Monthly Archive: May 2011

Bank of America (not) a great deal

I received mailings from Bank of America to induce me to write a credit card check to take advantage of a “great offer.” They offered me balance transfers and cash advances for a remarkable 0% promotional APR, with a balance interest rate of 14.98% when the offer expires. The transaction fee was 3%, so do the math. If I were stuck paying high-interest credit cards (which has happened in the past), this might look attractive, in fact, it can be attractive if you play it right. But for the inexpert game player, it may be best to pass on the offer. Weeks later, a hefty envelope of legalese arrived from Bank of America, a change in terms “amendments to your credit card agreement” package. Is there anyone who wades through reading all this stuff? Anyone with a card from this institution should at least scan it. I am told that if I miss a payment, my APR may increase up to 29.99% and that this rate will apply indefinitely. Now, why this does not say 30% is based on a psychological concept, but is anyone really so dumb as to not call this 30%? Considering this new information (surprise!), the previous mailing seems like a planned invitation to entrapment of sorts. When many Americans are struggling, missing a credit card payment will result in a usurious, unconscionable penalty. Imagine if missing a mortgage payment resulted in the mortgage interest rate doubling. It is simply sociopathic, without conscience. Digging deeper into the  “amendments to your credit card agreement” package, I find the “Privacy Policy.”  This is an absurdity that seems to be ubiquitous in American business, unfortunately. It should really be called an “Invasion of Privacy Policy.” Basically, Bank of America will share all of your personal information the law allows, including “social security number and employment information, account balances, transaction history and credit information, and medical information.” Then they list eight “reasons” they share your private information, four of which you cannot opt out of. This too is sociopathic, downright evil. So the legal “U.S. Consumer Privacy Notice” is really an invasion of privacy notice. The cornerstone of a free society is the right to free speech and press. With the truth of what so many financial institutions are doing to harm people, why is the public so apathetic?