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Bank of America small-biz cards get CARD Act protections

By Ellen Cannon ·
Friday, April 2, 2010
Posted: 2 pm ET

Several weeks ago my colleague Leslie McFadden wrote a story about small-business credit cards not being covered by the CARD Act. Yesterday Bank of America announced that it is going to extend some of the terms of the CARD Act to its small-business credit card holders.

Bank of America spokeswoman Betty Riess told Leslie this morning:

"We know that small businesses have been especially hard hit by the economy, and so we're making these changes to help benefit them. It's also part of an effort to build stronger relationships with our small biz customers."

According to the press release, BofA's 2 million small-business credit card holders will receive the "Clarity Commitment" by mid-April.  

Riess explained that in the case of the credit card, Clarity Commitment is "a summary of each customer's rates, fees and general payment information on a single page." Clarity Commitment is also given to their mortgage customers.

Clarity Commitment includes rates, fees and payment information specific to that customer's account, according to Riess.

The changes to existing balances (no rate increases on existing balances) will take effect in May while the other changes (45 days' notice of rate changes on future balances, no over-limit fee, minimum of 25 days between statement date and payment due date) will take effect in July.

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Ellen Cannon
April 08, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Cal, this is Leslie McFadden replying. The "information" you refer to is still the credit report. The bank wouldn't see different information based on whether the credit inquiry was "soft" or "hard." Credit checks related to periodic account reviews shouldn't show up as hard inquiries. The latter should only show up on your credit report if you applied for credit or opened an account. If the inquiry is listed incorrectly on your credit report, file a dispute with the credit reporting agency that provided the report.

By the way, complaints about national banks should be directed to the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), not the FCC.

Cal Logan
April 08, 2010 at 3:04 am

Are you aware that on February 23, 2010 Bank of America performed hard credit inquiries on there existing business card holders without there permission and then proceeded to reduce or close business lines/credit cards as a result? Myself and 7 of my colleagues had the same experience. We all called Bank of America and they stated that the credit check was a periodic audit of our files and was definitely a soft inquiry - so we all ordered our credit report and it was indicated as a HARD inquiry on each of our reports. We each contacted the FCC and filed a complaint but what other recourse do we have? The FCC informed us that it was a violation for federal law but did not provide us with any direction how to proceed. Two of my colleagues have retained lawyers. What are your thoughts? If you google this activity, there are many online who have had the same experience. We believe BofA is doing this on purpose (not by accident) to see information not available on a soft credit inquiry for it's customers - regardless their actions are illegal and we need your advice. Help! Cal