The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 October 2003

Not with a whim, but a banker

At any given moment, the best credit-card terms I have are the most likely to disappear.

Back in the early 90s, I got a MasterCard from Chemical Bank in New York, an operation renowned for customer service. Shortly thereafter, Chemical was acquired by Chase Manhattan, which was at least sentient enough to realize that their own credit-card operation wasn't as spiffy as Chemical's. Accordingly, Chase allowed the Chemical people to run the combined card service, and for a while it was good, though eventually attrition took its toll and Chase settled into what I would characterize as a decent but uninspiring averageness.

As a hedge, I picked up another MasterCard, this time from a joint venture between NationsBank and Discover (!) called Prime Option, which indeed offered a variety of options, including the ability to pick your own due date and the opportunity to blow off one payment per year. Needless to say, this couldn't last, and Prime Option sold me (and presumably its other customers) to the relentlessly-indifferent Household Bank, which continues to send me promotional material a year after I sliced up their card and returned it.

About a year ago, I overhauled my card portfolio, ditching higher-interest cards and replacing them with cards offering more favorable terms, and no one offered me more favorable terms than Fleet Boston, whose Visa now occupies the place of honor (such as it is) in my wallet. Naturally, Fleet's days are numbered.

If there's a bank you'd like to see bought out, write to their credit-card department and have them send me an application.

Posted at 12:24 PM to Common Cents


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If you want even weirder bank buy-outs, write me and ask me to open an account, then close it in a move.
I lived in Charlotte NC when I was in high school. I opened an account at Wachovia then. A few years after I graduated from college I moved to Florida and opened an account with a small local bank. That bank got bought out by another (statewide) bank which got bought out by yet another (regional) bank which got bought out by still another (national) bank which got bought out by (the now national) Wachovia.
Bank buyouts ad: "You can go home again."

Posted by: Kathy K at 6:23 PM on 27 October 2003

Geez. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and most of us are left holding the collar.

(Remind me to check into Wachovia's credit cards.)

Posted by: CGHill at 6:40 PM on 27 October 2003

Well, our Wachovia card has now been bought out and converted to Bank One, so that may not be a possibility anymore. It is still my lowest rate card.

Posted by: anstranger at 12:38 AM on 28 October 2003

Hmmm. I do have a card from amazon.com, serviced by Bank One; it's reasonable, if not noteworthy, though they did offer zero percent for the first 12 months, a tad more generous than average.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:33 AM on 28 October 2003

My third credit card was a MasterCard that got bought out by Household Bank, and later by MBNA. But after the buyout by Household Bank, they began to screw up the account and do things like fail to send me bills. Well if I didn't get the bill, I didn't pay it, and yet they figured this was my fault. By the time they ditched the account onto MBNA, I was so hot to get rid of it that it was the first card I paid off and closed once I had good money coming in. MBNA wanted to bend over backwards to keep me, but the damage was done.

My favorite (and first) card is a Fleet, but I don't get the interest rate I'd like on it. I think it's time to call them again.

Posted by: Lummox JR at 10:34 PM on 28 October 2003

Ooh, I am so mad at MBNA right now. I hope they all burn in hell.

I've had the best experience with Discover, but I've heard lots of horror stories about them.

Posted by: Erica at 1:23 AM on 30 October 2003

I've always heard that MBNA sucks.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:32 AM on 30 October 2003

Bank of America is run by Satan.

Chase and Fleet are run by Satan's minions. (i.e. less evil, more incompetence)

AmEx , Bank One, and Discover are just sort of indifferent.

Citibank and MBNA are the only ones I haven't had a major dispute with.

FWIW, IMHO, YMMV.

Posted by: Alan S. at 4:10 PM on 31 October 2003

I've never gotten a card from either Citibank or MBNA, so I can say I've never had a major dispute with either, but seldom have I had any severe disagreements with any of the Plastic People™ with whom I have dealt.

With BofA absorbing Fleet, will Satan have to lay off some of those minions, or send them down to do temp work at, say, Capital One?

Posted by: CGHill at 11:56 PM on 31 October 2003