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AbTronic - Scam or not a scam?

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Unofficial mirror of Mike Baram’s

Providian complaint email page

Contents of this page Copyright © 1998-2003, Michael Baram - the original Providian Victim. Go Mike! All of the messages here were originally sent to Mike at his web site. Mike’s commentary is notated at the bottom of some of these emails indicated by maroon type, parenthesis and the intials “MB”.

NOTE: To clarify—When the emails listed below make a comment about “the site” they are referring to Mike Baram’s I Hate Providian Financial web site NOT The emails are mirrored here for those of us that have a hard time reading Mike’s site without adjusting the font size.
From Peter S. -

I ask those who have Providian credit cards to write to their attorney general, and make vigorous complaints of usury at 30%. Why not resort to loan sharks-I spoke to one of their representatives on the phone, who sound like zombies-"You can cancel your account at your present interest". I urge those who have Providian credit cards to vociferously protest to their attorneys general, and other agencies.

(Note: I received this e-mail from Peter on 4/25/2002. What Providian is doing can only be described as "chutzpah". - MB)

From Nicole -

I just wanted to thank you for have a spot on your web site that MADE MY DAY!!!

I to, recently had the "pleasure" of dealing with Providian Bank's "customer service" department & will soon be cutting up my card and sending all the miniscule pieces back in an envelope.

By the way, tell all your friends to be sure and use their Providian Visa at ALL Thrifty Car Rentals so that, they too, can receive the benefit of having their card charged THREE times for the rental and run up over its limit & not credited for THREE WEEKS after they have turned the car in!!!!! (Hey, you might get a 15% discount on your NEXT rental with Thrifty, I did!!!! Although, once hell freezes over I don't think 15% will make that much of a difference.)

Boy, do I feel lucky or WHAT!!!

Keep up the crusade!!!

From Shari -

Reading on your providian experience saved me from making a possible mistake. Thank you for taking the time to educate others.

From Paul -

I was searching for Providian Bancorp's e mail address to send them a sweet letter and the first thing that I stumbled upon was your web page dedicated to the vultures. BRAVO!!!! You have hit the nail on the head. I was drawn into their tempting web of crap too and I am trying now to figure a way out. These people ought to be put out of business. They have been ripping me off for years now. I won't bother you with the unnecessery details of how I made such a stupid move but I cannot seem to get out of their trap right now. I guess in order to protect my credit I will continue to pay the leeches what they want. Thanks for turning a sad moment in my life into a very laughable experience. I really needed the boost of your Providian web page. Thanks again.

From Ingrid -

I found your site when searching for Providian Bancorp. I recently was rejected by a credit card company, contacted the credit bureau and found out there was an error in my credit report. I wanted to contact the bank that rejected me to let them know and, I can't remember for sure, but I think it was Providian. Can you tell me if Providian is the bank to offer mileage on any airline? If it is, I'm going to scrap my search for them. I don't need the extra mileage if I have to deal with "vultures". I'm glad I found your site before I found Providian. (If they are not the company that offered the mileage, I wouldn't be trying to contact them at all).

Anyway. Thanks for making the surfing "fun" today.

From Matt -

I recently ran across your web page when I was looking to see if there was a way that I could pull up my Providian Bancorp account on-line. I must say that you hit it right on the nose. As much as I hate them, you turned it into a hilarious joke.

I owed Providian $3,900.00 out of no-where. It seemed that the more payments I was making the higher my balance was getting. To make a long story short, I came up with the $3,900.00 and paid the balance in full. The problem with Providian was they refused to cash the check for 12 days after they received the payment. This turned into a finance charge of approximately $125.00 for finance on the total balance. I was furious about this and called them and requested to have my account closed immediately. The customer service representative was kind enough to tell me that the only way the account could be closed was for me to send a letter in writing. I did such a thing the same day. Well as of yesterday, I received another finance charge from good ole' Providian on the $125.00 finance charge from the previous month because they delayed [processing] the payment to accumulate interest. So, I again called them and this time spoke with a guy who had more of an attitude than I had. This representative acted as if it was all my fault and he was tired of hearing complaints that morning. Needless to say, I asked why the card had not been canceled and why I was on being charged again. I don't have to explain to you what kind of answers I received from this JERK, but I did demand on the phone that I wanted the account closed and to never attempt to contact me again.

Following my request to close the account, he had the kindness in his heart to offer me a decrease in my interest rate. That is when the words that a preacher would not use came from my mouth. I asked how could he offer me such a deduction in interest rate, when for the previous 6 months on every month I called and requested a decrease in interest rate, and was denied because paperwork had to be processed. How did he get such the authority to do it over the phone without any paperwork? After argueing for approximately 15 minutes with him, he then told me to recite my SSN# and then said your account is closed and hung up on me! What a bunch of jerks.

I, too, am a yankee like yourself which I refuse to apologize for. I did make him well aware of my yankee attitude!


From Robert -

Excellent website for a real purpose. Brought joy to my eyes, after dealing with Providian's customer service regarding their unauthorized charge of $15.52 per month for three years to my account. They refuse to provide a refund, even though they admitted that "Home Protection Concord NH" does not exist and it is really a Providian company. Check your bills close and send a written objection to these charges immediately. Pay off and close your Providian accounts, it can't happen too soon.

From "Pissed off in Arkansas" -

(Of course it's not his real name, but it does lend a bit of oomph!)

This is in response to your page about Providian Financial. I agree--they surely do suck! They did not send us a bill either and the wonderfully sweet people on the other end just couldn't explain how our address got mysteriously changed on their computer and then blamed this change on us saying that any information that they received had to be from us. On more than one occasion, our payment has been late due to a problem with the "U.S. Mail" and not with them. I did inform them that Paul Revere was not bringing the mail in the 1990's and that I was almost certain that my payment had gotten to them by either a plane, train, or an automobile and I was also certain that it did not take any two weeks to arrive there. They were quick to inform me that they did not make any money, depite the $29.00 late payment fee, if I did not send my payment on time. Go figure that one out! I learned alot while searching the net about Providian and at least I am not alone out here getting my blood sucked by these assholes!!

From "Big Mike from Texas" -

I too have been shamelessly violated by those Providian bastards! Starting with the "welcome to Providian" interest increase of 4.5% to the ever popular $29 late fees. Those late fees seem to come as regular as the bills! When I questioned this the last time it happened, I was told I should mail my checks 7-10 days before the due date! How do they get their mail? By carrier pigeon? If you aren't a current customer of these bloodsuckers, they quietly moved up the TIME for crediting your payments from 12:00 noon to 10:00 a.m. Now who on God's green earth can get their mail, process each and every payment received that day and credit all of the accounts by 10:00 a.m.? NOBODY! In essence, your payment is due the DAY BEFORE it's printed date! They are making a killing on these late fees and exhorbitant rates. Their customer service people are certified assholes and they have absolutely no interest in serving their reluctant customers. Just a quick look on the net will tell you we are not alone. Great site by the way.

This came without a signature, but it made my day.

Kudos on this!!! I will be closing my account this afternoon-enclosing a copy of other outraged customers comments from your web page.

From Kristine -

I just happened to come across the Providian page and believe me- I am a sucker also...I have never had so much hatred for a financial institution in my life and I'm hoping to be rid of them before the year (or my husband comes home from Bosnia) is's a downright shame to be associated with that company and I have had many a problem.....

(Note: Having to deal with those leeches while her husband is serving in the Balkans is a double whammy. I hope everything turns out ok for her. - MB)

From Forrest -

I had a credit card issued through Compuserve (I forget which bank) in order to charge my online services (AOL, Compuserve, MSN, and a local internet provider). This bank/card was bought up by Providian and I was issued a new card. So far, just a typical bank acquisition. Right? Wrong.

Well, I began to get the standard offers, "Cash this check for extra cash or to pay for things you want.". Again, seemingly typical credit card offers. However, none of the checks or accompanying literature mentioned annual percentage rates or transaction fees. This made me cautious and I did not use them. The phone numbers to inquire about these offers was only a pre-recorded message, no chance to contact an actual human and ask about the rates. I then got another mailing with more checks to pay off my other credit card balances. But this one was a shocker! These checks were pre-printed with my other credit card company names and had attachments which indicated the approximate balances! A rather agressive marketing strategy which I am personally uncomfortable with.

Around the same time I began to get telephone solicitations from Providian congratulating me on my new Providian card and trying to get me to accept a Platinum card with much higher limits. They immediately began asking me questions concerning my current income which I politely declined to answer. I very quickly terminated the call.

All of this has made me very suspicious of Providian, their methods and tactics. I am about ready to terminate this card because of their agressiveness.

It appears that my experiences with Providian are falling in line with what your other correspondents are reporting.

From "JJ" -

Boy, did I ever relate to your Providian page! We got a Visa from them to rebuild our credit and guess what happened? You guessed it! The by now famous $29 "late fee".

I seem to recall, somewhere in the distant past, a time when a postmark was actually the measure of whether a payment was on time. If any of you suckers decide to open an account with them, you may want to just send an extra $30 a month (until they come up with a new "fee" that is).

From Angie -

I just wanted to thank you for the web page on Providian Bankcorp. I had just received their credit "rebuilding" offer today in the mail. I was looking them up on-line when I came across your web page. [I] think you saved me from a horrifying experience. By the way, their one-time processing fee is at "$89.00" now, not $49.

(Note: $89 instead of $49? Providian wouldn't be getting greedy now, would they? )

From a "current but incredibly wary Providian card holder" -

(Edited for brevity. - MB)

Another comment from another Providian "customer," since 11/97, when I needed a credit card and had very a poor credit rating. A perfect Providian customer, in other words. I haven't thankfully experienced much of the angst and violation you and others have had, but I can see the slippery road I may be on. (I was alerted to the situation at Providian in yesterday's Chronicle Business Section, about falling stock prices in the wake of possible consumer fraud--perhaps there is justice in the universe yet.)

My word of warning, to folks who've opened up a "secured" credit card with Providian. If it's been a few years since you've opened up your account and you've been good (i.e., on time with making payments, not going over your limit) with the card, you CAN request that your savings account be closed, they return the money to you, and the card becomes "unsecured" (welcome to the grown-up world of credit now). However, Providian does nothing to let you know in advance of this option, like reviewing your credit history and refunding the money in your savings account. If you've been good, you can also negotiate that APR down from 23.9% (what I was being charged, igads!) to a more tolerable 16.3%.

I have a major problem with another tactic that is not mentioned in comments made by you or others: Providian will review your credit history and grant credit limit increases, coupled with a $17 fee! You basically have no say in whether or not you want the increase or the fee--Providian explains that they have the "right" to do this, without prior notice or approval, it's in my credit agreement. I have asked them not to grant further increases, thus saving myself from the additional fees. The fee to increase my credit limit infuriates me, and I see, from your web page, how it's part of the larger plan to suck as much money out of customers as possible.

.........Thanks again for the page and all the useful information. Providian will get what it's due, one way or the other. Hopefully, if the allegations hold true, customers will also get their due, in the form of a class action lawsuit!

(Note: See above. - MB)

From Steve -

I just wanted to say thanks for your insight on Providian financial and the credit card offers they send out. I recently received an offer for the 23.99% interest rate card they offer and was online looking for more information about the company before I applied for their card. Now that I read your page, I am happy to say I've changed my mind.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

From Mike -

I too just realized I have been screwed-over by Providian National Bank when I received my first statement. It appears that Providian does NOT have a grace period which means they begin charging interest as soon as I charge on my account! Also on my statement appears charges for Credit Protection at a rate of $12.95 a month, which I was not aware of.

You see, after activating my card, a representative contacted me and asked me 5 or 6 times if I wanted credit protection. Each time she asked me, I replied with a "NO". She just didn't seem to want to take no for an answer and I explained to her that if I had to pay for any type of credit protection then I wasn't interested in the card. Well, here I am, I have my first statement sitting in front of me. On it there is a charge for credit card protection along with finance charges (no grace period) on purchases I never even had a chance to pay off.

Providian does not want to reverse these innappropriate charges. This is unacceptable! I work too hard for my money just to see it thrown out the window. Providian has deceived me in the worst way, and with that in mind, I do NOT recommend them to anyone! I'm paying off my balance, sending them a close letter, and tearing up the credit card! Anyone who has a credit card by Providian should do the same!

From Darlene -

Oh My Gosh! I can't tell you how glad and upset I was when I saw the sight dedicated to Providian Financial. Glad to know that your telling people about what a bunch of sorry people they are and upset to know that what I thought about them was true.

I recently received a credit card with a $1,000.00 credit limit. I had filed bankruptcy approximately a year ago and me and my husband wanted to try to rebuild our good credit that we lost due to loss of job. Well they offered us a credit card and we accepted ( worst thing we ever did). Anyways, every month I send my payment in on time and mysteriously a late charge appears on my monthly bill, because of the late charge being added, it puts me over the credit limit and they can charge an additional 29.00 for the over the credit limit, that they caused by the way. So when I make a 50.00 payment I'm usually about $9.43 over the limit because of late fees, over the credit limit fees and interest which is 23.99%.

They're raking us over the coals and there is nothing we can do about it but try to pay it off or get another loan (which will be hard because of the bankruptcy) to pay it off. Thanks for listening and letting me get out my frustrations. I hope that something gets done about them and I hope they can't trap anyone else in this scam!

