I’m guessing the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is pulling out all the stops in retaining its customers after proving how competent they are. I dropped my CIBC Aeroplan card three or four months ago because, at the time, I wasn’t doing enough travelling/spending to make it worthwhile. I keep getting statements because up until yesterday I owed them three cents.
That’s a story in itself, I’ll just leave it with the fact that I called their toll-free line and spent 5 minutes waiting to hear that yes, they did want their three cents from me. Fair enough, that’s what online banking is for, and it’s not up to me to tell them that a three cent writeoff would have been a couple orders of magnitude cheaper.
Tucked in with my last statement there was a bill insert. Bill inserts are those pieces of paper stuffed in with your bill that you almost never read. Companies know this, which is why they put any fee increases, bad mojo they’re about to pull, or anything that may piss you off in there. The statement was entitled “Take control of interest charges on your CIBC VISA card.”
Essentially, CIBC visa cards are no longer offering a grace period on interest for new purchases if you carry a balance. It used to be that you got a few weeks interest free, but no longer, unless you have a balance-free account from the month before. Starting April 1st, if you carry any balance from the previous month, you will automatically be charged interest immediately on new purchases. The only way the grace period kicks in is if you had a zero balance account from the month before. Because of this, you must maintain a zero balance account month-to-month in order to take adantage of any grace period.
It’s not a huge amount extra for the individual, but it’s just a cash grab for CIBC. Aggregate the few bucks per account that does carry a balance, and it’s some significant cash. Somebody realised that this was a wonderful way to increase revenues without having to provide any benefit to the customer, and away they went.
In the same flier, they push their pre-authorised payment service so you can always pay the full amount month-to-month and not have to worry about it. I was about to renew the Aerogold card, as I’m travelling more and could use it for hotels and meals and such. With this little change, which is clearly just a money grab, I will not be renewing. I do see their point of view, and to a degree would probably agree with them, but I know they’re not doing it to improve service or the customer experience, so fuck ’em.
If you live in Quebec, this change doesn’t apply, probably because there’s still a regulation prohibiting it.