For a long time, credit card companies could change account terms, increase interest rates and alter card programs without giving customers a chance to opt out. Companies knew consumers relied on credit and used tactics like these to rake in the money. In 2009, the government told the credit card companies “enough is enough” and established the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The law gives you control over your credit choices and the right to say “no” to account changes that don’t work for you.
Look at the date of your upgrade announcement. In most cases, you have 45 days from the date of your notice to tell the credit card company you’re not interested.
Call the customer service number listed in your notice. By law, the company must tell you where to call to opt out, and give you instructions on how to refuse the upgrade.
Tell the customer service agent you don’t want to upgrade. You can choose to keep your account active under your current program, or you cancel your card altogether. The CARD Act lets you close your account if a credit card company proposes changes you don’t want to accept. You don’t have to have a zero balance to close your account, and you’ll get up to five years to pay your closing balance. If you close your account, you’ll need to make minimum monthly payments on the balance, but the company can’t change the interest rate you’re charged. If you keep your account open under pre-upgrade terms, the company may send a new card to you. When you receive the card, read the notices and terms enclosed to make sure you haven’t been upgraded by mistake.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.