[PSA] Tell your credit card company not to send you balance transfer checks

Here’s a piece of advice: find your credit card in your wallet, call the 800 number on the back, press whatever you need to get a human, and tell them to never send you balance transfer checks without your request.

Mail went missing recently in my apartment building and today I received my credit card statement with a balance transfer check charge for $2000 and another for $2500. I called Citibank to challenge the charges and they said no problem. No, I won’t be responsible for the charges, but I will have to:

  • cut up my existing credit card
  • wait for my new card in the mail
  • fill out an enclose affidavit identifying which charges weren’t mine
  • send it back
  • contact everyone who charges my credit card automatically (phone company, etc.) to give them the new credit card information
  • and in my particular case, wait 3 weeks for any of this to happen since I am relocated for the summer and they will only send to my permanent address

All in all, this isn’t horrible. But it could all have been avoided if Citibank didn’t send me those balance transfer checks. I never requested them. Every time I received them in my mail I would be frustrated that I now had the burden of disposing of them safely. I wish I had taken the time to tell them to never send them again. Now I have.

You might want to do the same. And if you feel strongly about it, contact the FTC and ask that credit card companies not be allowed to increase your risk of theft by sending you balance transfer checks without your consent.

UPDATE: When I called my company weeks later to confirm I would not be receiving checks, the agent said I had only been removed from the “promotions” mailing list. So I requested again to not receive checks. She said I would not anymore. I’ll see. Incidentally, they also call them “convenience checks”. They are indeed very convenient for thieves. I got another one in the mail today and it says in large bold lettering on the envelope: “Part check. Part credit card. Very convenient.” How more obviously exploitable could it be?

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