Those Folks at Citibank

While Mac napped this morning I sat down and paid my bills. I’m late paying this month due to me focusing so intently on my book. I didn’t even realize I hadn’t paid bills until the morning we were to fly to Hawaii and I was still frantically writing. Beneath my manuscript was a stack of papers, and in all those papers were unopened bills.

I brought them with me to Hawaii and I got online with B of A and paid. I then went over my various credit card statements since I had time, noting with some shock that my boys have been making a lot of purchases at iTunes. I sent both older sons texts that said no more charging anything at iTunes and then glanced down at the bottom of one of my cards, my oldest card, my Citibank Aadvantage, that I have had since 1989.

My rate was 29.90 %.

I looked at my other cards–7% and 11%.

I called Citibank to ask them to please lower my rate. The best they could do was 21.9%. For twenty minutes we went round and round and round.

I told them that wasn’t good enough. They said that’s all they could do. I said I knew they could do more. They said no, because apparently I’ve had some late payments here and there, and the best they could offer someone like me was the 21.9 percent. And they made it sound like I should be grateful.

I wasn’t grateful. It’s a terrible rate. An indecently high rate still.

And some late payments here and there? Of course.

I’m human and have been with Citibank for over 22 years. I’ve had babies and international travel and lean months and life. I’m a woman who juggles a hell of a lot of balls but I’ve never screwed a bank over.

I asked for a manager. Got Ted. Got nowhere. I asked them that if they couldn’t do better to please close the account. And so Ted did.

It was a really emotional thing. There was no fighting for me. Didn’t matter that I’d been a great customer for over 2 decades. The Platinum status meant nothing. I meant nothing. I was just a rating and my rating locked me in at 21.9%, and that’s all we can do for someone like you, Ms. Porter.

After hanging up, I cried–cried–while I cut up my card.

I had such a long relationship with that Citibank Aadvantage card. I got it in 1989, had it through grad school and my engagement and my first teaching job. Used it to pay tuition and furniture for my first house. That card allowed me to prepare my first nursery for my first baby. I used it to take my family on vacations and it covered my business travel.

I loved accumulating my airline miles and the high high limit which was so high that it really wasn’t a limit. And I didn’t get into trouble with it, either. It was just a security blanket, knowing it was there should I ever need it.

But it’s gone now. And it was good I asked them to close the account. I have two other credit cards with Bank of America, one for Alaska Air miles, and one for Hawaiian Air, and the interest rates are 7% and 11%. Thank you Bank of America. Thank God you value my business.

Now I’m done being sad. I’m going to take Mac to the beach in a few minutes and have a great day.

Without Citibank.

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