Thank you.

(Note: My contempt for Providian is growing day by day because of letters like this one. - MB)

From Sherridan -

You are absolutely right about Providian. They have assessed charges and fees on my account that are so secret that the CIA couldn't find them. They raised my interest rate to a level that no self-respecting knee-breaking loan shark would charge.

I would even discuss how they've swindled my 77-year-old father. Providian Financial should pay for its tactics. They are criminals.

My story is similar to the others on your great web page. They applied a one time 'mystery' charge from Avis Rent-A-Car (for a transaction that I handled in cash, although I used my Providian Visa as the rental deposit) that immediately threw my balance $400 over the limit. Needless to say, my regularly scheduled payments did not cover that, and that's when the fun began. Four months later, I am still paying and with every statement I have another secret late fee or over limit fee. I am just going to tough it out and pay them off as soon as possible, although the company has never adequately explained what the fees are for. It's sick.

These people are crooks and I'm glad someone is finally standing up to them.

From Kirby -

Here's another Providian story...We have excellent credit. They offered us a life time rate of something like 8.99%. We transferred some other credit card balances to it. After something like 90 or 120 days I noticed we were being charged something like 21.99%. I called and they explained that transferred balances not paid off within the specified time went to the higher rate. Yes, it was in their fine print. Shame on me. I usually read more carefully. OK so far. So I decided to take another card offer that came in the mail and close out Providian. We weren't sure exactly how much we owed, so I gave the new company an approximate figure. I called Providian and told them to close the account. The customer service rep agreed to, even though normally they want this in writing. When I got my next Providian statement, turns out we had overpaid (the new card provider had overpaid) by $12.41. So we were credited that much to our account. Luckily they provide those checks at the bottom of each statement. I wrote a check to myself for $12.41 to zero out the account (which Providian had agreed to close) and deposited it. End of account...

Not quite!

The next month I received another statement from Providian. This time it showed the $12.41 "cash advance" (money they owed ME) with a $5 charge for the advance AND (can you believe this?) a 4 cent charge for the interest I had accrued on the $5. Now I OWED THEM $5.04!!...for getting MY money. I called them and cussed them out (literally). They cancelled(?) the $5.04 and cancelled(?) my account - so they say. The phone conversation was only 3 days ago. I wouldn't be surprised to see another statement in a month with some other charge, perhaps a "service" charge for closing my account.

From Bob -

I was slapped with $29.00 late payment fees (on payments made and received 9 days to two weeks prior to the due date) three months in a row. The first month they even posted the payment on the billing satement 9 days before the due date and STILL charged a "late" payment fee. I filed a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Is it possible that Providian indiscriminately charged the $29.00 late fee to All their cardholders and only refunded to those that called to complain? Forbes Magazine is doing a Providian story as well as KRON-TV in San Francisco. The San Francisco law firm of Girard and Green is filing a class action .415-981-4800

The Providian stockholders should sue for their losses, especially if the Providian executives are indicted for fraud by the SF District Attorney.

(Note: Maybe we could stand across from Providian's SF headquarters at 201 Mission St. and watch the rats abandon the sinking ship. - MB)

From Jo -

Just thought that I would add to your list of satisfied customers from the wonderful Providian Financial network. My husband and I recently decided to end our financial headache and get rid of all our credit cards, one of them being Providian Financial. Though we have not experienced some of the same headaches some of your readers have I have a new one for you.

In March of this year we sent two large payments to Providian to pay off our two credit cards; one of them we did not even apply for - it was sold to Providian from Bravo, a subsidiary of Discover. To make a long story short Providian applied both payments to the same account and has so far refused to transfer the credit from one account to the other so that our account will be paid off. Also, they won't send a refund because they say that it has to go through payment research to prove that is where the money was meant to go. Until this is done they will not transfer my funds or send us a refund. I have learned that this procedure can take as long as they want it to take; so far three months. Meanwhile interest keeps accruing in the account waiting to be paid off and if payments are not made on time they will assess a late fee.

By the way, my accounts have been closed since March.

(Note: Who's the CEO of Providian anyway? Franz Kafka? - MB)

From Jim -

We just got our great Providian credit card recently. No annual fee or activation charges but there was a charge of $20 for a second card. First bill came; $20 + $12.95 for credit protection which I immediately called and complained about and was going to send them back. I was told that with no annual fee they had to charge for credit protection. After arguments, they upgraded my card and the charge would be only $7.95.

Ok now I send the $32.95 on the 10th of April, due 16th at Pittsburg, 200 miles away. [The] May bill comes today, credit $32.95 4-19-99. Of course $29 late fee so I have a balance of $29. So next month will charged credit protection.

These people need to be put out of business and their assets, if any, be distributed among the people they have screwed for years.

We were so pleased to find this web site while searching for Providian.

I am not publishing the name of this contributor for reasons that will be obvious. - MB

Hi there.. My name is (name witheld). I just got thru with reading your website about Providian. First thing. I dont want my full name printed on your website if you post this ok?

OK, I have the displeasure of taking the applications for these ba$tards. Before you start booing and hissing, I am going to explain this. I work for a telemarketing company in Nebraska. We take calls for 5000 other companies and products, so with every call I get I dont know until the phone beeps in my ear, what product/service I will be representing.

This week we started to do something else for Providian. We became customer service. Altho, for the life of me. I cant tell how we are helping anyone. All we do, when we get a call on the customer service line, is ask the caller for their account #, and then ask them what their questions are. We have a list of about 17 different answers for specific questions. (none of which really answer the callers questions, it all looks like bs to me, but I still have to read it WORD FOR WORD to the caller because I am required to) I noticed tonight (first night I really had a lot of calls for this) that most of the people calling in, had paid their processing fees (blood money) they had received their cards, but guess what? They're not activated, (in other words, worthless) and the callers were being told in a letter that they haven't paid their processing fees (altho most callers told me they gave their credit card numbers or bank account #'s to pay the process fee when they originally applied). And then, as most of the callers so cheerfully informed me, their cards had an expiration of 8/99 (its 5/99 now!) But I am being told on my info box that the callers (even the ones who already paid the ransom) have to wait 3 MORE weeks to get the card activated. This is so disgusting.

I was really hoping this wasn't going to be like another company we took applications for last year (Ever hear of the Revolution Mastercard? They were Revolting ) When people call and apply (yes people are still applying) we cannot tell them what the apr is, if there is an annual fee (there is) unless we are asked directly. I just feel so disgusted with this whole thing. So much I feel dirty every time I get off of work. I just felt like venting how I can't stand this nasty company.

Most of the companies we take calls for are pretty reputable. (well, there was that William McCorkle guy in Florida who was selling some get rich quick scheme.. I think he was the only one who got rich tho... At least he got put in jail for it... Again, please DON'T put my name on your website. I am going to quit my job as soon as I get another one. (going to go apply at some other places after Memorial day, I wonder if the Mafia is hiring... )

Thanks for letting me vent the frustrations. (I am frustrated and I don't even have a providian card )

(Note: Of all the e-mail I've received, this was the most poignant. No one should have to endure this crap just to earn a living. I hope this person succeeds in finding a better job. -MB)

From Bob P.

Thanks for your great website!! I too had a providian visa with a 1000.00 limit. On the first bill of 189.99, I asked what the 7.95 fee was for and they replied "credit protection". I told them to remove it and they said it was mandatory to keep the account open. I told them to close the account at once, which they did.

I paid off the balance, in full and was charged a 25.00 late fee, and a 7.95 protection fee. I sent the money in when I got the statement, and they said it did not arrive on time. so to sum it all up, I paid a 59.00 annual fee, a 25.00 late fee. and 7.95 Credit protection fee. They refused to refund any of the fees, and said If I did not pay them they would report me late on all three credit agencies.

In short I paid over 90.00 for the priveledge of using their card for one month. Thats over half in interest and fees. It is nothing short of blackmail. You should know that I own a retail store, and have had the joy of telling anyone who presents a Providian card for payment, all about the bastards. Thirty two people to date have cut them up!!! I will continue my crusade till the day I no longer accept cards.

Thanks for all your hard work!!!

(Note: Kudos to Bob for taking the initiative. - MB)

From Theodore -

I visited your website after an accelerated research on Providian Financial; my experience has yet to begin: my wife ordered their service through their offer of low APR and I could not believe that she gave the credit card number over the phone. We have excellent credit history. She was contacted by a sales rep that asked her if she wanted our current credit card debt (about $800) with First USA transferred over - no transfer fees. She declined the offer, explicitly saying "no" to the offer. So we get mail 2 days later thanking us and informing us of the transfer that will commence on June 2nd, transferring our debt from First USA to Providian Financial although we did not authorize it! I wonder what is the best thing to do at this point, we are both very much stressed out by what we read on the Internet. Very shocking. I wonder if we should pay off the First USA debt over the weekend by means of debiting our bank account and in effect zeroing the amount of money Providian will be transferring.

We've already contacted First USA and asked them not to permit any such transfer, but they said that although it'll be in their computer system some negligent customer service representative might overlook it. This is double shocking.

(Note: After responding personally to Theodore, I received the following from him. - MB)

My latest addition to this Providian business is that the news from my current credit card, First USA, is not so good. They have no means to stop the transfer from occuring, even though I offered to pay off the debt immediately and even proceed with closing my account! I was told by First USA that once closed, an account cannot be charged but it can be credited!! What kind of logic is this? I was advised to contact Providian on this, I told them that is an oxymoron since I am trying to prevent Providian from screwing me over although they are aware of what they are practicing. Again thank you for your page and content, you can find some more info at this page ; there are 2 pages worth of amazing testimonies.

From Sue -

I've recently come under the gun with these so called Providian "customer service" people. First off I would like to say that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to even get the right phone number to contact someone. Providian bought my Bravo card. Trying to get a hold of someone who has a human voice is hard. I tried for 3 hours in one day and all I received was a complete run around. Dial this number dial that number...WHAT NUMBER??? After I finally got a hold of someone they decided they couldn't help me. I tried making a settlement. Giving them half of what I owe. NOPE. Don't even try this with them. My account has been closed for a year mind you, so I can't run up a bigger balance than it is now. Wouldn't hear of it. Meanwhile interest rates are running up like crazy on my card. I recently made a large payment (with the help of parents) hoping that would help, but no. How can a bank issue late payments on a card that is no longer active? So being a 26 year old female, living on my own, it's hard to make payments. So to get back at them, and virtually wreck my credit rating, I will file credit card bankruptcy. Just so they get off my back.

From Barbara -

I came across your page by using "Providian Visa" as my search term in Alta Vista search engine after I got a letter screaming "YOU'VE BEEN PRE-APPROVED" (for a WHOOPIE $300 account . . .) from Providian today.

Thank you very much for saving me a lot of money. I put the letter in the trash.

Great page!!

From "A Credit Friend" -

Did you read the account agreement before YOU ASKED for the CARD?? You do have a choice you know!! If you don't want something...don't ask for it!!! It is plan to see that you must have been a HIGH RISK customer to receive SUCH a HIGH rate like 23.9%. This doesn't mean that you have bad credit. It does mean that your credit profile may have some flags that say "If you have an unforeseen emergency (Like a death in the family or an emergency expense like car repairs) that some of your other bills may suffer. This my friend is a RISK to loan out more money to someone who may or may not default on a loan. This is not to say you would default, but the bank cannot know for sure. If you were the bank lending out money or a VISA card, I'm sure your opinion would change. Don't blame the bank. Providian does target HIGH RISK customers, that's who they want. Other banks would turn HIGH RISK customers down for a credit card, but PROVIDIAN does assume a customer will make good on they're account. To take that risk they (Providian Financial) does charge a HIGHER interest rate, just in case the customer does in fact DEFAULT. If you want a lower rate then YOU and ONLY YOU can make that happen by not being a HIGH RISK customer. This is just one point of view I could be wrong...but I don't think so!!



Always READ the account agreement (including the fine print)
It is every consumers responsibility.

(Note: This is a "friend"? I hope he (or she) is athletic. I wouldn't want him to get hurt while jumping to conclusions. -MB)

From "TT" -

Well, you are probably bored with the misdeeds of Providian by now, but here it goes...

I too received a generous "preapproved" secured credit card offer from Providian --one I am sooo glad I did not respond to. Actually, I have received about 5 or so, but I finally decided to read the disclosure on the back of the offer and I was flabbergasted at the audacity of the offer! They had the cajones to "offer" me a card after sending them $200 for a "savings" account, a $25 (generous it seems) processing fee and then charge me a whopping 23.9 % interest charge on MY money!!!!

I could hardly control my laughter as I promptly binned the junk mail!

I feel sorry for the people who were taken in by this usurous(sp?) institution , but I can't believe no one has sued them before now! Some of the practices outlined in those letters are just plain criminal! Unfortunately we are entering an era where usury of the less fortunate is making a comeback as bankruptcies continue to proliferate in this country. We see this in the upsurgence of title loan companies and advance check cashing facilites that charge ridiculous rates to people who can't afford them.

If you have a poor credit rating, it's not the end of the world! You CAN live without credit and if you can't there are other, more reputable companies that can help you rebuild your credit.

I can't wait to see Providian crash and burn!

