Aspire Visa Informative - Aspire Card is a Trap
The Aspire Visa Card is a Trap!!
My husband and I originally accepted the undesirable terms of the Aspire card because we had been trying to recover from bad credit. We wanted to rebuild our credit, be responsible, and buy a house. To do this we needed revolving credit to show we could make payments responsibly. Since with our bad credit, we would not be accepted by a respectable credit car, we went with Aspire as there were no other options. We understood the terms, read the find print that was provided, etc. We knew that we were getting a credit limit of $300.00, that we would be charged an annual fee of $150.00 and an activation fee of $29.00. Besides that there was the monthly maintenance fee of $6.50. This would mean we would start with a debt of $185.50. We were willing to make the sacrifice in order to help ourselves rebuild our credit. However, it soon went down hill. Two years later our credit is perfect, except for one thing, Aspire. Aspire is the only thing that is reporting badly on our credit and holding us back from our dreams of owning a house. Why? Because Aspire is now falsely reporting information to the credit bureau and we cannot get them to fix it.
The problems we soon found with being the proud owners of the Aspire Visa Card: First, we did not receive regular statements in the mail. They were hit or miss. But we would certainly get a prompt notice if we were late on a payment. We never really knew when our payments were due. If you call customer service, and can understand what they are saying in their heavy accents, we found out our due date was “on or around the 22nd”. What kind of due date is that? But that is the only answer we could receive from them. There is not any adequate online service to view your account and track your payments and purchases. You can see your balance and make a payment only. That payment online will cost you $15.00. To make a payment over the phone also will cost you $15.00. If we were to mail a payment, it would take weeks for them to post this to our account. If we were 1 day late on making a payment, there is no grace period, it was reported immediately (same day) as late to the credit bureau and any payment received would not count until the next billing cycle. So, if you payment was due on March 22nd, and they received the payment on the 23rd, you would be charged $35.00 late fee and your payment would not count for that month. So, on your credit report it would look like you didn’t make a payment at all that month.
Ok. We went through some financial hardships. Our Aspire account was closed and placed in collection status. A while later when we were on the recovery, we wanted to get things squared away so we could seriously buy a house. We were required to have no late payments in the last 12 months in order to be approved for a house. We each bought a new car, and had all our financials back on track and fixed. Aspire was the last. Aspire made us a deal that they would raise our limit to equal our balance so we would not be over the limit and they would reactivate our account. This way we could pay it off. Sounds ok. So we did it. We made a sizable payment, they raised our limit, sent us a new card, all set to go. We of course shredded the card because we have no intention of using it ever again; we just want to pay it off. Then right after we reactivated the account they charged us a $150.00 annual fee again.
We have a beautiful credit history of 12 months no late payments. We shop for a house, find a house, and go to do up our approval letter. A final credit report is run to check our credit. All of a sudden, we are reporting several late payments for Aspire on our credit. They reported activity on the card when the account was closed. Then began our ordeal. We called to find out why they were reporting activity during the time the account was closed. First, it was difficult to find a customer service person that we could understand. They have very thick accents and we could not understand most of what they were saying. It seems like they have standard things that they tell everyone because they will start a statement like they are reading it and will continue to finish their statement even if you are talking. Customer service was always unknowledgeable. From one phone call to another they had no clue what was going on. The said it was against company policy to provide a history of the account. We spent over an hour on the phone trying to get a history of payments and charges on the account. At first they would say they could only go back to the beginning of the year. On another phone call they would go back a year and half with history. We would ask was a payment made in March. He would answer no. So we would ask when the next payment was made, he would say March 24th. All the information they gave conflicted. So we decided to write a letter to dispute the late charges. We faxed a letter. A few days later we call to check and they said they hadn’t received it. So we fax it again and confirm that they received the fax. They said it would be 7 to 10 days for their research department to research and resolve the dispute. We received a letter from them that confirmed they received our letter of dispute. After a few days we called again. Every time you call you have to go through the whole story again. They insist they didn’t get a letter but we have a letter from them dated to show they did get it. Then they suddenly remember and are like oh yes, 7 to 10 more days. After 10 days they said we had to wait 7 to 10 more days. The next day I was told 30 days. It is completely ridiculous.
After our multiple distressing phone calls, we had a person from the credit department of our lending agency call with us multiple times to try to help. We argued for over an hour. We spoke with a customer service agent, than moved on to a manger name Ryan. We accomplished nothing of course. The next day our lending company pulled our credit again and it had changed overnight. Now the couple of months that reported late turned into 11 months of late reports. They actually changed what was reporting to the credit agency after talking to them on the phone.
It is ironic that the purpose of this card was to rebuild our credit and how it the only thing ruining our credit.
I told the customer service person that will call every day until I get results. Every day there is a different story from them. Nothing is consistent. I vow to list my experience everywhere to warn other about this card. I have already contacted the Better Business Bureau and am going to go to my Attorney General also.