Zero percent balance transfers at 3.99%. Huh?
Last month I applied for another Discover More card. I had to end up getting two cards as the first one in my wife’s name wouldn’t cover the entire remaining balance on my 29.9% Bank of America credit card (crooks!).
Before any of you freak out about me getting additional credits cards, I’m transferring the balances to get a reduced rate and won’t be using the cards for anything else. As a matter of fact upon receiving the cards I immediately scanned the cards and stored to images in Evernote then sent them straight to the shredder. I just don’t need the temptation laying around. I am sure I’d be fine, but I just don’t trust myself enough.
I’m digressing….back to Discover card. I waited a week or so after receiving the card to see if the zero percent balance transfer request went through. After still receiving no notification, I logged into discovercard.com and checked on the status. Before I even got to the point of checking on the transfer, I noticed my interest rate for balance transfers was 3.99%. Whoa, hold the phone! I didn’t apply for a 3.99% card, I applied for a zero percent balance transfer card. I immediately called customer service.
Before I go any further, let me just say that in all fairness to Discover, out of all the crooked credit card companies, thus far Discover has been the most pleasant to deal with. Their staff is incredibly friendly, courteous and helpful.
Back to the story… After navigating their crazy/insane phone menu system, I was finally connected to a real representative. She looked at my account and told me that I had in fact responded to a 3.99% balance transfer offer, not a 0% balance transfer offer as I had thought.
I just love it when they tell me I’m wrong. In fact, I replied via a mail-in offer they sent me instead of using an online offer. I did this more out of convenience than anything. I do seem to recall some benefit of using the mailed code vs. an online offer though. Regardless, I specifically recall the offer being a zero percent balance transfer similar to the ones I offer here. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the original paperwork.
Lesson: Always keep your paperwork.
In hindsight I should have scanned the paperwork into Evernote* to have for reference. Not doing so gave me no proof of the offer and unfortunately no leverage to make them work with me.
The representative was very kind, but also firm that the offer they had in their system was a 3.99% offer and that she couldn’t change it. This is fairly typically though as most of the initial representatives that you get from credit card companies can’t do much. I asked if I could speak with someone that could further assist me and was transferred to some other group responsible for new accounts.
While the lady I spoke with was professional, she wasn’t near as nice as the prior rep. We talked and argued for a good 10 minutes, and the conversation finally came down to this: They would rather lose me as a customer than convert my current card from a 3.99% balance transfer offer to 0% balance transfer offer. She said that the system would no allow her to convert the card over. I’ve found that blaming the computer systems is a common escape goat. We hung up. I was livid.
While I am not 100% sure in my mind the offer was indeed a 0% offer, I am 99% sure. The other thing that makes me suspicious about this is that during the application process I had to fax in proof of income to a special group in the new accounts processing area. I don’t recall ever having to do that for any previous cards I’ve applied for, ever.
Here’s my theory: I probably didn’t qualify for their 0% balance transfer offer, so rather than decline me, they converted the application to a 3.99% offer hoping I wouldn’t notice. Why would they decline me? With 2 mortgages, a home equity line on the old house, and remaining credit card debt my credit score probably isn’t to attractive. I also lower my available credit as I pay these down too, which further hurts my score (for those of you who value your credit score, please don’t waste your time educating me about how stupid this is, I don’t care about my credit score as I plan to live debt free as soon as I can). It wouldn’t surprise me if somewhere in the fine print they told me this and I just failed to notice and they didn’t want to tell me.
Long story short, I seriously considered canceling the card, but honestly I didn’t want to go through the hassle of applying for another card only to find out that I wouldn’t qualify. To be honest, I’ve been happy with Discover card’s customer service. Also, 3.99% is far better than 29.99% as well as is just part of the stupid tax I’m having to pay for living on money I didn’t have in the past. I’ll just put this card at the top of my debt snowball and get it paid off as quickly as possible.
* I have an article I’m working on that will review Evernote in detail, but if you’re looking for an awesome place to keep pretty everything about your life, Evernote is the bomb. Check it out (not an affiliate link).
Think this was a bait and switch manuver by Discover? Have you had a similar experience with Discover or any other card? Want to just vent about how crooked credit card companies are? No problem, add a comment!