From Andy -

Over a year ago I started receiving offers from Providian. At first I just threw the offers away. After about the 10th offer I guess I saw the low interest rate and got hooked. I sent off for the card. Here is where the story gets interesting. My credit is impeccable, I have never been late on ANYTHING. Well Providian rejected my preapproved offer. (Thank God). The reason was too many inquires into my credit history. Well I sent off for my free credit report and lo and behold I did have a surprising number of inquires into my history. About 20 of them all by Providian. Not only are they crooks, they are a bunch of stupid crooks. Thought you might be interested in this tale of ineptitude

From Ron -

I just wanted to thank you for you fine efforts to expose Providian National Bank. Did you know that Providian doesn't even loan money? They create a bookkeeping entry on the asset side of their books when you use your account. Recording the receipt of an asset from YOU! Then they use that asset they recorded to supposedly loan you something. They never actually loan you anything but that which was recorded as received from you. In other words you are the source of the supposed loan. They are never out one red cent and everything that you pay them is pure profit.

I took them on in State court charging them with fraud. I was able to keep the case going in State court for over a year, just little old me, pro se. However, The judge was protecting them all the way. I sure wish I had found your site along time ago. It sure would have given me some ammunition to get the judge to stop protecting them. Every motion I filled was filled with reasons the Judge should have made them answer my questions. They never once were made to answer the fraud charges. They eventually got a summary judgment. I am happy to say I did my part to expose them for the counterfeiting theives that they are and have published the case online.

(Note: Here is the link to the site. I assume no responsibility for its contents. - MB)

From Karl -

Great website, full of truth! I just got screwed too! I sent a overnight postal express payment to Providian on July 1st, my payment date is July 6th, it is July 13th and still has not been posted! Nobody knows where this payment is, even though I tracked the mail to the destination, I was told to "not worry" that they indeed received the payment on the 2nd and that I would not incur a late fee, that because of the "holiday" it may have been slow in posting... I call them today to see if the acct posted to get a message saying that my payment is late and that I must make a payment by July 26th!! I was then told that I must send this mail to another address, the runaround is too much to mention! I will delete this acct ASAP!!

(Note: Looks like the Spanish Inquisition is still going on. - MB)

From Roberta -

(Because this is an actual letter to Providian regarding an ongoing process with them, I have made every effort to protect the correspondent's privacy and still provide you with necessary information regarding Providian Financial's attitude and tactics. - MB)

Providian National Bank
295 Main Street, Tilton, NH 03276
(603) 286-4346
(603) 286-2413 (fax)

Attn: M**********

Ms. *********;

On or about June 24, I called your establishment to VOLUNTARILY close out my Savings Account and use it to pay off my Credit Card Loan that I also have with your institution.

I spoke with a gentleman by the name of B******** who informed me that after this transaction there would be a balance of around $6.57, which would simply be billed to me.

Today, July 12, 1999, I received a letter from Providian dated July 7, stating that my Savings account had been "seized". It also states that I have 48 hours to make the payment before I incur "escalated collection efforts" and that it I can stop the "further damage to my personal credit history" and "additional" collection efforts.

I immediately placed a call to the 800 number listed (1-800-803-9641) and spoke with a woman by the name of 'S****'. This woman insisted that it was not a voluntary act on my part but rather a bank seizure precipitated by non-payment on my account. She was both rude and unhelpful in every way. I repeatedly asked for a Manager and she refused to let me speak with one. She hung up on me when I asked her name and what location I was calling into.

I then placed another call and got a representative that was both professional and helpful. (T **** ID# XXXXXX) She confirmed for me that the representative from your institution indeed had made a mistake and promised to rectify it immediately. I am currently awaiting a call from a manager to tell me exactly how that will be done.

This is not an ordinary time in my life. I am attempting to pay off as many debts as possible so that I can insure a homeowners Loan. Whatever you have done to negatively impact my Credit History, I expect to be reversed immediately. Furthermore, if you are at all interested in your customer's satisfaction, the Customer Service Representative that initially spoke with me should, at a minimum, be reprimanded and given remedial training. She is definitely in the wrong job. I am appalled that in today's financial market that someone like that is allowed to represent your company and further alienate your customers.

Please insure that this matter is corrected immediately. I await your response.

(Second letter from Roberta to Providian. - MB)

July 13, 1999

Today I did not receive the promised call from a manager so I called back and spoke with a gentleman by the name of L**** (X***). I explained the situation to him and was informed that this matter 'if' found to be in error would not be resolved for 60 days!

I was also informed that in this 1 day time period the balance due was not 6.57 anymore- now it was $29.00!

He also informed me that he was going to send this to the research department but if I had any intention of calling the Executive Offices (1-415-222-8000) that he was not going to do anything.

I am so outraged at the treatment that I have received and lack the of interest in correcting an error made by your representative. Many things hang in the balance as a result of your error, including a student loan for my son. I expect this to be corrected immediately- not in 60 days.

Thank you in advance for your assistance,

(Note: Rude, inconsiderate, tactless, insulting, threatening, and abominable behavior. Just the things we've come to expect from Providian Financial. - MB)

From Deborah -

I just wanted to thank you for your time and effort in the anti-Providian movement. You are proving that the Internet can be a real advantage in making people's lives better. I received my "$25.00" offer from these shysters yesterday, and thank goodness I saw your net page while I was researching it. I think you just saved me from some serious anxiety! (Yes, I shredded the offer.) I hope that the people who are sparring with them now come out on top.

Again, thanks...

From Robin -

Thanks for the tip. I held the invitation in my hand until the fourth paragraph. Then, as it slipped from my hand into the wastebasket, I groaned. How could I have even considered another credit card??? I just paid them all off, my husband and I are nearly debt free and talking about taking our travel trailer, (paid in full) and hitting the road full time to "clear our heads". Babyboomers, we got caught up in the rat-race and now want a more fulfilling "later years". Glad to know there are folks like you out there, to bring us all back to reality....

From Dan -

I have been a Providian customer for 8 months, and while I have been treated courteously, seeing how Providian has treated other hardworking Americans, I'm cutting my card up immediately and contacting Citibank.

(Note: Hello?!?!? Providian!!!!! Are you listening????????? - MB)

From Steve -

I was once in their clutches too! it was a few years ago and I had forgotten until I recieved a letter from them stating.....get this!!! I was turned down!!! I have an unblemished credit history as far as I know!! (I have requested credit reports in light of this recent refusal by your friend and mine!) It wasn't until I came on-line to search for a toll-free number for them and found your site that I remembered my past experience with them!! If anybody reads this or sees your site and still goes ahead and starts doing business with them...they will deserve what they get!!

I originally got my card with no application fee and things went well for awhile but when I went to close the account and transfer my balance to a lower interest card things became annoying to say the least! I kept recieving statements from them and they told me my account couldn't be closed for a year!! Now keep in mind this is an account with a zero balance and no fees...they just wouldn't let go!! I am SO glad that I found your site and remembered what Jerks they were before I pursued this any further!!

Thanks for speaking out!!!...I heard ya!

From Linda -

I was going to contact them for a loan. . .boy, did you enlighten me with your website. Thanks!

From an anonymous "fan" -

FYI - Providian is not the only credit card company that will increase the APR on customers who are unworthy of decent rates. You must have done something negative to trigger the increase. I find it hard to believe a company could grow from 1 million customers to 5 million in 18 months, if they are generally screwing people over. You will probably do best to not dable in credit. It is obvious you are more gifted for internet propaganda.

(Note: Investigations by government and media organizations, a class action law suit, and three pages of complaints from Providian's victims, and this person makes ME the bad guy? Well, at least he or she thinks I'm gifted. I should be grateful for that. - MB)

From Melody -

WOW!!!!!!!!! First let me take a moment to congratulate you on your excellent writing skills. Did you ever think of Journalism? I to was about to send in my "30-Second Response Certificate" when I decided (as many others) to check into the "Credit Protection Plan". I don't know why you're complaining about $7.95, they were willing to offer me (a preferred customer) this plan for $12.95!!!!! Of course there were some limitations and restrictions in the credit protection plan, but, unless you read the back of their nice letter you wouldn't know this!!! It's kind of like getting "accident insurance", there are so many restrictions that apply it is worthless, in the meantime, Providian is charging your card, plus interest, monthly to have this automatic protection that you don't get to say whether you want it or not!!! Thank you sooooooooo much for your insight into what this company of thieves is all about.

You saved me alot of money and headache, not to mention giving me a good laugh!

(Note: WOW!!!! I'm flattered. After all, I'm just the "Bones" McCoy of the Starship "Consumer". - MB)

From Nicole -

I can't tell you how lucky I am to have come across your site. I received the offer for a $300 card about two weeks ago. The card has a 23.99% rate and also required a $89 one time processing fee. As a college student whose credit really isn't that great, I thought this would be a good card to re-establish my credit. Fortunatley, I don't get paid until the end of the month so I decided to wait to send off my check. Today(July 28), I decided to see what kind of info I could find on Providian. I had already signed the membership card and I intended on mailing it(and my check) after work. However, after reading about the trouble that everyone else has had I immediately tore up the offer and my check. You have just stopped me from making a HUGE mistake. Like I said before, I am a college student, and dealing with Providian could have really hindered my future. THANK YOU.

(Note: I read Nicole's e-mail while drinking my morning coffee. Best cup of java I've had in a long time. - MB)

From Darlene -

Thanks for keeping me from making a huge mistake, I was looking for credit repair when I saw your bulletin, Doesn't sound like they would help at all, probably hurt.

Thanks again.

From Amanda -

You have got me really scared now!!!! I filed bankruptcy in 1996. I've had a Providian Visa since October 1998 and recently obtained a Providian Mastercard as well. What have I done?!!! My story is like this: $29 one time processing fee (mastercard didn't require one), my first payment to them was a day late--they tried to charge me 169.00 for it being late with a list of crap to tell me why. I called them and I still ended up sending them 70+ to make up for a day! I have been blessed with the $59 annual membership fee on both cards. I refused the credit protection on a SUNDAY and I hung up the phone cursing at them for calling me on a Sunday to begin with and kept saying no. Then, the representative (this was before the mastercard) asked what I thought they could do to reward me for having good credit standing with them and I said cheaper interest rate (both cards are at 23.99%)

So, I get an offer in the mail for the mastercard after that. I haven't really had a problem with them THAT I KNOW OF. Now that I've run across your site--I'm going to go over my statements with a fine toothed comb. I want to pay them off after the first of the year--how hard is it going to be (both cards)? Thanks for the info, I wished I would have found it sooner!!!!

From "Almost got me in New Jersey" -

I WAS considering applying for Providian's MasterCard special - instantly approved credit card with ridiculously high rates. After reviewing your site and reading the responses, the first thing I will be doing after this e-mail is ripping up the invitation. Thank you so much for saving a life. Keep up the great work.

(Note: New Jersey already has HUMONGOUS mosquitoes. They don't need another type of bloodsucker. - MB)

From Marvin -

I do agree with your opinion of Providian, I too was suckered into their trap of getting my credit straightened up by applying for their card.

I received their card almost 2 months after I applied for it, They took the original 89.00 out of my checking account to start the account, and when I finally received the card, I already owed another 89.00 to which they so graciously applied to the card for the annual fee.

I went along with it, Then me and my girlfriend went to the store and bought a stereo for 149.00 and put it on my card, By the time I got my first bill in the mail I was charged for all this stuff plus two months of late charges and interest. The funny thing is when I got my first bill was like 1 week before it was due again, and I was in the hospital for an illness, I called them from my hospital room and told them to take the payment out of my checking account since I was in the hospital, and could not mail a payment in time, so they did..,But out of the graciousness of their hearts, they raised my credit limit another 150.00. And then they enrolled me in their disability insurance plan and charged me 149.00 for it..

So to make a long story short,thanks to Providian the stereo that I bought at Walmart for 149.95 now is costing me 558.91 the grand total of what I owe Providian for being so kind as to give me one of their cards..

This was not signed......for obvious reasons.

Your diatribe against Providian is really quite pathetic. Perhaps Providian does err in assuming that prospective cardholders are INTELLIGENT enough to actually read and, God forbid, understand their terms and conditions PRIOR TO agreeing to them.

Obviously, those bandwagon-hopping morons whose comments you included in your website were among those NOT intelligent enough. Read the terms. If you don't agree to them, do not open an account. Simple, eh? Maybe all banks should administer an intelligence test before allowing someone to apply. No...bad idea. There would be no customer base under those conditions.

Bet I don't see my little comment on your website. And yes, you really should apologize for being from New Jersey.

(Note: Even this person's e-mail address was obviously phony. It's so nice to deal with an "intelligent" person. But for now, I'll stick with the "bandwagon-hopping morons". They, at least, don't snipe from behind bushes. - MB)

(Another note: The "New Jersey" comment did go a bit overboard, don't you think? I wonder if this "fan" has any real friends.)

From Kevin -

I appreciate your site I wish I had seen it sooner. I sent in the $89 fee and then found your site. When I did I contacted Providian and told them I wanted to cancel. They said when I recieved my card to cut it up and send it back to them and they would issue a full refund minus a $59 admistration fee even though all their forms say full refund and do not mention a fee. I recommend that everyone who has been screwed by Providian file a complaint at so hope fully (sic) we can get them put out of business.

