Representatives from three credit card companies get a grilling from Senator McCaskill during a Senate committee hearing. McCaskill is leery of claims by the companies that they shoot straight with their card-holders. In fact, she accuses the companies of encouraging customers to get further into debt by continuing to issue credit cards or by sending customers checks that put them further into debt.
McCaskill is a member of a Senate committee that has gotten testimony from officials of Discover, Capital One, and Bank of America. Personal experience leads her to doubt company claims that they don’t send checks to customers who are poor credit risks. She pointed to the experience of her mother who, for reasons beyond her control, ran several cards up to their limits. But McCaskillsays she kept getting checks from the card companies.
The companies say someone with several cards, near them maximums, draw attention as possible credit risks. But McCaskill charges that condition does not stop companies from mailing more cards or checks.
Credit card officials say they raise interest rates on accounts that appear to be in trouble…and cardholders generally respond by paying off their accounts faster. McCaskill has doubts about that and has asked for documentation proving the claim.
(Attached to this story is McCaskill’s complete exchange during the hearing with President Roger Hochschild of Discover Card Financial Services; Bruce Hammonds, the President of Bank of America Card Services, and President Ryan Schneider of Capital One card services.)