Previously I have had many bad banking experiences.
Now I must avail you to a positive message,
One that has almost left me speechless,
The bank concerned was Westpac Banking Group Ltd [WBC.NZX] .
I didn't previously have a very good opinion of them. I probably still don't.
This happened after many months of tooing and frooing over interest charges and fees on my credit card.
This card was my first credit card and i got it back in 1995 when I graduated from Auckland Uni and it had a picture of the University on it and $1000 in credit.
Fast forward 21 years and I just happen to take up the offer of having my limit extended to $10,000 and for the interest free period extended to 1 year.
What do you know last month a got my bill and attached to it was 2 forms of interest charged.
When i queried it (after going through about 5 people)i got a friendly chap Ike Harris on the line and he told me that Westpac came to their credit card accounts in a different way to other banks - I've had these before, they were for way more money and they didn't cost a cent)
Anyway Ike told me that if you purchased something during the month you would accrue interest, i knew this from before but because of my stroke i forgot about it at the time i made the purchase.
That was OK, I was prepared for this.
What i didn't know is that it wasn't only for THAT month, the interest would continue to accrue for the entire period of the $10,000 loan.
I told Ike that i had free credit cards before and i wasn't charged in this way.
Well Ike said we are different.
Much discussion in my broken English followed as to the seriousness or otherwise of the way they charged their credit cards.
This is what Ike did:
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
Please find attached the information requested when we spoke today.
-a balance transfer of $10,000.00 was completed on 07/03/2016 at 0.00% pa for 12 months
-from that date transactions occurred on the account and were subject to interest charges
-as at today, there is still $1,115.42 of charges subject to interest. We have added these charges onto the balance transfer of $10,000.00 which will also be at the rate of 0.00% pa until the balance transfer expires in March 2017
-interest will begin to accrue on these amounts after 07/03/2017 if they are not paid in full
-you may see a small amount of interest on your next statement as we are part way through this month. I will reverse these charges as they appear
True to his word the interest was reversed and all associated charges dropped.
Ike was a brilliant young man who should be working to help out people because he was patient.
Have you had similar stories with ''free'' credit cards?
The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) by Benjamin Graham
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c Share Investor 2017