Thank You

From Hank -

Ran across your site while researching Cross Country Bank, the only credit scam worse than Providian. If the CEO of Providian is Franz Kafka, he moonlights as a consultant to the Marquis de Sade at Cross Country.

Nice job with the Providian personal experiences. There was briefly a site devoted to Cross Country victims, but lawyers from that beloved institution threatened legal action and shut it down.

Anyway, I was happy to see someone else my age can be taken by these kinds of crooks. It takes a bit of the sting out of the humiliation I experienced at the hands of these incredible loan sharks.

I also enjoyed your reading list. After what's happened in Washington in the past few years, another J.L. Chamberlain would be a godsend, if he brought only half his integrity to current politics.

Best of luck

(Note: If Gen. Chamberlain were here today, he'd probably have too much contempt for the system to dirty his hands. - MB)

From Todd -

I hear you. my problem is with their marketing and sales strategy. They won't leave me or my wife alone! We still receive solicitations from them after repeated requests to be taken of their mailing/telemarketing lists. they are the WORST "financial institution" i have come across. The offers themselves are insulting, with 19.97% APRs and lord knows what kind of hidden and unreasonable charges in the fine print.

Bravo for such an informative and well-put togther site. We need more people like you.

Long live the Consumer!

From Larry -

Thanks for the tip on Providian. I was suspicious about the low "fixed" rate they were offering but went ahead and sent in the response card anyway. I haven't even received the card yet and am already receiving up to 4 phone calls a day offering other financial services. I decided to call them and see if I could possibly stop the phone calls. While I was looking on the internet for their customer service phone number, I came across your web page. I used the phone number you provided to not only request that I be taken off the phone list but also to cancel my card application before things got worse.

From Lisa -

Thanks for your helpful and interesting information about Providian. I saw their commercial and thought their card would be good for a friend of mine who has never had a checking or savings account, and definitely never a credit card, but I wanted to check them out first. A couple other links Metacrawler came up with made me doubtful, but your page really got my attention, thanks again.

From Pam -

I was trying to check out information on my new credit card I just applied for Providian and I saw your web site. I must confess after reading your site I am afraid to get this card. I have already applied and been approved with a high limit. My credit is not that bad so that's why I thought they had given me such a high limit. I guess I got tricked too cause I did something I have NEVER done before and that is transfer all my balances which totaled 1000.00 over to Providian now after reading your site I am so afraid. I have not received my card nor statement as of yet cause I just did this about two weeks ago. You know now that I think about it I kinda had a strange feeling about this cause it was just to good to be true. I think I will call them and reverse everything. I thought I had made a decision to move forward but I see I was just moving backwards.

Thanks for the information

From Kelly -

I was surfing the web to check out the credentials of Providian Financial after they had sent me an invitation that seemed too good to be true. This invitation for a VISA platinum card with 5.99% FIXED rate - no annual fee - credit limits up to $100,000 sounded like the card for me. After reviewing your web page, I feel as though I was about to embark on a terrible journey. I wish to express sincere gratitude to you and all the folks who commented on your web page - it changed my mind!

From Frank -

Just wanted to drop you this note. When looking through the latest news on today (8-25-99), I reviewed a story describing recent downturns in the banking industry. Coincidently, I happen to be looking for a new bankcard and was curious about the Providian offer as described in the Bloomberg report (see below). After using infosek to perform the search, I saw your site and was curious about your experience. Now that I have visited your site, I think I'll pass on Providian. I wonder how many visitor to your site have stayed away from Providian given your commentary? We'll - just keep your site going - maybe you'll be able to wear the !!!!! down.


Thank you for your page on Providian. I had NO CLUE that all this nonsense was going on. I recently opened a Visa account with them and kept wondering why every time I sent in a $100 payment, my account would only be credited for about $60 (tells you how closely I look at my statements!).Your site has been an "enlightening" experience.I guess I need to write a letter in order to close my account, so I'll be doing that today.Thank you for the info.

(Note: When a trap is elaborately prepared and concealed, anyone can fall into it. - MB)

From Merv -

If you've had problems with PROVIDIAN VISA, file a formal complaint with the OCC (The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury.) Their WEB site is

Providian offered us a Visa Platinum card at 7.9% with a credit limit of $25,000.00 and a transfer of balance rate of 12.99%. We read the small print that required a copy of our existing rate information and mailed it accordingly. But, after 2 months our rate went to 21.99%. When we called they said they received the information 1 day late. We decided to close our account and sent a payment to pay off the balance. They posted a $750.00 fee for not holding the account for 1 year. BEWARE - STAY AWAY FROM PROVIDIAN - FILE YOUR COMPLAINTS WITH THE OCC.

From Marie -

Thank you for your web site. I just made the mistake of returning an application to Providian with a $29 check for a Visa. I knew something was fishy because they kept soliciting me with applications even though I have a really bad credit history. I kept reading the fine print and thinking, "Man, they're really gouging their customers. 24 % interest with no grace period!" But I finally succumbed because I thought it is a necessary evil to have a credit card these days.

But yesterday, instead of receiving the actual card, I received another solicitation for "credit protection" for $149 for 2 years. And there's no way to receive the card without the credit protection? I knew something was wrong, really unethical about this bank. So I did a search for "Providian" and lo and behold! I got your web site.

Oh my God, I feel like such a sucker! I can't believe how many people have so many horror stories about this "lending institution." Man, it's cheaper to borrow money from the Mob! I am going to write a letter and cancel the card right away. Forget the $29 processing fee. I'd rather kiss that money good-bye and cut my losses before Providian starts hemorrhaging money out of my checking account.

So thank you for the testimonials. Do you have the address to which I can write my cancellation letter? I haven't received the card or my first statement yet, and I don't want to wait until they hit me with the $59 annual fee.

Thank you again

(Note: Providian's address is 201 Mission Street, SF, CA 94105. I assume that they DO read their mail. - MB)

From Harold -

Good material about Providian. I applied for a credit card a few weeks ago and started to get a funny feeling about them. I decided to search the internet under "providian and fraud". Boy, there are a lot of complaints about them. I just got off the phone with them and told them to cancel the card even before I got it. When I told the customer rep why, she didn't want to even hear about it. Now I only hope I can get the $49 back.

From Glenn -

On the morning of Sept. 7th, I mailed out my $89 processing fee check for my pre-approved Providian Visa w/$300 unsecured limit. When I got home from work, I decided to look around the net and found your website. I immediately called my bank the morning of the 8th and not only put a stop payment on the check, but also barred Providian from doing an electronic bank draft through my checking account. Seems they like to do that sort of thing, and my bank was aware of them!

I am from the old school that a man's word and business should be conducted in the utmost of honesty. I didn't find that to be the case from what I read about the Card sharks at Providian. I wished more people could see your website before getting suckered into a financial nightmare.

I can't tell you enough how relieved I am to not be a part of their schemes. We'll see how the stop payment goes. My bank is backing me 100%.

Thank you, again,

(Note: Amazing! A bank helping someone fight Providian? And I thought my cooperating with a lawyer was remarkable. - MB)

From Glenn (part II) -

I requested a stop payment on Sept. 8th. for the $89 processing fee. Two weeks later, I got a real nice letter,(hmm) telling me since my check had been returned for insufficient funds-not a stop payment, mind you!-, Providian could not open my account. It went on to tell me I would not qualify for ANY future opportunities for a Providian card in my lifetime and if I were to receive anymore offers to promptly discard them.

I am going to check my credit report in a couple of months, just to see if they mess with it. Any future mailings I will keep in a file for if I need to reciprocate legally, I am documentally sound. It is October 17th, and I have yet to receive back my stop payment check. Thanks again for saving me from a financial nightmare.

From Julie -

We opened a credit card account with Providian about 3 years with a security deposit after a business bankruptcy thinking it would help us to establish credit again. Although we haven't had the horror stories presented on your website, they have divided and conquered us in a different way. Every 6 months or so, they send a letter telling you that you need extra credit for those "unforseen emergencies". They are trying to appeal to your emotions at this point. Just sign here and we'll bill you a one-time processing fee of $79 and increase your credit limit by $1,000. We always trash the offers but eventually they just "grant" the increase anyway. Such nice guys, don't you think? They know perfectly well that if your credit limit is increased, you will probably use it, emergency or not. Especially for people who have had a not-so-perfect past with credit, this is criminal because they are just setting you up to be indebted to them for life. And that is exactly what we are looking at. Our balance is up to $7,000 with over $100 going to interest every month. It makes us sick. We are in the proverbial trap because when we make our $200 plus payments every month, we don't have any money left to live on so we have to keep using the card! We have no other resources. They have us and they know it. Maybe we should default on our payments a few times and then they would stop sending us "good customers" credit increases. Bottom line is that it is our own fault for getting mixed up with credit cards but Providian is sure waiting in the wings for their chance to monopolize on peoples' misfortune and need. Readers: don't sign up if you haven't already. And if you have, try and get on top of it now and get it paid off and closed before you get sucked down to where you are at their mercy! What a bunch of corporate creeps!

(Note: You heard it here. "Readers: don't sign up if you haven't already." Thanks, Julie.- MB)

From "a rudely awakened Yankee!!!!!!!!!!"

Greetings from the Great Northwest!

I started out this morning with a cup of coffee on a quest to figure out whether or not I could pull up my Providian account over the internet. Well, well, well.........I keyed in "Providian Visa" and hmmm.....there your website was....included with all the "Providian" sites! Being a curious one, I went on it to see what it was all about. Hitting me like a freight train is an understatement!!!! I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that a class-action suit was even going on!!!!

Needless to say, my cup of coffee turned into four!!!! I read through ALL the letters in your "complaint" department, and was rudely awakened! I owe you a BIG THANK YOU, as I will quickly be destroying my card and closing my account!! I thought I was the only one putting up with my complaints about service/billing, etc. Unfortunately, I haven't heard about the lawsuit in the newspaper or on TV, as I haven't had much time for either forms of media since obtaining a Visa from them. That'll teach me, huh?

After reading one of your letters (about someone getting their outrageous APR lowered), I called them, just for see if they'd lower mine if I told them I was going to close it. Well, guess what? They DID....all the way down to 16.99%. How "generous" of them, huh? Hmmmm......maybe if they said 1.9% I'd change my mind. Just kidding, of course!! :-)

Well, to cut a long story (somewhat) short....I also read thru your home/web page and just HAD to e-mail and tell you that I think it's terrific! I'm 1/2 British, so.....needless to say, I love the Churchill references. Who knows, maybe I'll go order a T-shirt! :-)

Well........I wish you luck in your quest to shut down Providian. You can happily add me to your list of those who have been rudely awakened. I refuse to become another innocent Yankee (yes, I am!) for them to slice and dice!!

All the best,

P.S.----Do you ever have time to respond to e-mails like mine?? :-)

(Note: I DO respond to every e-mail I get. After all, you guys are my main weapon in this campaign. And anyone who considers my home page "terrific" is obviously highly intelligent, erudite, and articulate. - MB)

From Kathy -

Thank you for creating your site on Providian Bank. I have excellent, though maxed-out, credit. I received an offer for a 5.99% Fixed rate credit card from Providian. I considered using it to transfer balances from some higher cards, but decided to do some research on the web first.

Based on your site and a few others, I have ripped up the offer and am considering myself lucky to have escaped a nasty experience I didn't need -- possibly hurting my credit and landing me in more debt than before. If I had signed up with Providian I bet I would have received a notice in 6 months or so that my 5.99% "Fixed" rate was being raised to a usury 23%.

If anyone wants a recommendation on a credit card, I highly recommend USAA Federal Savings Bank Mastercard. I have had it for years. They have a competitive rate, and they have always been ethical in their dealings with me.

From Barb -

I was sure Providian had a lot of complaints, so I checked them out on the net. My husband just recieved a pre-approved application, and I checked it out. They won't give you the terms of the agreement before you sign up unless you request it in writing. Many people foolishly sign these applications and send them out.

I was one of those people. I received a pre-approved application when they were called First Deposit. Before the card came I was solicited by phone to receive the full pre-approved amount of $5,000. I asked how much would the payments be and for how long? I assumed it was a loan by their bank. He said $105.00 for 5 years. I received the check before the credit card. I soon found out it was billed directly to my visa, with a $98.00 finance charge, making my 105.00 payment only a 7.00 reduction in my balance . I felt cheated, but I had allready spent the check on dental work. I had this account for at least 3 years and my balance was never going anywhere despite making double payments occasionally. I missed a few payments here and there but always paid the late fee, and my account was up to date when their lawyers contacted me demanding full payment of the balance. I told them I was up to date , but the demanded I pay through them because of previous late payments. I couldn't pay the balance so I had to agree to a judgement agreement by first letting them sue me in civil court. My name was in the paper , along with a whopping lawyers fee bringing the balance well above the 5,000 original amount they financed.

So for 4 years I paid them all this money for nothing!!! Counting all the late fees and double payments I sent them plus my account being up to date at the time!!!

When I spoke with their phone representatives, all but one treated me like I was a deadbeat. An older woman with a spanish accent did treat me kindly, and was very sympathetic to me. I could tell she hated her job!! (and the people she worked for).

From 'e' -

I recently quit Providian Financial (that's right, I was an employee).

