When the credit card overhaul was signed into law last year, many predicts that the banking industry will find new ways to replenish billions of lost revenue. Since then, this is becoming more and more of a reality, and it finally happened to me, even though I have a pristine credit history and have a 780+ credit score.
To be specific, Citi just sent me a letter saying I need to pay for my credit:
"We're writing to let you know about an important change we're making to your account. Effective April 1, 2010, an annual fee of $60 is being added.
The reason we are making this change is to maintain the quality of our service amid the rising cost of doing business. However, because we value you as a customer, we wanted to give you an opportunity to have the annual fee credited back to your account.
Here's how it works. Each year, we'll credit the $60 fee back to your account once you have made $2,400 in purchases during the year. That comes to an average of $200 in spending a month, an amount you can reach by using your card for purchases you already have, like gas, groceries, cell phone plans or your cable bill.
As always, you have the right to opt out of this change and close your account. Please read the Notice of Changes in Terms and Right to Opt Out beginning on the back of this letter so you are fully aware of all your account changes. If you have questions, call 1-866-915-9425.
Citibank (South Dakota), N.A."
Admittedly, I haven't used the card (a Citi Home Rebate Card) much lately, and I can understand the logic of the bankers. Citi will win either way by removing a dormant account (and therefore saving the service fees and any capital tied to back up the $6,000 credit line), by pocketing the $60 annual fee, or by making enough money if I charge the aforementioned $2,400 to the card.
Fortunately, no-fee cards are still abundant in the market, and many are willing to pay me for 1% or more in cash back (including several cards from Citi ironically). So bye bye my Home Rebate Card! A quick toll free call later, I have one less credit card account to worry about.