In my mail this morning was a brand-new credit card, from Direct Merchants Bank. I thought they couldn’t send out cards like that anymore? Oh, silly me, I forgot. We have a Republican in the White House.

Don’t they know I’m trying to pay these things off? Sheesh. It’s like they feed off my attempts to strengthen myself. Evil.

I looked over the terms: starting me out with $600 credit limit. No annual fee; that’s nice. And after searching through the paperwork thoroughly (why do they bury that stuff) I found that it’s got no interest for the first 3 months, then I start paying a 16.74% variable APR after that.

That might seem high to some folk, but it’s actually better terms than my other MasterCard, my one from Household Bank. My Household MC has the same credit limit, but a $59.00 annual fee and an 19.99% variable APR.

What’s interesting is that I had, in the last month, sent Household an email asking for a better interest rate and for them to waive the annual fee, since I had just completely paid off the card. I was going to use my miniscule amount of leverage to either get rid of them or get a better deal. But the answer came back; no dice. Take it or leave it.

My choice, then, was clear.

I’ll dump the worse card. Or at least try to talk them into matching the terms.

Called the number for Household on the back of my card (hey! it’s a local number; area code 503), after navigating through the voice mail maze, I finally reached Tammy. After she pulled up my information she asked me how she could assist me today.

I explained that I was looking to cancel my card, and when she asked me why, I told her about the great new card that I was already holding in my hands with which I would replace theirs.

(Side note: I also told her about asking the bank for better terms through email. Her reply was, “The online folks don’t have the authority to waive annual fees.”

“Oh,” I said, “Then wouldn’t it have been better if they had just said that?” She demurred, “Well, they were just telling you what they could do for you.”

I don’t know; you be the judge:

Dear Brian Moon,

We understand your concern regarding this matter.

Unfortunately, we are unable to remove the annual membership fee from your account. According to your Cardmember Agreement and Disclosure Statement, an annual fee will be billed to your account on the open date and on the anniversary date each year the account is open. This fee allows us to continue to provide quality service to our customers.

We have also received your request for a reduced annual percentage rate; however, a lower rate is not currently available.

If you wish to close your account, please call the number on the back of your credit card to reach our Customer Care Department.

Thank you for using our online services.

Sincerely,

Email-monkey

Household Bank Customer Care



So, she messed around on her computer for a bit, looked at my account (perfect payment history for as long as I’ve had the card), and offered to credit my account with half of the annual fee. I pointed out, again, that the new card has no annual fee, ever. She typed some keys again, and then said that she would be able to waive the annual fee entirely for the current year. When I pressed on the interest rate (which, considering my goal of paying it off in full every month, is less important but still a good thing to ask for) she said that she would not be able to change that.

Looks like I’m no longer a Household Bank customer. I did give them a chance to retain my business, though. Buh-bye.