I worked in one of the call centers and have seen first hand some of these experiences. I wanted to let you have an "insider's" opinion. The last thing I want to do is justify what you or anyone else has experienced at Providian. Basically, most of what I've seen is people who were having problems with their accounts. But there are satisfied customers, too. How they can be satisfied with 23.99%, a $59 annual fee, and $500 credit limit is beyond me! Honestly, I don't know much about what goes on in the executive office or the validity of the company.

But all the publicity and questions about their integrity has helped out a lot of people, I know that. I just wanted to let you know that people like you have helped out. I actually heard a co-worker talk about your site and that's what drew me to it. If people keep persisting, Providian might actually be an ok card to have! Maybe (I still would never get one, though). One thing people need to realize is, if they have a problem that they want resolved now, or they are unhappy with the service, ask to speak with a manager. Or it that doesn't work, call the executve office. Since the news has publicized them, they are reversing erroneous fees from the past, they will do much more to resolve issues and they are much more efficient with payments and don't post as many fees. That doesn't mean they are not still greedy, however. Just don't put up with their shit. Threats and persistency go a long way. Anway, good luck to those who are battling.

I hope I don't sound like I'm justifying anything they've done. I hated working there. But I do know all credit cards suck. I've had nothing but trouble with my Capitol One credit card. I say use cash. By the way, they now ask if they've satisfied you at the end of every call. Pretty pathetic, huh.

(Note: Hooray for grass roots action. It's amazing what an aroused citizenry can accomplish. I hope the critics of this site pause and re-read this letter. - MB)

From Carol -

I am so glad to have found your site. It helps to know that I am not the only sucker around. I hope they get what they deserve.

From "eroy" -

I wish to thank you for the information that you have posted regarding the Providian company. I have had a credit card account with them for several years, however I had not used the card for a long time. Then one evening around suppertime I recieved a call from them asking that I transfer a balance to them, any amount above $200 and I would recieve this great rate of 4.9%, plus I would also get a rate of 7.99% on any purchases after I had transferred the money to them. Well this sounded like a great deal, and I did transfer about $300, and since there were things I wished to purchase I also took advantage of the low purchase interest. I since then was surfing the web and noticed several complaints against this company. One was of them selling credit protection without customer approval. So I examined my last statement, and sure enough I found that I was being charged for credit protection that I had not asked for. I called the company and they did agree to remove the credit protection, however they first offered to sell the protection at a lower rate. I stood firm and told them to remove the protection, wich they reluctantly did. It is odd the charge for the protection was higher than the charge for the interest. I do plan to transfer my entire balance with Providian to another company. Again thank you for the information, In the future when one of these companies calls me begging for their business, I will politely hang up the phone.

Thank you

From Michaela -

... I recently filed bankruptcy, but was very careful in rebuilding my credit. I received an offer from FCNB and was approved. I carefully checked them out before responding, and accepted the card. Yes, the APR is 20.50% but if you don't run up your card to it's limit, you can buy small things(no more than $50)and pay them rather quickly. I tore up Providian's offers after reading several disturbing postings about them on the net. I never responded to their offers, it seems that once you acknowledge them either on the phone or thru mail, they sink their clutches into you. For all of you who have made the mistake of dealing with Providian--it's not your fault!! You only wanted to rebuild your credit--I understand. Try going thru your local bank for a secured card to rebuild credit, and again, I mention FCNB--First Consumers National Bank. They have been very nice---I have had no problems with them, and they checked out as being reputable with no complaints. I am sickened by what Providian is doing--this is criminal and should be stopped TODAY!! Aren't the complaints numerous enough to proceed to court yet? I had never heard of this company before six months ago when I began to receive their offers, and then I researched them, as I always do before sending money to anyone. I shuddered with relief that I didn't just send in for their card blindly.

I had excellent credit before being laid off of my job, and had to file bankruptcy. I have since learned to keep credit cards at arms length. They are OK to have, but please, keep them LOW on balances. Your credit will build whether you have a $5 balance or a $5000 balance as long as you pay it on time. And research all offers with the Better Business Bureau. God Bless, hang in there, and pay Providian as quickly as you can and close the account. Thanks,

(Note: I edited out some very effusive praise for this site. I prefer to bask alone in the glow. But Michaela offers some very good advice, and I thank her for that.- MB)

From Dawn -

I cancelled my card in April and paid the balance in full. Every month since then I have received a $29 late fee! When I ignore the bill, the next month I get a late fee on the unpaid late fee!!!

When I first applied, they nailed me with a $7.95 monthly "credit protection" charge that I did not authorize and wouldn't remove it until I said "cancel the card. Right now."

Their payment due dates are IMPOSSIBLE to meet---I have received due dates that are less than 10 days after I received the bill! I have paid bills on the day I received the statement and STILL gotten a late fee! In fact, I have gotten a late fee on almost every statement I have received, no matter WHEN I made my payment!

I called today about yet ANOTHER late fee (on a card that has been paid in full since April or May!) and was informed that my last payment was on August 23, and it was due August 17th---on a card that has been paid in full for 6 months! They are charging me late fees on my late fees on a paid-up account! I told the woman that if she would check my account, she would discover that all I have been paying for the past six months are late charges, and I refused to pay another cent. I told her to remove the charge from my account immediately and she said she would "look into it." ????? Look into what?? The account is paid up---has been for months! What is there to look into? Late fees on late fees on a $0 balance?

I am going to try to join the class-action suit. They have hundreds of ill-gotten dollars that belong to me and I want them back---with interest.

(Note: I've been told that Providian is trying to present a "kinder, gentler" face. Looks like I was misinformed. - MB)

I answer all my e-mail, so after responding to Dawn I got the following update.

Well, I thought I had killed the account in April when I cancelled it. The idiot Customer Disservice rep turned me over to a supervisor as soon as I said that I wanted to cancel the account, and the supervisor asked me why I wanted to close it. (I had just received a bill for a late charge that I KNEW was bogus and I was pissed.) I told her that I had other credit cards with MUCH larger credit lines, MUCH lower interest rates, MUCH smaller late fees, and a reasonable time between the issuance of the statement and the due date. I got this rude, curt, tight-lipped "your account is cancelled as of now" from her and she hung up on me!!

You know, I never charged much on that card---a few hundred dollars at best---and I think I paid more in "late charges" than for legitimate charges and interest. The person I spoke with today said my most recent late charge was reversed as of today and that my next statement should be for $0, and after that I should get no more statements.

So, when statement time rolls around again, I'll look for that $0 balance. If it's not there, I'll let you know. And thanks for that website---it's killer!!

(Note: I'd better watch it. A few more compliments like that and I'm gonna start selling my autograph. - MB)

From Jeff -

Boy, I have to check my statement when I get home tonight, this is big stuff. I am so glad I haven't taken them up on their offer to pay off my other bills. Every time I get a call from them, get the distinct feeling I am being hustled, for once my instincts were right. Thank you for exposing these leeches.

From Wendy -

I received a solicitation from Providian and at the bottom of it is a website address to contact. Well, while looking them up I ran across your site and thank goodness I did. Reading through your article saved me from becoming future "Vulture Food".

What a brilliant way of expressing your anger and frustration. You know, you could have gone "Postal", but, instead chose to create a sounding board for yourself and others, and for this, I applaud and commend you.

This is more or less a personal note, I owe the US Government $250.00 for unpaid taxes for 1998 and they sent me a note threatening to repossess my home if I don't pay up. Isn't it amazing how my $250.00 is keeping the budget from being balanced, but yet, horrendous practices such a Providian's continue.....only in America!

Keep up the crusade and best regards.....

(Note: You have to understand, $250 here, $250 there and the government is out $500. Were talking major deficits here. - MB)

From Chuck -

Thanks for the info on Providian. I got an offer from them today for 5.9% FIXED RATE Platinum. I couldn't figure why they were so low when everyone else had fixed rate of 10% or higher. After reading your page I now understand.

The application is getting shredded after I call Providian and tell them why I'm not interested. I'm sure you saved me a lot of hassle.

From Everett -

Your website just saved me a lot of grief. I received an invitation for a Platinum Visa in the mail with a generous 5.99% APR. Not an introductory rate, but a fixed rate. Sounds great don't it. But I wanted additional information, but there was no phone number to contact them. The only information they wanted in the invitation was your name, social security number, home phone number, and work phone,..OOOH, ... and of course annual income. I wanted more information, but of course no phone number on the invitation.(Love that word,...Invitation. I guess they're doing me a favor) I decided to see if they had a website. That way I could contact them or at least get a phone number. That's when I ran across your webpage. All I can say is, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Note: If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. "Caveat emptor." - MB)

From Robert -

Chalk up another sucker to succumbing to Providians chicanery. We got a secured credit card in order to help clean up our credit record (the amount was about $200). After stumbling across some amazingly hard times, we had to make a payment on the card that had been cancelled. Much to our surprise the amount we owed was over $1200.00!!! How can this be considering our secured amount was only $200.00? I wrote Providian asking them to send us an invoice or a bill detailing how our debt reached such an astronomical figure. No response was received. Soon we're getting calls from a collection agency who handles all of Providian's accounts. The gentleman I talked to told us it was all in late fees!!!! THEN, THE GENTLEMAN TOLD ME THAT,"UNFORTUNATELY,SIR, YOU HAVE PICKED A BAD COMPANY TO DO BUSINESS WITH. THEY WON"T GIVE YOU A BILL SHOWING HOW YOUR CHARGES ADDED UP. IF YOU DON"T PAY,THEY JUST KEEP ADDING ON TO THEM. THAT'S HOW THEY OPERATE." We have refused to pay all the fees. We have given them the $200.00 and more to get the collection agency off our back, for now, but they have been calling again.... often. I told them they will not get another dime until we get a bill. Is there anything we can do or should we just pay them off and be done with them? This is truly amazing.

(Note: It's getting harder and harder to keep my food down when I hear stories like this. What's worse is that I don't have a solution for Robert's problem. - MB)

From Doris -

Thank you for sharing your experience with Providian. I saw a commercial advertising this credit card, and the people said it was the best thing since apple butter. Guess where they were running their commercial? On Court TV!!! What a hoot!! I thought before I call the 800 number let me see what kind of information is on the net.

Again thanks a million.

(Note: Hmmm, Court TV. That figures. Criminals, lawyers, and other assorted low-lifes. - MB)

From Flo -

Hi my name is Flo and I to have fell into the providian nightmare. I recieved my credit card around June and payed the yearly fee. I used the card for around 25.00 that month. The next month I recieved my statement one week before it was due and there was a $7.95 fee for credit protection on the bill. When I recieved the offer it asked me if I wanted this protection and I checked No. Well it was attached to my bill and it gave me one week to pay. I immediatly sent the payment to them and my check wasnt cashed for approxametly 10 days, that made me late. I called them and they said I should have been mailed it out about 10 days before the due date. My reply was I didnt recieve the bill until 7 days before it was due. They did cancel the credit protection after a bit of argueing but my very first payment was Late. I asked them why they didnt look at the postage date and they said they post it when they recieve it. It didnt take the pont (sic) express 7 days to run a letter and they are telling me that it took 10 days for them to post my payment. They held my check and deliberatly made me late. From now on I send it overnight mail so I know that they recieve it on time, Although it costs a little more they cant get out of this one. I only use the card for emergencies now and pay it off so the blood sucking company doesnt get rich with my money. They continue to mail my statements only 7 days before they are due and when the annual fee comes due I will be arguing that one too. THANKS FOR LISTENING

(Note: Sound familiar? Sit on the check until the due date passes. There should be a law requiring institutions to process payments within a specific time frame, or pay a substantial fine per case. - MB)

From Jennifer -

Hello! Excellent site. Providian is currently screwing me. Poor ole me with no money and they charge me something new every month. Even though I am cancelling. I sent them a long letter with my dispute and they sent me back a little fine print letter that did not explain my griefs and was not even the agreement I signed.

So, I have contacted the better business bureau and I urge you to do so also.


Update: On 12/10/1999 I received the following notice from Jennifer. Looks like the good guys won this time.

Hi. I contacted you before congratulating you on the Providian Sucks website you have.

I wanted to send you an update on what has happened since... I mailed the Better Business Bureau and told them how I was being screwed by Providian about a month ago. Today I received a letter from Providian stating they are taking away all charges I had in question and offering me a free waiver on a late charge.

Call the Better Business Bureau! Excellent way to scare them.

Thanks again for the site.

From "Anonymous" (and it's clear why he wants to remain so) -

I just quit working at providian financial and would like to stay anonymous...., A company like this needs to be boycotted and be sued to the hilt! I am ashamed that I spent 8 months working there, but if it makes your web page readers happy, they treat the employees just as bad as the customers....I also wanted to tip you off that the Aria accounts online are also Providian please avoid that card as well!!.....

When I left, Providian was gearing up for a propaganda push, about customer service and employee they are beginning to feel the weight of the publics evidenced by the action started in Connecticut recently..., they are only concerned with their bottom line....not yours...and not it's employees...!! Property owners especially beware, Providian does have an agressive attorney network, and will sue to collect unpaid balances....with the suit, they go as far as they can to have liens and levys please beware.. close your acct.. and be rid of them as soon as you can...!!! Transfer your balance, but be careful as providian has and will buy other accts not in their name!

So be on the lookout for anything card or statement that mentions Providian!!!

yours in peace!

a former providian employee!!

