Consumer Payment Card News

Card Upgrades

More than half of Americans say they have a received a credit card in the mail that they neither applied for or were expecting. While federal law prohibits card issuers from mailing real credit cards to “prospective” customers, it is perfectly legal to upgrade or convert “existing” customers to new cards. A recent homepage poll found that 55% of consumers say they received an unexpected upgrade or a forced conversion in the mail. For example, a gas credit card could be upgraded to a VISA-, MasterCard-, American Express- or Discover-branded co-branded gas credit card without the cardholder’s direct consent. A bank may also upgrade a basic credit card to a “Gold,” “Platinum,” “Titanium,” “Diamond,”, etc, credit card without seeking the cardholder’s approval in advance. In most cases the new card represents a better value for the user, including higher credit limits, increased rewards, more perks, and expanded utility. However, for consumers managing their credit scores, the higher credit limits usually attached to a new card may not be desirable. Therefore make sure you understand all the terms ands conditions before you make any transactions on the new card.

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