My Personal Finance Journey

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Close Encounters of The Third Kind

Contributed by mm | August 24, 2004 9:20 AM PST

Close Encounters of The Third Kind is a very appropriate title for this post about my recent experience with MBNA.

Throughtout my 18 months as an MBNA customer, I only talked to two kinds of MBNA employees on the phone. First is customer service representatives, who took all my information every time when I called to apply a new card. The second kind is credit specialists, who took over the application process from customer service, checked up my credit profile, and cheerfully told me my application was approved.

Yesterday I was left a voice message asking me to call MBNA back. I didn't realize its important until I found out late night that all of my four MBNA accounts have been "suspended." I called MBNA the first thing in the morning today and had the opportunity to talk to the third kind: credit analysts.

First, I was asked about the recent $8,000 balance transfer from Fleet. I explained that I made a mistake in making this balance transfer and I called MBNA a week ago asking for a credit refund. The credit analyst seemed to be ok with it, but told me she will reverse the transaction and send the $8,000 back to Fleet. Not a big deal.

Second, the credit analyst asked why I opened so many credit accounts recently. I explained that I just love to participation in new card offer and promotions, and pointed to the fact that I am a loyal MBNA customer, never missed an payment, and my total revolving balance in all credit accounts are very low. Not convinced, the credit analyst told me that they still see me as a "risk," and will go ahead to close all my accounts.

You can imagine I'm very disheartened, and then there is a twise.

I remembered that I have accumulated around $60 in the 1.5% cashback Fidelity Investment Rewards Card. I asked how I can get the accumulated reward dollars back. The lady had to put me on music for several minutes, then come back saying that since all of my four cards have some reward dollar/point balance, there is no easy way to get these. She offers to reduce my credit limit to $2,000 each card instead.

Of course I happily accepted it. Paying the full balane every month and having no cash flow problem, a lower credit limit is not a problem for me at all. And I was glad this close encounters of the third kind come with a pretty happy ending.

Learning from the lesson, I'll refrain from applying new cards for a while. If really sweet deals come by, I can still apply under my wife's name. Anyway, I'm still happy I applied and have been enjoying lots of credit card promotions recently. The last time I did such a calculation, I found out I'm about to receive $1,000 worth of cash or other tangible benefits in 12 months -- maybe it's a good topic for the next entry.

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