Chase does it again (or not)

By | February 5, 2008

I am not a big fan of Chase. I have blogged previously about why (see Late credit card payments: Citigroup good, Chase bad, “Bank error in your favor, collect $13,117.50.”, I just made some phone droid’s day). I continue to carry a Chase credit card only because I get cash back, it has no annual fee, and I pay off the entire balance every month, so Chase is probably losing money on me, and as far as I’m concerned it serves them right. One of the days I’ll find the time to shop around for a different cash-back card from somebody other than Chase.

Chase recently sent me an offer to open a Chase Premier One on-line bank account. They claimed that they would pay about three times the interest rate for local checking accounts, and they offered a $50 bonus for signing up for the account. I said to myself, “Hey, look, it’s another easy opportunity to stick it to Chase,” and decided to sign up for the account. I should have known better… as it turns out, of course, signing up for the account has been anything but “easy.”

I went through the entire on-line application process for the account. When it got to the point where my application was supposed to be processed, the Web application hung. After waiting for ten minutes for it to do something, I finally called their customer-service telephone number, and the droid with whom I spoke informed me that he could find no record of my application in his system. So I killed that browser window and went through the entire application process a second time. It worked. I was told to print out a signature card, sign it, and fax it back to Chase, which I did.

I week later, I logged into www.chase.com and found not one, but two Premier One accounts listed. It seems that (what a surprise!) even though my first attempt to apply for an account hung, the application was actually processed. Then, when I applied again, the second application was processed as well. Strangely, however, both accounts showed a zero balance, even though they were supposed to have done a balance transfer from my existing checking account to open the new account.

I sent a message to their customer service department through their Web site, asking for them to close one of the two accounts. A day later, they responded that (what a surprise!) I would have to visit a Chase bank branch in person or call their telephone banking number to get one of the accounts closed.

I called their telephone banking number, navigated their automated telephone system hell, dialed 0# when it asked repeatedly for me to enter a debit card number that I don’t know (since they haven’t sent it to me), and finally managed to reach a live representative. He listened to my story and then transferred me to a “specialist” in another department. She listened to my story and then told me that (a) she had no way of knowing which account I’d sent back the signature card for, and therefore which account should be closed, (b) she had no idea why the balance transfer for the initial account balance hadn’t been completed, and (c) in any case, she couldn’t actually do anything about either problem and would have to contact another department to get it resolved. She took down my telephone number and told me she’d call me back in 24-48 hours after hearing back from the other department.

I think that by now the amount of time I’ve spent on this is worth more than the $50 bonus they offered (which in any case I still haven’t received). *sigh*

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2 thoughts on “Chase does it again (or not)

  1. jik Post author

    I know Chase takes a cut of every purchase; I’m not an idiot :-). But the margins on that business are pretty slim. There’s overhead associated with processing charges and maintaining my account, not to mention the fact that they’re essentially giving me a revolving free loan of anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on how much I put on the card each month. That’s why, all things considered, I suspect that they’re probably losing money on my account.

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  2. abbasegal

    I hate to tell you this, but if you use your Chase card, even with the cash back and the lack of any interest you end up paying, they aren’t losing money on you. Credit cards also take a percentage (usually around 3%, but Amex is 5%) of every sale — so when they give you back 1%, it is only eating into their profit, not costing them anything. On the bright side, you aren’t letting letting them be predatory with your money, which is what they really would like.

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