(Note: I do not make any of these up. - MB)

From Bill -

Thanks for posting a web site as open and gutsy as yours. I briefly glanced through your home page, and intend to return to it as soon as possible, since the majority of your "attitudes" correspond with mine. Now to the subject at hand

My wife recently received a statement from Providian Financial for a yearly membership fee for a Visa card she never applied for ! We already have a Visa and two other cards from reputable financial institutes and have excellent credit.

Where do these vultures get the cojones to send her a statement for a yearly membership fee? And where did they obtain all the necessary and private information (like name, address, and S.S.#) from? When I called them, I had to enter the last 4 digits of her S.S.# to access her account that they so thoughtfully set up for her without her knowledge and/or permission. This, of course, informs me that the bastards have all the pertinent data on file already. When I called, I was given the old runaround, and never was able to communicate with a living, breathing (even heavy breathing would have been acceptable) human being.

I am usually very polite and respectful when corresponding with large institutions, but after reading the horror stories posted on your web site and several others, I'm going to give these jackals both barrels full in the face. I have found that there are numerous law suits pending against them for deceitful practices (how can they be called practices when these vultures are good at what they do?). Thanks again for the info I need to go armed to the teeth against these scavengers.

(Note: "Jackals"? "Bastards"? "Scavengers"? And he says my site is "gutsy"? Bill, if Henry Plantaganet could kick the French army's butt at Agincourt, you have a damn good chance to win this one. Go for it! - MB)

From Jasmine -

Thank you thank you thank you............................

I'm not alone. No man is an Island. I can't believe what I'm reading here. I have already emailed one of the attorneys on this case. Like many of your site's visitors I typed in Providian under search... I was determined to write to their President about what they've been doing to me. Thanks for saving me time. I can assure you I will not be giving them anymore of the $5,000 I owe them. They can take me to court if they want and I wish them luck. I don't know what else to say. My husband and I are dumbfounded and relieved at the same time to know we were not imagining things. I suppose we should be relieved that they aren't treating us different from their other customers after all... equality should count for something.

Thank you for exposing the vultures. Keep up the good work.

(I e-mailed Jasmine for more details. She responded with the following. Iíve done some editing for the sake of brevity.)

I didn't notice anything wrong until 2 months ago but I should have started paying attention to my bills at least 1 1/2 years ago. In June 1998 I cashed one of those checks they send. It was for 3 thousand dollars. I never charged anything else to the card after that and made my payments every month. My credit limit with them is for $5,000. When my August 99 bill arrived it said I was $17.00 over my credit limit and that I should pay it along with my regular payment so I wouldn't be over my limit. I paid it and didn't think anything of it. Well, September bill comes and says I'm $29 over my limit and should pay that with my regular payment.

I had just gone through an ordeal with Direct Merchants who purchased my PNC Bank Credit Card so big bells went off in my head. Since I keep all my bills (since 97) I decided to educate myself. That's when I realized that I had not charged anything to the card (except for credit protection) for 18 months. I was making monthly payments of sometimes close to or in excess of $200 and not only had my balance not gone down but I was suddenly over my limit!!!!!!! I got on the phone and asked them "How is this possible? You must have made a mistake" The nice lady supervisor looked at everything supposedly (I say supposedly because this was October 10 and I still have not seen a bill from Providian) gave me a credit here, a credit there, cancelled credit protection and Bingo! my amount due is just under $5,000. I asked the nice lady to look into why this had happened because the cash advance portion of my bill should be under $3,000 by now not $3,030!!! She said she would and call me back. She agreed with me that there was something strange there.

Well, 2 months and 5 supervisors later I have: no answer, no bill, and a phone call every week reminding me that, as of last night, I owe $85 to bring my account up to date. I've consistently told all these supervisors that I would not be making any payments on my account until I received an explanation in writing about the cash advance portion of my bill plus a bill showing the lowered interest rate (to 12.9% on both purchases and cash advance supposedly). Last night I started looking at the interest rate on all my bills and it's steadily risen since 97 to where I am now at an atrocious 23.3% on cash advance.

I can't believe I've been this blind for 2 years. But I'm awake now and they've picked the wrong Crusader to crucify. When I get mad I keep name, dates and everything. They are going to pay. I've got an excellent credit rating. They'll be the only black mark on it. I don't think anybody is going to question that.

(Note: I'm glad I'm a vegetarian. Getting a story like this on Thanksgiving can definitely kill any desire for a big meal. - MB)

From Jody -

I just have to say THANK YOU to all of you who have enlightened me. Providian called and offered my husband and I some wonderful credit protection for only $150. We immediately declined since we didn't feel it was necessary and amazingly enough even though we said NO! every time they called (which was repeatedly at the dinner hour) they still managed to charge us for it. I do not quite understand how they have the authority to do such a thing but I immediately went on the rampage to get my money back. No such luck. We had paid the card off and had no other balance. I refused to pay it and amazingly enough they never took it off even though I called every day for 3 weeks. Then when our next bill came that we didn't pay because it was supposed to come off they billed us a late fee. When we finally got them to send us half of our money back they still would not reverse the late fee. ( you should know the ever famous $29) Providian now has on its record that they sent us the whole $150 but according to my books I only received the first half. Could it be that I have been swindled? Of Course. Now I know we are not the only ones. Thank you for taking the time to write in also.

(Note: This site would not exist without all your comments. I join Jody in thanking every one of you for caring enough to share your experiences. - MB)

From Darci -

Well I'm sure your life is just not complete without hearing just one more complaint about Providian. My husband and I recently filed bankrupcy and have NO credit. I received a letter in the mail saying I have been approved for a unsecured credit card with a limit of $500.00. WOOOHOOO - but, hey, it's a start. I sent in my $49.00 "proccessing fee" and waited about 2 months for my card. Finally I got it and called in my activation numbers to get charging!! So, it's Christmas time and, how handy to have a credit card!! Ya right!! I charged it up to about $350.00. I hopped on line to see if I could get access to my account and accidently stumbled onto your site. I was getting really scared from what I was reading and decided to call and get a balance on my account. Well sure enough, trouble was starting already. There was a double charge on my account. The same vendor, the same amount, processed the same day and had the same conformation numbers. So the wonderful customer service @$$hole I was talking on the phone with - quite simply said, "you'll have to call the vendor and get it taken care of on that end". So I did and of course they said it was Providians fault!! SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! Well I have only had the card activated about 3 weeks and have not received a bill yet - I am getting really scared of what this may turn into. I have already written a check for about $25.00 more than I know I owe on the account!!

I have been taken and it sucks!! If I had a spare $49.00 (processing fee) plus $59.00 (annual card fee)laying around - why would I need a stupid credit card??!! Thank you so much for posting these letters!! I have definitely learned my lesson and hope the next few months won't be hell for me!! I hope they close my account without any problems and they can keep my extra $25.00!!!! But in the UNLIKELY event that they give me problems - how should I be prepared for problems with them??

Thank you again!!!

(Note: Keep EVERY scrap of paper dealing with Providian. I'd even record any phone calls to them, but I don't know if that's legal. Do you suppose that the People's Democratic Republic of China can add Providian to their list of US mainland targets for their missile program? - MB)

From Jim -

Hi, I too was dumb enough to get involved with Providian several years ago. In reading through the responses you've had on your page, I was somewhat gratified to see that I wasn't the only one who's has problems dealing with them. I, too have had payments that mysteriously got delayed by the mail, thereby incurring the infamous late payment fee. I've also had statements that simply did not appear in the mail. When I called to ask, I was told that it had been mailed on schedule. When statements finally did arrive, they were dated 10 to 14 days before the postmark date.

I'm getting ready to find the money somewhere and just pay the damn thing off. I can do without the headache.

Thanks again,

I received this wonderful letter from Stephen G. I thought you all might enjoy sharing it with me. Isn't it nice to know that there are such tolerant, bright, and understanding folks out there?

Hey MB, Been reading your homepage and some of your stuff. Wow. You truly are an idiot. Ya know it's a free country when imbeciles like you can spout your ignorance / stupidity. Do you have a day-job?

I feel sorry for your children. I really do. It's a shame. Children need a strong father figure, yet yours are stuck with a clown like you. God, where is Social Services when you need 'em?

When I think about you heading home from work (or I guess you're home all the time?), your children have to look at you and be embarassed. What a terrible shame. I hope you are able to improve yourself. I feel very sorry for you.

(Note: I did respond to Stephen. I explained to him that I do have a day job with a very nice income, that both my children are grown and, as I write this, are adventurous enough to be touring in Asia - one in India, one in Thailand, that I am always improving myself through professional courses at local colleges, and that there is no need to feel sorry for me. Really, there isn't. - MB)

From Teresa -

I am writing in regards of your site about Providian...

I had a card with them about 1 1/2 years ago and I went thru all the late charges and and interest rates inclined. Which least to say that I have always sent my payments in on time... I called to cancel my accoutn and they said that I couldnt close the accoutn until it was paid off in ful--so I paid it of in full--and then it wasnt stil closed. I had to call and make another request to close it. But the thing was---They kept it open instead of closing it; like my first request was,, so that they could charge me my annual fees that next week. So then I had 59.9 something charged. When I called the second time to close the account--I told her that I had request before to close it and I was told that I couldnt do so until I paid it off; she said it was untrue--acted like I was lieing... Said she couldnt take off the annual charge--so I requested for amanager to call me--and never did. I attempt to reach one for a week, I finally gave up--paid it and camceled it...

That is tacky and a awful way to get rich off people..... I see where they make their money--I just cant see how they keep getting away with it..

Good luck to all.....

From Packy -

I too was looking to see if I could access my Providian account on-line. You did a swell job with your meta-tags, so of course you showed up in the search list. I've read all of the Providian comments with a short break to review my statements. (hehe) Luckily, other than the way high interest rate, none of the other Voo-doo points have pierced my account, which hopefully I'll be able to close without any undue pocketbook torment.

Note: On the "notice of change..." The notice states that "this includes making your payment to us AND YOUR OTHER LENDERS ON TIME and keeping your Account balance..."

No wonder Providian accesses ones credit bureau information so much. They are looking for OTHER LENDERS you might be delinquent on or over the credit limit to excuse slapping you with higher payment and/or interest rates! Who made Providian the credit card industry goug guardian?

Another thing, those who've paid with checks but have received late pmt fees despite paying on time. Check your checks. The cashed date is printed on them beside the date they were deposited by Providian. These dates will arm you to dispute late charges. Suggest you use the three governmental or legal resources linked by persons commenting to this site.

Hope this helps. Fight, don't cave.

(Note: Thanks, Packy, for the "other lenders" info. Even I missed that one. - MB)

From Joshua *-

I have received a bill for a credit card that I do not have. Providian has extracted $49.00 from my checking account (Dec. 29, 1999,) and I have not received any sort of credit card from them. I have, however, received my first statement bill from them on January 20, 2000. This statement showed my current credit line of $1.00 (that's right, one dollar) Now, I have never made a charge on this account, yet I am receiving bills?

No one seems to know who I can talk to, the money is still gone from my checking account, the 800-number that is supplied on the back of the statement is only a recorded line, every time the computer says,"please hold for the next available customer representative," I end up being rerouted back to the beginning of the pre-recorded message.

I am on hold with Providian right now, as I have been for almost 20 minutes. This is the second time today that this has happened. This is absolutely unacceptable. I don't know whether or not this interests you in regards to your battle against Providian on behalf of the consumers you represent, but if I can give you any more information, such as copies of the statement sent to me, a copy of my banking records, etc., please don't hesitate to contact me:

(* Joshua's letter was sent to me as well as to law firms. I wish him luck. Providian has stretched the limits of credulity in this case. I will not publish his personal information for obvious reasons. - MB)

From Susan -

My name is Susan and I just finished reading your web page about the Providian Credit card. My sister has a card thru them and she actually loves, Im glad I read what everyone else had to say.

I had a card thru Capital One (which by reading what Providian does-they are sister companies) and I ended up owing about six hundred dollars (even when I only had a limit of 200.00). It all began with charging over my limit--which I didn't...the card was supposedly used on a monday for a purchase of 100.00..well, I hadn't bought anything. Their customer service is about as good as Providian...but these guys quoted bible verse at me...!!!!!

Anyway, I filed bankruptcy. I won't be applying for a Providian card or any other real soon....I can hold off the need to be anally raped by those guys.

Keep up the good work!

(Note: It's not exactly about Providian but you get the idea. And "anally raped" is a good description of what's being done to the consumer. - MB)

From Barbara -

I'm embarassed to say that both my daughter and I have been sucked into the "Providian Void." I just came across your website, and we both decided to check our statements. Well, low and behold, my daughter found late payment assessments for payments received before the due date, and we both had our interest rates jacked up even though we have never gone over our credit limits or made payments past the due date. Mine was recently raised from 19.99 to 23.99, and hers was raised twice--once from 18.99 to 19.99, then again to 21.99. Also, her annual fee was raised from 59.00 to 75.00. She called and talked, twice, to their "helpful" reps and was given two reasons for these increases. 1) They had to increase the interest to compensate for those cardholders who didn't pay their bills and defaulted. 2) They had to pay for their advertising, somehow. Silly me. And I thought that paying your bill on time and staying below your credit limit increased your standing with their company and would merit a interest rate DEcrease, not INcrease. If I could go back and do it over again, and my daughter agrees, I would trash my pre-approval and not get mixed up with this bunch of Bolsheviks.

