Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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CC Deville
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Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby CC Deville » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:18 pm

Hello,

As the title says, when a cardholder calls to cancel a card, do any of you have experience with them and whether or not they will try to offer something to keep the card open?

I have a ThankYou Preferred card that started out life as an AT&T Universal Card. I have had this card since February 1999 and would like to keep it for that reason; however, I am irritated that the card is still a Platinum MasterCard with a bizarre 15.64% interest rate (based on LIBOR instead of Prime Rate). I have called regular customer service and social media to see about a World upgrade and a lower APR and they all say that World and World Elite upgrades are by invitation only (funny, I called and got my Dividend World upgraded to World Elite in 2013) and an APR reduction is not available. Do I need it to be World/World Elite? No. Do I need a lower APR? No. So lets not focus on that please.

So I kind of want to try closing the account to see if they will budge on the World/APR reduction but before I do I want to check with you guys to see if they will call my bluff or offer me what I have been wanting.


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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:27 pm

I've only cancelled one card with them (a Dividend) and they did not from what I recall attempt to keep me.

BUT I really think it's always YMMV. I think it's based on your spend pattern and relationship with them. If you've used the card twice in the last year at McDonald's, then maybe they just say ok it's now closed have a great day. If you've put 5 figures through it during the time, maybe they try customer retention.

Personally I would NEVER bluff that - they might just accept you at face value and it's closed.

CC Deville
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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby CC Deville » Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:59 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:I've only cancelled one card with them (a Dividend) and they did not from what I recall attempt to keep me.

BUT I really think it's always YMMV. I think it's based on your spend pattern and relationship with them. If you've used the card twice in the last year at McDonald's, then maybe they just say ok it's now closed have a great day. If you've put 5 figures through it during the time, maybe they try customer retention.

Personally I would NEVER bluff that - they might just accept you at face value and it's closed.


Damn. Okay, thanks.

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:10 pm

I think it's fine to call occasionally and just ask directly if you can get what you want. You might be optimistic, and will often fail, but it's not going to blow up in your face. I've called issuers for extra rewards, and have only had moderate success, but I've never come close to having an account closed accidentally. *The worst that's happened is that an Amex CSR got a bit irritated that I wanted even 2500 MRs to keep PRG open, when my only spending on it was about $5k - which already included a few used offers and mostly gas/grocery/airfare spending on the rest of it.*

Pick your words carefully. I wouldn't even mention the possibility of closing the card unless you are prepared to follow through. For an old account with no AF, I would be reluctant to follow through. Member is right that a CSR might not know your game (or might just not want to play). Just imagine calling them:

You: Hi. I was thinking about closing my ThankYou Preferred account, and was wondering if-"
CSR: Okay, it's closed. Can I help you with anything else today?

It really can happen that quickly!

And unless you're spending a lot and/or the card has a high AF, there's just not much incentive for an issuer to try to keep you.
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MemberSince99
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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:24 am

For me it HAS happened that quickly. Some of them are DELIGHTED to close the account. You'd think they got bonuses for every account they close (the CSR).

Then it's the obligatory "Was there anything else I can help you with today". Well dude, you just closed my account, so I'm not sure what the hell that could even possibly be, but thanks for asking.

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby CC Deville » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:01 pm

Thanks for the responses guys. I think I will try to put some more spend on the account for a few months and then call to see about an upgrade/possible APR reduction. I can't really blame them for not offering me anything with the small amounts I charge on the account. So I will give that a shot and if it doesn't work I will probably let this one go.

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby kdm31091 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:07 pm

Here's the thing. The whole "threaten to close" shtick is something they've heard 100 times, and as others stated, they may just up and close it.

I don't want to argue about whether you really need the World Elite upgrade or APR reduction, but it obviously bothers you enough to want to close the card over it...is the card otherwise useful? You didn't really mention if you like the card in general or not, just unhappy with being "stuck" with the APR and status tier.I get that to a degree, but if you are barely using it, like you have surmised, you can't expect much out of them, as you aren't really giving them any business.

Also some companies just simply will not reduce APR or upgrade status on certain cards. It may just be hardwired into your card and the policies surrounding it. Not every card can be upgraded, and APR reductions are just the whim of the issuer; some are more happy to oblige with it than others.

