Chase nixes $10 monthly fees, will credit accounts
Nearly 400,000 accounts were charged $10 a month since January
Citing "customer feedback," Chase Card Services is rescinding a controversial $10-a-month maintenance fee it began charging nearly 400,000 credit cardholders in January.
According to a company spokeswoman, the credit card company will refund any maintenance fees collected so far and discontinue charging the fee.
"Beginning in April, we will be crediting affected customers' accounts for the full amounts that were charged," says Stephanie Jacobson, vice president of public affairs for Chase. Asked for a reason for the turnaround, she responded: "Based upon customer feedback."
Chase is one of several major credit card issuers who have added fees, cut credit limits, raised interest rates and changed terms as they struggle to manage riskier cardholder accounts. The changes have been met with consumer and Congressional outrage -- especially since the banks tightening lending standards were recipients of billions in federal taxpayer bailout funds designed to help increase lending and jumpstart the economy.
According to Jacobson, the 400,000 accounts that were charged maintenance fees represented "less than one half of 1 percent" of Chase's card portfolio. It included cardholders who took advantage of Chase's low-interest introductory card offers, but who had "made little progress in paying down these loans," Jacobson wrote in a follow-up e-mailed statement. "Our desire is to have these loans repaid in a reasonable period of time."
She indicated most of the customers who have taken advantage of Chase's low introductory rate financing repaid the loans within 24 months.
She says one change implemented by Chase -- increasing minimum monthly payment amounts on those 400,000 accounts -- will remain in place. Those cardholders must pay at least 5 percent of their total balances each month, instead of the previous 2 percent.
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Updated: March 30, 2009
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