your Side has been flooded with complaints from chase customers saying their minimum payments suddenly shot up too.

"Some of these credit card banks are pushing their perfectly good customers into a position where they can no longer pay their bills," said Joe Ridout from Consumer Action.

Ridout says Chase is putting many consumers in danger of default.

"It has the chance of wrecking a lot of family budgets because after all people took chase up on their offer on the promise that this was a way to plan ahead and responsibly budget for the future," he said.

We contacted chase. it acknowledged it is raising minimum payments on select accounts based in part on a customer's interest rate and account balances.

Chase said: "The way customers use and maintain an account helps us determine what changes to make in order to protect our customers and our company."

But it said any customer who has trouble making minimum payments should contact the bank to try to work things out.

What about McKinney? The bank would not discuss her case specifically but did agree to look into it.

Two weeks after we called, Chase offered her a deal: McKinney will pay off her balance at zero percent interest and her monthly payments will actually go down by about $100. She has to close the account but McKinney gladly accepted.

"This is way more manageable," she said. "I'm absolutely amazed at what 7 On Your Side can do. I mean I'm just totally blown away."

Chase said it would try to work with other consumers who cannot make their minimum payments as it did with McKinney. The way to do that is call the number on the back of your credit card.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments