Last week at The Consumerist, a Chase customer service representative gave some insight into his job and how the bank views customers. I found out that I'm a bad customer for Chase, and I like it that way. Here's why I'm a bad customer....
Apparently only about 5% of credit card customers are considered the "best." You get to be a best customer if you borrow lots of money from the bank for homes and cars, or if you have a high credit card balance and you're paying them a lot of interest.
You get to be a "valuable" customer of Chase if you pay your credit card bill on time. Basically, you cause the bank no trouble, so they don't mind keeping you. But you do have to still pay the bank some sort of interest charges.
And then there are the "non-profit" customers of Chase. They pay their bill in full every month, so no interest charges are generated. A small fee is earned by the bank each time you use your credit card, but the vast majority of the transaction fees are kept by Visa and Mastercard, so essentially Chase makes no money on your account. The non-profit customer always pays the bill on time, so there's never a late fee and they don't go over their credit limit, so no fees there either.
I'm proud to say I'm a non-profit customer for all the banks and credit card companies. They all keep sending me offers, begging me to be their customer anyway. The only way I ever carry a balance is if it's a promotional rate near or at 0% with a very minor fee to transfer a balance for the cheap rate. If there's no deal, I pay my balance off every month, like clockwork.
So the banks can hate me if they want, but I will continue to use their money wisely. I'm not interested in paying interest charges. I'd rather take the 0% rate for a year on a cash advance, invest it in the stock market, and pay them back on day 364 with a tidy little profit from investing that's mine to keep!
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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