Friday, March 26, 1999

Dear NationsBank Customer

by Kaiti Trimble

Dear Chris,

I read your open letter to NationsBank and I wanted to respond. How many times do I have to tell you -- you're selling yourself short! You're far too good for that high-interest card.

I know, I know, you've had this card for years now, and you feel bad just cutting it up and walking away. But you must confront NationsBank -- these interest rates are way too high. Now don't get me wrong, it was quite nice of them to reduce the interest rate by 3.4%, but that only knocked you down to 14%! And that letter -- at 12% you're letting them take advantage of you. And don't think it will suddenly stop or they'll just one day see the light and charge more reasonable rates. Nothing is going to happen until you take the card by the statement and confront NationsBank.

The first thing you need to do is gather up all the pre-approved offers you've gotten from other cards with lower interest rates and balance transfer teaser rates. The 3.9% percent until the transfer is paid looks pretty nice, doesn't it? And that 9.9% fixed rate on new charges is so much more attractive than your current card. Keep that in mind when you call NationsBank.

Now, when you call and talk to a customer service rep, remember to be polite. Ask nicely first, since they didn't put up a fight last time you asked. If they initially refuse, ask to speak with a supervisor; maybe they can do something. If not, then just calmly explain that this relationship is just bleeding you dry, and that it has to end. They may offer you a slightly lower rate, but don't take it. Don't settle for anything more than 9.9% fixed. Remember that 3.9% balance transfer rate that's just waiting for you to hang up the phone. Sure it's just a teaser rate, but it will stick around as long as you need it to.

I know it's hard to abandon a card you've had for so long, but its time to face the facts -- they're only in it for your money. And your money is much happier in your wallet than it is in envelopes on their way to a big, impersonal bank. It's happier still when you invest it Foolishly, so it can grow and flourish -- not whither and die, shackled to a piece of plastic.

So be done with the double-digit interest rates. If NationsBank truly cares about keeping you as a customer, they will negotiate. And if they won't, you're too good for them anyway.

Fool On and Prosper,


P.S. -- Go have a look at the Fool's Credit Card message board for more tips on how to kill off the Big Bad Debt Monster. And check out BankRate Monitor to locate the best card for you. And finally, visit the Fool's How To Handle Debt area to learn how to use credit instead of letting it use you.

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