Credit card customers who are careful to pay off their balances each month have long profited from credit cards with cash-back rewards. Some of these rewards were subsidized by those credit card customers who didn't pay off their balances and paid high interest and fees. Now that Congress is likely to pass new credit-card legislation with restrictions on fees and interest-rate changes, there's talk that credit card companies will strike back by reducing the perks given to the responsible customers. According to this New York Times article:
Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.
This is already happening to Chase credit card customers. Many Chase Freedom Card customers received letters informing them of upcoming changes. These include:
restricting the 3% cash back from 3 of 15 categories to just gas, groceries and fast food
bonus redemption of a $250 check for $200 in rewards will end effective 6/30/09
$30 annual fee (waived for the first year)
Several commenters in my last credit card post recommended ways to reach the $200 level before the $50 bonus ends. If your Chase rewards are being cut, you may want to consider the Pentagon Federal Credit Union's cash reward credit card (see post).
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