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getting paid to go away  

2009-03-02 11:43:44|  分类: 雅虎新闻 news fr |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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If you're an American Express or Citibank customer, don't sit around waiting for the card issuers to come knocking on your door with an offer of a gift certificate or cash aid to help you pay off your balance. Both card companies say their deals are by invitation only.

American Express sent out its offer to "a relatively small number of cardmembers who have sizable balances and little spending and payment activity," says spokeswoman Molly Faust. (She declined to specify how many.) Eligible consumers received a special offer code that, when redeemed online by Feb. 28, immediately cancels their account and sets the offer clock in motion. Fail to pay off the balance in full by April 30 and you'll be out on both the account and the gift card. (The remaining balance must be paid off under your regular card rate and minimum monthly payment.)

Citibank spokesman Sam Wang declined to comment on the issuer's program, saying eligibility and details depend on the customer's unique circumstances. But cardholder Lynn Murphy, of North Little Rock, Ark., was happy to tell us about the deal she received last week: 10% back on payments made above the minimum for four months, with a maximum rebate of $550. "I was surprised that they just offered it," says Murphy, who is considering the offer although she worries that it will limit her ability to manage debt during the offer period. While participating in the program, she can't make any purchases on her card. After she completes the program, her account's $17,750 limit will be cut to just above the balance.

A credit score of more than 800 wasn't enough to save Lee Frizzell of Farmington Hills, Mich., from Chase's new policy, which took effect in January. Chase is tacking on a $10 monthly service charge to many low-rate accounts with big debts held for more than two years. The fee is added to the balance, where it earns interest just like any other charge. Chase also raised the minimum monthly payment from 2% of the balance to 5% for affected cardholders. Frizzell has $12,000 in debt on his $35,000-limit card from three years ago, when he consolidated his bills to take advantage of an offer promising a rate of 3.99% for the life of the balance. "It was the cheapest rate around," he says. "Now they're trying to renege on the deal." (Changes affect fewer than 0.5% of accounts, says Chase spokeswoman Stephanie Jacobson.)

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