Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Credit Card Hades

(Warning: ranty.)

I've had a Capital One MasterCard for about eight years. I used to use it as my primary card, but last year I got an Amazon Visa that gave gift certificates for dollars spent and now use that for nearly everything. I kept the Capital One card because it is one of the only cards that charges only 1% for currency conversions and I do a fair amount of overseas travel. I've never notified the company before I went overseas before, just went over to Turkey/Spain/Iceland and started spending.

This time I tried to use my card in France and everywhere I went it was either declined because they only accepted Visa or declined for real because Capital One apparently thought the transactions were fraudulent. I returned home to find a phone message from Capital One's fraud department. This would have been nice to get had I actually been home when the charges are occurring, but the charges were for real and thus their call was useless.

I called customer service yesterday and asked them what was up with freezing my card. They said that the fraud detection is now more sensitive and I have to call them before I go anywhere with the card (what are they, my mom?). I rolled my eyes and said fine, but then asked them if I could switch to their 1-2% cash-back rewards Visa since the reason I never use this card is I get nothing for doing so. They then informed me that they couldn't do that, but I could cancel my current account and apply for the other kind of card.

Double-you tee eff? Isn't your credit score partially a function of how long the accounts have been in existence? Why would I want to cancel my oldest account? The funny part is when I checked the mail there was a letter from Capital One informing me that they had changed my card to a points-reward version. However, the points convert to gift certificate at one-fourth the rate of my Amazon card, so no business is coming their way for that. What should I do?
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