A word to the wise: JUST SAY NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep up the crusade.

From David -

Thanks alot for creating your website "Providian sucks". I was contacted late at night this last Saturday by Providian and told I owed them $283 which includes a late fee. They told me at the start of January about 5 transactions (which I made in October of last year 99) had come in and bounced my account. Because I did not pay the full amount overdrawn in January, I received a late payment fee and over the limit fee along with the amount I have to pay. Too bad no one notified me of this IN January, not to mention my statement at the end of the month showed a positive available balance with a minimum payment of only $55 not $283. Even their own automated system showed a positive balance. I was treated like a criminal and told if I did not pay it in full I would be charged a $58 a month in fees plus interest until I could pay it off. Not to mention my credit record probably looks horrid now. Through your website, I found the consumer affairs page and have made a complaint. Thanks for helping me out, I guess I'm not alone.

From "Wiser" -


Got time for one more? I decided to take advantage of the Providian program. In the mail I received a Providian Buy Smart card and booklet telling me of all the savings I would receive using their program. Several days later I received my Providian Visa card. Neither card was activated by me. The other day I received my first statement charging me $119.00 annual fee for the buy smart card (they never told me I would be charged a fee for it) and get this $7.95 a month fee for the visa card whether I used it or not. Was I pissed. I immediately got on the phone and spoke to accounts to CANCEL my membership with Providian. Did I add that they were going to charge me almost 21% interest? Not what was orginally offered. Boy did the Customer Service rep do some fast talking.....told me that they would take the $119 fee off, etc. Without wasting any more time..............I cancelled the account and demanded a new statement reflecting a ZERO balance. I recorded the entire conversation and took notes...........I will keep you informed. By the way, I told Providian that I investigated then through the web and see that they have MANY dissatified customers and that I was NOT going to be a victim. I was grateful that I read you[r] information.

Thank you

From June -

Thanks for the Providian page. I remember being absolutely hounded by these people telemarketing their loans last year. I begged them to quite calling me. I didn't need money, couldn't they get the picture?

Today I received another offer in the mail and considered it because I need another credit card to keep some business purchases separate. Remembered to look it up because I had this suspicion. Your Providian site confirmed my suspicions.

We have experienced the same conduct, especially holding payments up that had been sent in plenty of time until they were both overdue and overdrawn from two other companies. We canceled both offenders of course, and took our lumps. But it was extremely difficult to disentangle ourselves and pay the cards off. Once I paid one card off and complained when they charged me late fees and was told "your card doesn't have early payoff privileges."

........Thanks again for your help in exposing those monsters. I guess we have to take care of these things ourselves. The government certainly doesn't seem up to it. And your site does a great job of it.

All the best,

(Note: Now we know how the Spartans felt at Thermopylae. - MB)

From Aussy -

What an awesome site!!! I think you should have a Dollar for every person you have saved from becoming a victim of these criminals. I would gladly send you one!

I was tempted to apply for the card. I did hear one friend of mine having problems with them, but hey- everyone has at least one problem or other with a business. After hearing some "good" things, I decided to check them out further. Man am I ever glad I did!! My husband's ex-wife ran up his cards to the point where his only way out was bankruptcy, besides the divorce. I thought this would be a great way to build up his credit again. Well, you did us a big favor and looks like you saved us mega trouble and money. Thank you.

Here's something that might be useful for all the postings you had on your site about those annoying call from Providian and other solicitors. There is a small program you can download on Just type enigma in the search. It's a wonderful tool to quit being called again and again. It allows you to ask the right questions, type in the information you need while you speak and posts the law in case they give you any sort of excuses. If they don't hang up, you have a legal tool on file against them. AND: with this tool, YOU're in charge of the conversation, not them.

Keep it up,

From Irene -

Hello Michael!

Thank you for your very informative sight regarding providian financial(they don't deserve to have their name capitalized). We currently have one of their cards and fortunately have not suffered any of the nightmares that some of the other folks have encountered. Having had credit cards in our earlier years, we fell into the c/c pit but managed to pay them off and then couldn't get any. Several years had passed and whalah one day providian mailed us one of those already approved apps. We filled it out, returned it with the $29. fee and was billed the annual fee on first statement which I paid before using the card. As of this date my balance is $5.16 which I had to call this morning to find out where it came from as I had paid the previous balance of $49.74--an amount their automated system told me was the balance. This was prior to receiving the monthly statement. I stumbled upon your sight as a result of trying to find them online. WOW! what an eye opener. Since we had gottem their card we now have three others. Just a few minutes ago I phoned one of their call centers reaching Arlington Texas and requested a credit limit increase and was told that was done automatically every 3 months if your account is in good standing. I informed this rep that our had had been reviewed for some time--since August 1999 I think and that our account has always been in good standing. She informed me that it would be looked at in May. I also requested a lower interest rate as it is at their regular 23.99% which the young lady attempted to inform me that is the only rate they offer because they are dealing with people of "less than perfect credit" and that this rate is very competitive. She went fishing for an answer when I asked who they are competitive with and that we currently are holding cards with 12.99% no annual fee no application fee and a credit limit well over $5000. Now that I've exhausted your eyes and told my story, I will mail them a $7.00 check, wait for a zero balance on the automated system and the phone system and will definitely will cancel this account. I agree with you and everyone else who has had the misfortune of dealing with these folks. It is terrible that a government such as ours cannot or will not do something about the fact that this organization is prevailing upon the poor of America.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

From Jim -

Hi, my name is Jim* and I am a Fighter Pilot serving in Germany.

I have been in this business for about 20 years and have flown about 3000 hrs in high performance fighter aircraft. I have (or soon to be without) a VISA Gold card from Providian. I was informed (after being a good customer for 6 years) that my account was being terminated because I live overseas and Providian does not service accounts that are not in the US. I told the customer service rep I was in the US Air Force and have lived here for two years. She told me "It is noble that you serve in the military, but we can no longer service your account." I wrote a scathing letter to the Cust. Serv. Dept. and told them 1) Even though I live overseas, I have a NY address (all APO addresses are NY) 2) I will turn the Providian Corp in to my investigative branch and urge them to put Providian on the restricted list to all active duty and retired military persons, and 3) The usurious interest rates place them out of the competition for my business. I also told them to look at your web page and get an idea of what the consumers feel about their "fine" organization.

Freedom isn't easy.

* As a matter of policy I don't divulge correspondents' last names unless requested to do so. - MB

From Debbie -

This is a response to the web page on providian visa. I would just like to say thanks to you for your web page and even though I have already sent in my 49.00 I will not use that card when I receive it in the mail. Your website along with all the people who responded to it really convinced me that as a young women of age 19 that this would be a way to really ruin my credited before I even have a chance to establish it.

Thanks A Million!!!

(Note: Debbie is a college student. Too bad the schools don't give courses in how to avoid the credit trap. - MB)

From Tania -

I'm originally from South America and usually because the corruption of my country (Argentina), I don't trust in anybody....but because I have no credit here, I WAS on the way to apply for Providian....Thank you I better pay by cash and wait to create a good the way I guess Providian has a deal with Bally's Total Fitness..I have a damn contract for three years with them and there is no way to get rid of them....

(Note: I doubt if there's a connection with Bally's but sleaze finds its own level. It's a basic law of economics. - MB)

( I normally don't promote commercial sites, but I received this from Dan, and I'm posting it as a link. I assume no responsibility for any of the content of Epinions, Inc.'s web site. - MB)


I read your page about Providian - sounds like they tried to pull a quick one. Anyway, you can read and view other's opinions on Providian at our website Epinions. have you seen us before? Take a look at Let me know if you have any questions or comments.


Daniel K. Speirs
Epinions, Inc.
Personal Finance Category Manager
Tel: 650.616.6578 *****New Telephone Number*****
Fax: 650.616.6510 *****New Fax Number*****

From Sarah -

First of all, I'd like to thank you for your great website. I had my problems with Providian in the past (starting when they were First USA), but did nothing about it besides call their customer service reps AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH with a problem for about four years. I finally was so fed up that I got a loan at a higher interest rate and paid them off. I was never an at risk borrower, so I qualified for a 12.9 interest rate ( 21.9 if you cashed one of those 36 checks that they send you per year, which your money doesn't start paying back until all lower interest balances are paid). In the time time that I was a customer, they "accidentally" changed my address four times, then charged me late fees and over limit fees on bills that took a month or two to find me. When Iraised enough hell about the address changes, they started not posting my payments until three weeks to a month after I'd mail the bill, thus the ubiquitous "late charge". This was sufficient to piss off my husband, so he called to rip them a new one. Their response to him was that we needed to overnight our payment or send it via certified mail, otherwise, they couldn't guarantee that our payment would be in time. In other words, pay $3 instead of 32 cents to mail a friggin' letter. We started mailing our payment the day we got the bill, but still got a late fee. Our next tactic was to pre-mail a payment before we got the bill in a hand addressed envelope to the address that appears on our bill( the one that goes in the cellophane window when you mail a bill off.) Voila! We still got that great fee (which by the way , started at $5 a month and increased every month by $5 until at the end of our experience in 1998 it was $35. When I called these people to see why my bill was late this time, they told me I'd sent it to the wrong address and gave me an address in a completely different State! (For P.O. box, no less! ) So, payments in pre-printed envelopes go to one State, but handprinted go to another, Part of the scheme? Dr. Evil would have his pinky up to his mouth by this point! We finally deduced that there was no way to pay these people on time and had our credit union pay them off, and close our account for us, probably a good move, because we avoided any account closing fees or nightmares. Our bills also frequently included mystery charges in the neighborhood of $29, but these charges were conveniently located in the lower left hand corner of the billing statement in a tiny box next to daily computed interest ( eye catching, wouldn't you say?) Toward the end, the late fees were also relegated to this obvious area instead of in the new billings area in the middle of the page.

Anyway, my husband recently noticed a blurb about the 300 million dollar settlement, so I started scanning the web and found your wonderful site. I'm just thrilled that those fuckers got theirs, but would also like to know who gets reimbursed for fraudulent fees with this settlement.

Thank you!!!!!

From Kristy -

I just wanted to say that I love your home page and also your information on Providian. Unfortunately, I found the Providian info too late. I just received my new card and I have already transferred a substantial balance before I knew they were such a horrible company. That's just plain stupid on my part. I should have researched before I applied! Oh well, I am just hoping that with the lawsuit that was recently settled they will be more customer conscious. You can bet I will be watching very closely. Your pages are great and I even bookmarked them under my subject of "Just plain good reading". Thanks for all your good info.

(Note: I wish I could say I'm embarrassed by all the praise, but my ego thrives on it. - MB)

From Lynn -

My daughter sent your site to me. She is stuck in the Providian trap, too! I feel so bad for her. Have been trying to advise her how to get out of debt but she has a few credit cards that are similar.

About a year ago I received a Providian offer for a card at 7.99% and applied. I have great credit and many cards with good rates. But this was even better. Sooo, to make a long story short, they turned me down. (I've gotten 3 good cards since). I called to find out why but didn't get a clear answer. But was told I could try again in a few months. I saved the offer. Thank God for your site! I will not even take the chance of ruining my good credit with these sleazes. I can only assume they turned me down because they realized I knew too much about credit cards to fall into their trap. On every card I get I 3rd degree THEM to make sure there are no hidden charges. And when I get a really good rate, I cancel another card with a higher rate. I have one or two at 10.99% and am not happy with that! I had one at 9.99% "locked in" and when the rates were recently raised by the Gov, this one went up, too, to 10.99%. Pissed me off on principle and immediately canceled the card.

I try very hard to protect my credit having had bad credit some 25 years ago and really appreciate your site. I just wish everyone had the wherewithal to check first!

(Note: The greatest threat to unscrupulous businesses is an informed consumer. Nice going, Lynn. - MB)

From Angela -

I started my account about 2 months ago. I got my first statement on the 27 of July. Payment due on Aug 6. I noticed they charged me an annual fee. When I started the account they said there would be none. I called and they told me that their computers were down. What was my question? I told her, and she suddenly had a working computer. She totally screwed my question up and mentioned a processing fee. I told her that it wasn't a processing fee. After argueing with her she said> "Mam you weren't charged a processing fee." No shit! That's what I said. She tranferred me to new accounts and I had to tell another woman my situation. Well she told me that the annual fee was no longer "an issue" it was taken off my account. I can't believe they tried to screw me on my first statement! Should I close my account? I read alot of the letters on your website and I am kind of worried. My husband and I declared bankruptcy 1 year ago, and would like to re-establish a good credit rating. Do you have any suggestions?

(Note: Get rid of the the account ASAP and check with your local branch of Consumer Credit Counseling. - MB)

From Autumn -

I buy things pretty often on EBay and pay them via PayPal. Well, I get ready to send my paltry little $22 winning bid on a small necklace off and WHAMMO, I am DECLINED by my credit card. What?? I just mailed a payment in on 9/9, two weeks earlier. I have good credit. What's the problem? Apparently I was over my limit. Ok, fine, I just purchased a home computer for my personal company business I am sole proprietor of and as I do not have a business card yet, put this on my private credit in the meantime. I pulled $1500 out of my company savings plan, payable Thursday to my checking account, to pay off the balance by 9/30. So how over am I?

