First Union National Bank increases fees

Effective 4/1/97, First Union National Bank has changed the terms of its Cardmember Agreement, which applies to its Visa and MasterCard holders. The following fees are being raised:

But a call to their service center at 1-800-339-6600 resulted in a candid response revealing a change that is not printed on the notice of change of account terms: the customer service representative that Cagey Consumer spoke to stated that previously, customers had a grace period of several days before the late fee would be imposed. With this change, this grace period has presumably been eliminated.

As recently as 12/95, First Union's late payment fee had been $18, meaning that there has been a 60% increase in these fees. The consolidation in the banking industry was supposed to reduce costs. Unfortunately, the reduced competition has had the more significant effect on the ultimate cost to the consumer.

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