Consumers are used to getting those annoying blank checks from their credit card company, tempting you into paying even more fees to use your credit. Citi Cards has started a new twist with the checks. They now claim that you may get a credit line increase if you use one of the checks. The exact promotional text reads "your credit line may increase by up to $1,000 if you take advantage of this special offer." This is essentially charging customers for a chance at a credit line increase.
Citi Cards will certainly charge you interest on the amount you write the check for, but there is also a 3% fee for a "cash advance" or a "balance transfer" depending on how you use the checks. Either way, the fee appears to be the same. So, for every $1,000 you transfer or use in any way, you will be charged $30 with a less-than-clear chance of a credit line increase. The percentage charged may depend on your terms with Citi Cards. Citi Cards' promotion may experience backlash from consumers.
First, Citi Cards (along with many other credit card companies) lowered credit lines on thousands of consumers' accounts over the past year. Second, they now want consumers to pay $30 or more for the chance to have their credit line increased, possibly right back to where it was last year. Before using checks from Citi Cards, or any other credit card issuer, read the fine print. The terms are usually not very good for you, the consumer. The increased fees just increase your debt even more. You have the right to not receive promotions like blank checks from your credit card issuer. Federal law allows consumers to not be contacted by credit card companies for promotional purposes, lowering your temptation of getting into more debt at a higher than average cost.
Contact your credit card issuer and ask how you can opt-out of marketing and promotional mailings, emailings, and phone calls. As always, remember to check with your credit union for a credit card with lower rates and fees and skip the big banks questionable promotional tactics. Even better, pay off your credit cards every month and owe nothing.by Staff Writer