Why I Enjoyed Reading About My Credit Card’s Fee Increases

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I just got a letter in the mail stating that the APR and late fees on my American Express card are being jacked up. I rarely use our AmEx, and when I do, I always pay the bill in full and on time, so this doesn’t really affect me much. And you know what? I’ve become so accustomed to breaking out the magnifying glass to figure out what the fine print of my credit cards’ messages actually mean that I found this clearly worded letter rather refreshing.

On a single page—no booklet to wade through—AmEx plainly stated what’s up. Using straightforward prose, with minimal jargon to decipher, the following was listed in bullet points:

We are raising your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on purchases and cash advances

We are raising the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on any balances that have a penalty rate because of a late payment.

We are increasing the late fee.

Is it too much to ask for that all messages from banks and credit cards be worded just as clearly as this? Getting the bad news that more money may be leaving your pocket is annoying enough.

At the very least, AmEx didn’t add anything as ridiculous as a fee for not buying stuff.