Is Capital One going to Capital Own me?
August 15, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Are Capital One "card upgrades" for real?

For the past couple of months I've been receiving pestering e-mails and letters about calling in to get a "free card upgrade" for my Capital One credit card.

I kind of just want to accept the upgrade to stop them pestering me. However, I've read about how in the UK they used similar upgrades to mask negative changes to the terms of the credit agreement such as interest rate increases, etc. so I have worries that this is some sort of bait and switch tactic, where by calling in I automatically agree to get screwed. (Also, I just get annoyed when they try to sell me crappy services at the end of the call.)

So has anyone gone through this process recently? Is it legit or just another scam by a financial company?
posted by melvinwang to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You should be able to call and ask what the upgraded card is, and review the terms of both side by side on their website.

That being said -- I trust Capital One not to screw me over just about as much as I trust the Comcast guy to be here between 2 and 4.
posted by SirStan at 10:03 AM on August 15, 2008

Umm. . .how many companies do you know that go out of their way (to the point of pestering you) to do something that's financially beneficial for you? Likely, there are minimal benefits and ongoing maintenance fees associated with the new card. At some point they probably realized they might be able to convert you to a more profitable customer and that's what they're trying to do now. Proceed with caution.
posted by sherlockt at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2008

I responded to the upgrade cards. Ultimately, they offered to change the way rewards were credited to me (different percentage being rewarded for each purchase, plus a bonus at the end of the year), and upped my credit limit (I have never approached my credit limit, even when it was substantially lower). I also pay my balance in full every month.

I've yet to be screwed over by Capital One.
posted by chan.caro at 10:11 AM on August 15, 2008

If you look at the Capital One credit card lab (google it), you can see terms/rates/rewardthey generally offer. Your upgrade would probably put you close to one of these categories.

I upgraded my card just for miles rewards. The mile rewards are used for certain price tiers of tickets, (meaning if it's a $600 ticket it takes a lot more than a $250, in contrast to most airline specific reward programs), but there was no annual fee. The rate didn't change, but that's less important if you pay off your card each month.

They offer the reward I imagine because a lot of people use their card more after joining a reward program. They also may offer to give you a lower rate for a limited time.
posted by ejaned8 at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2008

My upgrade involved a couple of options and I went with 1% back on all purchases and 2% back on groceries (and gas, but I don't drive). I don't remember any of the other options being terrible.

I haven't actually noticed any savings, but I haven't been looking for them either.

Anyway, I upgraded when I was making a customer service call because my card had been shut off for "suspicious purchases" (a donation to the Red Cross -- thanks for calling me a selfish jerk, Capital One). The person asked me before transferring me to fraud and it was pretty much a "yeah, whatever" type thing.
posted by giraffe at 11:17 AM on August 15, 2008

Excellent question. Capital One has been pestering me in a similar fashion, and I too have been suspicious, since the notices are so vague about what the "upgrades" actually are. My thinking has been that if they really wanted to do something good for me, they would just do it, or they would at least give me some details. As it is it seems like a vague incentive to get me to call them so they can try to talk me into something that I might not really want. Don't need that aggravation, though to be honest they haven't screwed me over in the 2+ years I've had their card (which I pay off each month). Eager to see what others have to say.
posted by johnvaljohn at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2008

I have a Capital One card with a fantastic rate (6.99% lifetime as long as I keep paying on time) and steadfastly ignore the 'upgrades', because they invariably make the rate a lot less appealing.
posted by lowlife at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2008

The creditboards forum would probably be the best place to find an answer to this question.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2008

I called Cap One response to the barrage of calls/letters offering to upgrade my credit card and asked them to mail me a copy of the terms and conditions of the upgrade. At no point during the call was I pressured to upgrade immediately or upsold; the customer service rep just did what I asked. Turns out there were several "upgrades" I could choose to change the rewards on the card (miles, cash back, or various combinations of these).

The upgrade didn't change anything else about my account: same APR, still no fees of any type, etc. I don't know if you'll have the same options or the same lack of changes, but ask for documentation and review it first.
posted by holyrood at 2:55 PM on August 15, 2008

I was a customer of Cap 1 for years, but their card had me pay an $18 annual fee and had a not great interest rate (9.99), so I just stopped using it. When I started getting all that junk about upgrading my card, I called and said that all I wanted was for them to stop charging me an annual fee. They said that that wasn't one of their special offers, so I told them to cancel the card.
posted by jasper411 at 4:32 PM on August 15, 2008

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