14 April 2004
Alternative minimum tacky
Sometimes you just shake your head in disbelief. And if you don't, well, I do.
I'm looking at my Visa statement. Now it should be a surprise to no one that credit-card issuers will do almost anything legal some of them have actually gone beyond legal to improve the take. (The fine print on the back of this statement says baldly, "We will allocate your payments and credits in a way that is most favorable to us.") What happened here falls into the category of "legal but kinda silly."
As it happens, I owed no finance charge at my usual rate, the result of careful juggling of promotional schemes, but there was $3.77 remaining on a previous balance transfer, which, charged at 5.99 percent annually, works out to one cent of finance charge.
Except that there is a minimum finance charge of $1 for any month where there is any finance charge at all, so I was duly charged a buck for my $3.77 balance, and the legally-required disclosures pointed out helpfully that this works out to an effective annual percentage rate of 322.72 percent.
Ah, well. Life is like that. Next time I should do the math a month in advance, eh?Posted at 5:38 PM to Common Cents