Gen Y Gets Hit Hard Where it Counts…In the Wallet (part 1)

My bank cancelled my credit card and destroyed my credit score with repeated inquires. Now it won’t answer any of my questions about my account or its action. I’m looking for answers, and a credit union solution, to help me on my road to financial recovery.


One of my first actions as an independent college student was to sign up for what I thought was a student credit card from Chevy Chase Bank, managed by First USA. I’ve had the credit card for two years and have had no problems, besides insanely high interest rates. This spring, I received a letter saying the bank would close my account on June 30 because of late payments and credit limit problems (the bank determined I had limit problems because of my credit report score). First, I am a student, my credit history is limited, and I rely on having access to credit. I am one of the nine out of 10 undergraduates who pays for my education expenses, in part, with credit cards. Second, to my knowledge, I have never made a payment late. In fact, I try to pay two weeks in advance and at least double the minimum required payment. Third, I have not exceeded my credit limit. So why has the bank decided to close my account? And why is it making false accusations? And why has it checked my credit score eight times in the past month? This lowers my score even further! 

In order to find some answers, I called customer service. Customer service told me nothing and bounced me around from department to department. No one seemed to have an answer.

A week later I got another letter saying “Congratulations, after reviewing your credit card account we have decided to extend your credit limit by $600.” Talk about a contradiction. 

I am no longer comfortable with my credit card relationship, and I’d like to know what other options will support my needs as a student customer. An article in Saturday’s New York Times offered solace and direction. Credit unions are beginning to advertise their advantages over banks, the article says. BECU Washington says it well, “Switch Now, or Pay Later.” I should have switched then, because now I’m paying for it later. Goodbye bank, hello credit union!

Now I have to decide which credit union is right for me. Stay tuned for updates on the solutions I have found. Meanwhile, feel free to share your own advice. Have you known someone who has had a similar problem? What did you suggest they do?


June 15, 2010



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