My best advice is to try using it more heavily and see what happens, but if it's been open for 16 years and you haven't gotten anything, it may simply just not be possible with the card (although I don't know how long you've been asking for the APR reduction etc)

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby whit » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:12 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:For me it HAS happened that quickly. Some of them are DELIGHTED to close the account. You'd think they got bonuses for every account they close (the CSR).

Then it's the obligatory "Was there anything else I can help you with today". Well dude, you just closed my account, so I'm not sure what the hell that could even possibly be, but thanks for asking.


It's really a roulette when you call in, depending on whether you get a fresh rep or one whose at the tail end of the shift and already has been through a lot of screamers and bluffers

They don't get bonuses for closing accounts but they sure as heck do not get paid enough to deal with some of the folks that are coming through on the line and unlike waiters or waitresses they don't get tipped but they're also liable for time spent on a phone call as in

They should be resolving the issues in 2 mins or less, and if they stay longer they take less calls which goes down for their productivity just as if you walked into a retail store and leave without buying something, they get a conversion report, and if its 2% the DMs will say, that means 100 folks walked in and you only converted 2?

Which is complete bs like you were here for 8 hrs and only took 30 calls which means you spent 16 mins on average with someone, what were you doing? Obviously not being efficient.

Now, not every call is like that, it's an average, so if someone truly had a sticky situation that required the rep to be on the phone longer, they're gonna wanna close easy ones to balance what it looks like in the overall day.

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:33 pm

whit wrote:
MemberSince99 wrote:For me it HAS happened that quickly. Some of them are DELIGHTED to close the account. You'd think they got bonuses for every account they close (the CSR).

Then it's the obligatory "Was there anything else I can help you with today". Well dude, you just closed my account, so I'm not sure what the hell that could even possibly be, but thanks for asking.


It's really a roulette when you call in, depending on whether you get a fresh rep or one whose at the tail end of the shift and already has been through a lot of screamers and bluffers

They don't get bonuses for closing accounts but they sure as heck do not get paid enough to deal with some of the folks that are coming through on the line and unlike waiters or waitresses they don't get tipped but they're also liable for time spent on a phone call as in

They should be resolving the issues in 2 mins or less, and if they stay longer they take less calls which goes down for their productivity just as if you walked into a retail store and leave without buying something, they get a conversion report, and if its 2% the DMs will say, that means 100 folks walked in and you only converted 2?

Which is complete bs like you were here for 8 hrs and only took 30 calls which means you spent 16 mins on average with someone, what were you doing? Obviously not being efficient.

Now, not every call is like that, it's an average, so if someone truly had a sticky situation that required the rep to be on the phone longer, they're gonna wanna close easy ones to balance what it looks like in the overall day.



Understood. It just shows what a bizarre system it is when management tries to measure productivity by how quickly they get you off the phone. Just because they did it in 2 minutes doesn't mean it's the best outcome for the company. Closing an account only means that they will not be making any money off a now former customer, but if the CSR does it in a minute, that looks great to the pointy haired bosses. A better outcome for the company would be to convince the customer to keep the card and put some spend on it. You know, so they can make money, which is supposed to be their purpose for being in business. But if that takes 10 minutes to accomplish, gee that looks really bad. Just shows how clueless management really is.
No knock on the CSRs there, by the way, it's management who measures the wrong metrics. I know, they feel they have to measure SOMETHING to gauge productivity. Well I have a suggestion for what they can measure, and most likely all they'll need is a microscope to do it too.....

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Re: Will Citi attempt to keep a cardholder when cancelling?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:14 pm

I can understand why CSRs are happy to quickly close low-spend, no-AF accounts. It not only has a small but immediate effect improving their time-per-call score, but it also takes one more unprofitable PITA customer (low spend, but PIF and needing lots of CSR time for trivial stuff) out of their customer base. If they can get rid of a lot of PITA customers, that can make things easier for all CSRs at the company going forward, and boost profitability.

I think CCCs realize that some people just aren't going to put much spend on certain cards. Because I tend to allocate my spending to the card that gives me the best rewards, no CCC is making very high gross margins on me. I wouldn't expect any CCC to try very hard to retain me, since I tend to spend on bonus categories, use their perks, and push for extra rewards.

The opposite would be true if I had an Amex Platinum and was putting a lot of everyday (non-travel) spending on it. In that case, I'd be a dream customer - paying an annual fee, generating steady fees from merchants, but only getting a mediocre reward rate. I think Amex would push hard to keep my card open, in that case.
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