credit cards

Chase refunds $10 monthly fee

Monday, March 30
Posted 2 p.m.

Bankrate reporter Leslie McFadden contributed this entry.

There's good news and bad news for Chase cardholders who recently saw a $10 monthly charge applied to their account. Chase will quit charging the fee in April and retroactively refund amounts billed through January. The 5 percent minimum payment will stay in effect.

Back in November, the bank notified certain cardholders that their account would accrue a monthly service charge of $10 starting in January, and their minimum payment would rise from 2 percent to 5 percent of their outstanding balance. Cardholders had to pay off and close the account by Jan. 1 to avoid the charge, or accept a higher rate of 7.99 percent on their transferred balance, valid through 2011. Regardless of whether the balance was paid in full after the New Year, the fee would still apply.

The decision to refund the fee was "based on customer feedback," according to an article in American Banker. Some of the "feedback" might have been especially motivating -- Chase faced about a dozen lawsuits awaiting class-action status as a result of the charge.

Cardholders complained that they had been given a low, fixed rate for the life of the loan on their balance transfers. Chase spokespeople told Bankrate that affected cardholders had revolved large balances for more than two years and hadn't paid much down, saying nothing of the fixed-rate deals. They said the changes impacted only "one-half of one percent" of their cardholder base.

Evidently, that tiny percentage provided effective customer feedback. Score one for consumers.

Comments? Questions? E-mail Plastic_Rap@Bankrate.com.

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