August 2008


Credit, Where Due

I have to give the VR Bank Weimar eG credit—they’ve got chutzpah.

Just over a week after I discovered that they had cut my credit limit to 500€ a month because their payment cycle happened too fast for one of my reimbursements and I, briefly, had a negative balance, they sent me a letter SHOUTING GOOD NEWS!


Yes, I could choose between a TRAVELCARD or a SHOPPINGCARD, or even apply for a GOLDCARD, if I so wanted. „WIR HABEN IMMER DIE RICHTIG KARTE FÜR SIE!“ – The letter shouts at me—in VR Bank Weimar Orange Bold Type.

Gee, thanks—this from the bank that cut my credit limit and never bothered to update my account profile information to show the lower limit (it still shows the old limit, even today). It wasn’t until I was standing at the car rental office and my card was rejected that I discovered their reduction—so much for always having the right card for me.

This is, by the way, the same bank that froze my credit card back in January after a database containing the credit card information for several thousand customers was stolen. You might recall I was upset, not because the database was stolen, but because it took over three weeks to get me my replacement card and the only compensation they offered me was to refund the annual fee for the amount of time my card wasn’t usable.

It was a generous offer worth something like 2€.

Meanwhile I was using my American credit card to make purchases that should have been made on my German credit card and paying foreign transaction fees to the American company for €uro transactions.

I learned my lesson and I now carry two Germany-based credit cards—the other one is a Barclaycard Visa with less draconian payment demands. I actually wonder if the idiots at VR Bank Weimar have noticed the fact that I am making payments to a credit card rival—and that my last payment to Barclaycard was over 1,000€ — 1,000€ not charged to my VR Bank Weimar eG Mastercard.

I remark upon this because apparently Barclaycard thinks I’m a good credit risk—they’ve sent me a letter offering to loan me anywhere between 1,000€ and 15,000€.

While I am treating this letter (and the VR Bank Weimar eG’s letter) exactly like the letters I receive from banks and credit card issuers in the States (right into the circular file, that is), it’s flattering to know that after only four months, Barclaycard loves me.

Meanwhile, as soon as some reimbursements are processed and finished, I’m going to change banks. VR Bank Weimar eG’s Miserable Dienstleistung has annoyed me long enough.

My Sports Loving and Sports Metaphor Loving colleague recommends I go with a first league bank like Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank has just written off 2.7 billion Euros worth of loans, but, as Sports Loving and Sports Metaphor Loving colleague points out, Deutsche Bank wins awards.

Furthermore, VR Bank Weimar eG is, as he described it, in the fifth league.

Oddly, I agree, I’m just not sure I’m ready for the major leagues.

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