Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't bother with the HBC Mastercard

So we're in the Bay the other day, and they tell us that they are offering a new HBC MasterCard.

All the wonderful benefits of the Bay credit card (like the HBC Reward points) but with the ability to earn points purchasing outside of the Bay and Zellers. The rate, instead of being higher than 28% (robbery) was to be closer to regular credit cards (under 20%, minor robbery).

So we get the new card in the mail with a sticker to activate it. I look at the paperwork, and the new rate is 28.8%. What the...?

Anyways, I don't want a MasterCard with a rate that is 8-10 percent higher than my other cards. Luckily, the paperwork says "Call us anytime, 24/7, 365 days a year". I called.

"Please call back in business hours".

Darn. This is starting to make me angry.

So I call today, and apparently there is a trick. If you use the card outside of the Bay/Zellers, they decrease and fix your rate at 20.5%. They don't seem to say this ANYWHERE on the paperwork, and 20.5% is STILL ROBBERY.

Can you imagine how many people are going to be scammed by GE Money and the Bay this Christmas season? This is absolutely unacceptable. You have to assume that no more than 5% of the people who get these cards are going to bother noticing and calling. That's a lot of extra money for GE Money.

So I cancelled my card right away. Now I have to get the word out. GE Money is obviously out to rob people, and the Bay/HBC will just stand by and watch it happen as long as it puts some money into their pockets.



jay said...

Now i'm glad i said no when they asked me.

Who shops at the bay these days? Honestly!

stl said...

I really do not see what the problem is concerning the interest rate. Whichever credit card one uses,the balance should be paid off at the end to the statement cycle.If one carries a balance from one month to another,what do you expect.The balance is paid every month.If one is worried about the interest rate,then why have the card. Since G.E financial is underwriting the card,I can see why the rate is high.The bay will share the profits with G.E over delinquent accounts.I do shop at the bay and have done so for the past twenty odd years.One can get quality merchandise at a reasonable price.

Brandner said...

stl: Fair enough, if you pay your balance off regularly, the rate doesn't become a problem. On this argument alone, why don't they just jack the rate up to 45% or 50%?

Whether or not I personally pay off my balance does NOT mean that the rates are fair. I think of how many people there are out there that don't pay off the balance every month. These people are going to get ripped off in the confusion, all so that GE and HBC can make an extra 8-10%.

Your point is perfect - "If one is worried about the interest rate,then why have the card". I canceled the card and I encourage everyone who does not pay the balance off every month AND anyone who feels that this rate is unfair AND anyone who finds the whole card switchover thing devious to do the same.

In many cases, the Bay is a decent Canadian company (now owned privately by an American guy). Sometimes one can get quality merchandise, and sometimes at a reasonable price. I shop there quite a bit, and I know many of the people in the local store and mall.

However, I see a lot in their business practices that indicate they are much more keen on making an extra buck at the expense of their employees, customers and all Canadians. It's sad to me.


Anonymous said...

I agree with what the previous message said.

You have to pay off your credit card before the next billing period. If a person doesn't have the money to pay the card off, they shouldn't be buying.

I got the card to get more HBC points the HBC cards have never costed me a cent in interest.

Brandner said...

Hi Anon. You write:

If a person doesn't have the money to pay the card off, they shouldn't be buying.

This is great, and very true. However, what portion of the population abides by this rule? Credit card companies exist on the back of people that do NOT pay off their balances.

I feel that people that are not paying off their balance each month are being confused by HBC campaign. I am suggesting that this is deceptive and intentional (opinion only).

Great for you that you are able to pay off the balance each month and never paid interest. You are very financially responsible and in the minority of credit card holders.


Anonymous said...

if you don't have money to paid off balance in full then you should not be making purchase using the credit card. any small purchase can be paid off right away should be taken care of therefore nothing to be worried about. example $50.00 item charged on credit card and if you have $50.00 cash in your pocket should make the payment to the card immediately. regardless of the rate of the card. You only worried about carried a balance from billing cycle and to the next one. Hope this help

Anonymous said...

I agree with both sides, but the HBC company has become very coniving. I have worked for them for 6 years now and never had a complaint about my job until the past year or two. Basically, HBC has been bombing so badly that they don't even make money off of their merchandise anymore and rely soley off the profit they make from the credit cards. Management has been pushing its employees so much to sign people up for these cards and do whatever they can to make them use the card that they are giving people formal write ups if they fail to do so (three write ups result in termination). They don't really seem to care about anything else the employees do customer service wise so long as they're signing people up for these cards. One of the girls I work with is so vague with customers as to what she is signing them up for that she lets them believe they are getting a rewards card (which in my opinion is completely fraudulent). Management knows about this but allows it to happen because it means $$ for the store.

The interest rates truly are absurd and I can not blame people for not wanting the card or not wanting to use it.

So, if you're annoyed by going into the Bay or Zellers store and being bombarded with credit card offers, speak up! It is as annoying for the employees as it is for the customers. Maybe if enough people complain they will start getting the point.

Brandner said...

Glad to see someone agreeing. My family has always been quite connected to the company. It's so sad to see and hear of stuff like this, and they also have many stories to tell.

It will be interesting to see what happens now that The Bay/HBC has been purchased by Lord and Taylor (http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/07/16/hudsonbaynrdc.html). Unfortunately, they also use GE Capital for their credit stuff, so I guess it's unlikely that issues with their cards will change.


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