I’m not going to be smug about my credit anymore. I thought I was different. I thought the credit card companies still loved me. After all, my credit limits hadn’t been slashed, my APRs actually went down upon request and my credit score was almost 800. Well, no more. I’ve been humbled.
Here’s what happened: I applied for a new Citi AAdvantage Gold MasterCard after receiving a direct mail piece offering 30,000 free air miles after spending $750 in a four-month period. The annual fee was waived for the first year; it’s $50 thereafter. I read all the fine print. I wanted the miles. So, I applied via the direct link provided on the mailer. I was told to wait for a confirmation e-mail. I figured it would take less than 24 hours.
Well, 24 hours became 48 hours. I was beginning to feel a twinge of concern. I was used to being instantly approved. Then 48 hours became 72 hours, and voila! I had a message in my inbox. Expecting to be told that a card would be in the mail pronto, I was met with a barrage of requests that, well, was kind of insulting. Here’s how Citi began its missive:
“We have attempted to contact you to verify information on your application. We were unable to verify your residential address, telephone number, and/or employment/income. In an effort to ensure the security of your personal information and identity, we must request the following information to continue processing your application.”
OK, well, that just doesn’t make sense. Haven’t they heard of Google? If not Google, what about the phone book? Whitepages.com? Plus, I provided my phone numbers, and nobody called me to verify anything. But it gets better. Here’s what they want from me:
“Please send us all three of the following:
1. Your most recent home telephone bill. We need the original bill (not a copy) showing the telephone number and the name and address for that number.
2. A copy of ONE of the following, which clearly shows your name and home address:
- A bank statement.
- A credit card statement.
- A utility bill other than your telephone bill.
3. A copy of your most recent pay statement clearly showing your name and the date. If you are retired or self-employed, you may send one of the following instead:
- A letter from your broker, CPA or personal banker confirming the income stated on your application, or
- A copy of your federal tax return for the most recently completed tax year. The tax return must include your signature and all supporting schedules.
If you are a college student, please send only your telephone bill and an original letter on official letterhead from your bursar or admissions office. The letter should state your enrollment date and confirm that you are still enrolled.”
Wow. I’ve read rumblings in the blogosphere about the tax return requirement, but I really didn’t believe it until now. There’s NO WAY I’m sending my tax return to anyone but a mortgage company. Sorry. I’m just not ready to make that leap.
And if I didn’t have a handy pay stub to send along, would I have to pay my CPA to verify my income just to get a credit card? And does anyone really have a “personal” banker anymore?
Finally, what if I didn’t have a home phone anymore? More and more, people are canceling their home phones and just using their cells. According to Citi’s requirements, not having a home phone would seem to automatically disqualify me from getting the card since it’s one of the “three” major requirements. Plus, I just shredded this month’s bill after paying it.
So I guess my question at this point is how bad I want those miles. Is it worth the trouble? I have other credit cards. And I think it’s kind of funny that Citi is asking me to provide them with a copy of a credit card statement from another issuer. There’s a funny analogy there; I just can’t think of it.
Ah well. I really didn’t need the card anyway. I just thought it would be easy. Like it used to be.