$1. 00

Yup, that's right, one dollar. I wanted to charge $22, and have $21. So I ask, ok, look, I need a credit increase for $5 or $25 then, whatever. I only have 3 days to pay via Ebay to this vendor or I'll lose my bid. The supervisor gets on when the rep gets confused. She gives me a spiel about how they regularly review for additional credit and since they did this way back in May, automatically, they don't feel it necessary to do so when I NEED it--now. Regardless of the amount. So I patiently explain the situation to her and she is completely indifferent, it will take 2-3 weeks to increase the limit (kinda negating the purpose of a credit card there,> since if I HAD 2-3 weeks, I'd just pay for it with my savings plan money, duh) and they'll send it in writing. Obviously she wasn't getting it. (I've never had a problem getting an increase with Discover, they LOVE people who charge and pay off every month). So after all this rigamarole, I just said, thanks for NOT helping me when I needed it and slammed the phone down.

I will be cancelling my card with this last payment. I have 20 other offers on my desk at home and I'm taking one of them...

Thanx for letting me vent. Providian sucks!

(Note: Shailesh Mehta, who is chairman, president and chief executive officer of San Francisco's Providian Financial Corp., has been appointed as trustee of the University of California by Governor Gray Davis. I hereby award to Gov. Davis the esteemed "Order of the Greased Palm". - MB)

In my response to Autumn's e-mail, I included the artice referred to above. This is her reaction. The short article can be found on the first page of this site.

Wow, Mike, I had no idea. What a public service announcement!

Feel free to quote me on the below too. Oooooh I'm mad.

I just took lunch at my desk, and decided to read through the postings on this site rather than just scan though. I had NO IDEA I wasn't the only one getting the ubiquitous $29 late fee when I *thought* I'd sent my payment in on time. This has happened twice in a year now and my boyfriend was wondering aloud why I wasn't mailing them on time---I have enough money to pay my bills and I am a very consciencious customer regarding credit. I told him I knew I was, it had to be the mail. I thought perhaps mailing the check a week in advance wasn't enough time and am resorting to two weeks recently.

But you know, if the post office can get a money order to Utah from VA in 3 days, why can't they get my stupid payment 3 states away in 7??? I also didn't realize they charged me a $17 limit increase---you know, the one I DIDN'T ask for---but they wouldn't give me a lousy $5 increase at *my* request for an Ebay purchase!!! It's called credit when you don't need it!!! And they charge you for it! Not only am I cancelling my card, I will photocopy the statements on the website, along with my own emails and six million pieces of their formerly valued plastic card all cut up so they can see exactly what I think of them. Wow, I am never ever again using these people. Who knows how much worse my credit could get with these "hidden late charges" out of nowhere. Thanks to everyone for warning me, I wish I'd known sooner...

From Chad,

3 weeks ago my girlfriend found the website and read their page for "applying online for the Aria card". Well, after she read all the "GOOD" stuff they wanted her to hear and so she decided to go ahead and apply. MISTAKE!!!!!! they forgot to mention that there was an activation fee until AFTER she applied and was approved. Now she just "Canceled" the card and was told that the fee was waived and should be "Credited to the account within 5 to 7 days." Now if the fee is "WAIVED" then why should it be credited back to a "CANCELED" card. HMMM, i think the problems are beginning to start...... Anyhow, she was smart and got the person's first and last name and was told he was the supposed Supervisor. However, when she asked for the confirmation code she was told "We do not use them" and that she should not worry. She also was told to "just discard the card and we'll send you a statement showing the credit to your account and a ZERO balance." This just be me but how do you CREDIT an account that was just CANCELED. Well, enough raving, we'll have to see what happens next. BTW, thanks to your site we've decided to not take ANY Providian shit and if this should go any further we will NOT hesitate to take them to court!!!!!!! :)

From Robin -

I to have been ambushed by Providian. My husband and I were "pre approved" by for a Providian Visa just months after going bankrupt, (due to many hospital bill). Foolishly we accepted hoping to rebuild our credit. Ha Ha the joke was on us. The intrest was outragous, you'd have thought I was paying the payment on a Lexus instead of the intrest on a credit card. And here I am 3 years later trying to pay the $4200 I owe them. I pay 3 times my minimum payment and still incredibly, I am not getting them paid off. Providian is a rip-off and I cant see how any one deserves a credit card from them. It is should be considered inhumane for them to give anyone credit. And one last thought, I think every one in the customer service department should be given a Providian card, just because they are so kind and helpful. (HaHa)! Thanks for your great website.

From Jeff -

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

I was in the process of filling out my pre-approved credit card certificate when I saw your website. My GOD!!!

Only in the USA can a company knowingly practice this sort of deceptive business. Thank you so much for this site. You have saved me the future headaches which seem even worse than dealing with my health insurance carrier.

thanks, again

(Note: Letters like this tell me that what I'm doing has some value. Thank you, Jeff, and thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences here. - MB)

From Kam -

I found your "I Hate Providian" website during a search for bank account seizure laws (interesting), I just want to say that I do agree with you on the fact that they suck big wind! My husband recently was approved for 2 cards from Providian, (both unsecured, both for $500). He gave them our bank account number so that they could retrieve their blood money (processing and app fee) electronically. They sent us the cards and THEN went to the bank account using the wrong prefix, so that they didn't receive the blood money. They called us and we told them how to proceed. They promptly did the transaction WRONG again (which we didn't find out till later). After 1 month, when we were expecting the first bill, they sent a letter telling him that his cards were CANCELLED because they didn't get their processing fee! Unbelievable! After we had already spent about $200 from each card, believing that we would only have to deal with the minimum payment! Now they expect us to pay them IN FULL for the amounts we charged! Ludicrous! They are idiots over there and I'm glad someone is finally exposing them for the jerks they are. We are sending them the small amounts we anticipated, and don't care if they like it or not!

(Note: The rest of Kam's letter was a disagreement on my feelings about rap music. You can't win 'em all. - MB)

From Mike -

Regarding Providian............. they are so bad it's unbelievable.

I have a Visa Gold from Providian. There was originally a $1000 "pledged" savings account because seven years ago I was financially challenged and I needed the card. Since that time my credit has become excellent and I requested the withdrawal of this original savings account of $1000.00. Providian said no problem and that I would have the check within 7 to 10 days. That original call was on 7-4-01. It's now August 2 and still no check.

They are now "researching" the check prior to stop payment on it to make sure no one has cashed it (certainly not me).

Researching will take, guess what....7 to 10 days.

It's amazing that not one monthly statement in 7 years from Providian ever missed getting to my mail box, but this check representing MY money gets lost in the mail ! I do not believe they ever sent the check in the first place.

The worst part is that every time I call them, I get a new story about when I'm going to get my money.

Bottom line.....Providian is BAD news and I consider them the enemy at this point.

From Jennifer -

i was reading through your statements and responses about Providian and I have one thing to say.. If you people would pay your bills on time and not always max out your cards and go over limit every day, you wouldn't have these problems. Don'e blame Providian just beacause you were late in paying YOUR BILLS and messed up your own credit. Providian shouldn't have to baby its customers because they don't know how to manage credit!! Also, if you were a credit savy consumer and knew how to handle money you could get better interest rates. Prividian has a very good platnuim market with extramly low interest rates and no fees. So don't be mad because Providian is calling you 5 days after you are late even if it is only for $15. You are late on your payment and that is that. Learn how to pay your bills on time with good checks and you won't have to worry about late fees or high interest rates.

(Note: Notice the typos. "Platnium"? Anyway, I answered Jennifer, explaining that if she had read the e-mails carefully, she'd notice I was not overextended, nor had I missed payments, and that most of the contributors got shafted by Providian through no fault of their own. Also, Providian's CEO was forced to resign, and their stock price is at rock bottom. Here's her response. - MB)

i know exactly what is going on with providian. i know more about the stocks and ceo sitution than you think. yes, i am concerned but not for the reasons you may think. the reason i wrote to you the first time is simply beacause of the statements that i read i knew for a fact that some are wrong because i know what is really going on. to be honest with you, i don't have a card with providian but i would if i could.

(Note: Ah, Jennifer, thou art a true believer. Providian should be proud to have a customer such as yourself, but, as you've admitted, you don't have their card. Res ipse loquitor. However, it's good to see your continued use of the lower case 'i'. You must be a fan of e.e. cummings. - MB)

From Pam J. -

Providian no more...... I received a notice today 12/29/01 from Providian that they will be raising my APR from 24 to 29% starting 2/02. AND if I miss two payments it will go to 31%. I also joined in on the lawsuit and wonder if that had anything to do with this? They also raised the late fees to 35.00 based on my balance. I hate to say this, but this is my fault and I should never have been in a place to have to deal with such loan sharks. Luckily, I can pay them off at this point (not so before) and I am done with them. We all need to rid ourselves of Providian, Capitol one, Aria, FNB and Americredit.

From Sandra -

Love your website! : ) I had the most retarded "conversation" with Providian yesterday. No sense posting as it was so ridiculous it would truly defy belief. I was on the line with Providian along with an advocate on our behalf who was well versed in rules pertaining to the fair credit act. The whole time I'm thinking, "If this is being recorded (as you have to expect it would be) it could constitute some of the most damning evidence against the illegal activities of Providian Bank and yet this woman is shameless!" They don't want to credit charges that we dispute because they "don't have to" and because they "have a policy." Yiminey!

Know of any current class actions suits against Providian? - {Please?}. By the way, I'll send your site to the nice man who assisted us yesterday who will, no doubt, enjoy it. Thanks! : )

From Michael -

In late 98 I was hung up on by a "customer service person" at Providian just after she announced she was canceling my account. I was calling to complain about the interest changes and their idea of, receiving a payment and posting it. One of their staff casually mentioned they were behind in posting and payments and were out as much as 5 days for posting after the payment had been received. I learned the regulation is three days and realized what it cost me for them to post late and they would have no incentive to post promptly. since that time they have "sold" my account to Asset Acceptance Corporation, P.O. BOX 2036 Warren, MI 48090-2036, a collection company. I am sure this is a method of isolating accounts/funds from the class action.

My file of correspondence to them is about 2 inches thick.

(Note: As mentioned previously, one customer sent her payment via registered mail, and had a receipt to prove that the payment arrived on time. But, why should the customer be forced to bear this added expense? - MB)

From Jenny (not to be confused with the "Jennifer" listed above) -

You know Providian just shut down their Las Vegas site, over 700 employees. Anything you want to know? Let's just say we are none too happy with this company. I worked in the email department and during the last couple of weeks, if a customer asked for a fee reversal -- what do you know? They got it without a need for an explanation!

(Note: I e-mailed Jenny back, thanking her for her input. I received the following from her.-MB)

While we were biding our time, we heard all sorts of rumors, including information from news web sources, which included information such as the ex-CEO (Mr. Mehta) is under investigation including charges for insider trading, etc. Here's some advice for any credit card holder, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you have any grievance, keep asking for a supervisor and demand to close you account. You'd be surprised what you get, especially if you are a fairly decent customer.

All credit card companies are evil. Do not apply for credit unless you absolutely need it.

From Nitza -

I read all the posts and I'll just say that: me too!!! The only boo boo on my credit reports is Providian and its Visa Classic. This happened some years ago but it will remain on my file for three years more. Can you believe it? A lousy credit line of $500 that became a nightmare with an annual fee that will go over my credit line + charges for going over the credit line + pluses and pluses. All these mess in the middle of my hardest time: single mom, little kids, etc. Today the kids are at school, Mom has a nice job and nicer credit cards. But every time I hear the P word my stomach gets upset. Anyhow, is nice to know that I'm not the only one wishing them to go out of business!!

From Karen -

I was one ,of many, who was affected by Providian.......I was wondering if I could be informed of the outcome of the case..I had also heard that there is an independent company who states that they have bought out Providian's customers claiming that they are to recuperate the money and that they will be in charge of receiving the owed finances for all their this true? I am hoping that you might have some insight on this one..And how can someone find out exactly how much they are really expected to pay Providian (if still have a debt with them ) I apologize the bother ..but I am curious.. Thanks

Karen sent an additional message after I responded:

I have one comment for your feedback... "I would rather deal with a LOAN SHARK! At least a LOAN SHARK is more honest than PROVIDIAN."

From Ken -

yea i closed my account some years ago after only owing Providian F**kncial $70 odd dollars and received a final bill for $917.00 which i now see is small in comparison to others the thing now is Providian F**kncial wrote me a letter saying if i paid them half the amount they would call it even well i did not pay them a cent later a collection agency started calling soon after i checked my credit report and Providian F**kncial has charged my account as a tax write off question: are they still allowed to keep this unjust debt to my credit report!? continue to keep PRESSURE on their lying tails (tales)


(Note: Just when I think I've heard everything I find that there are more surprises in Providian's bag of tricks. - MB)

From Schola -

Thanks for sharing your views about the great corporate rip off - Providian. I have been their customer since 1998 and twice was refunded money I didn't even know they had ripped off my account. The class suits were a result of San Francisco Attorney General's office investigation into the practices of Providian. I hope more people will log onto your site so we can all stop keeping them in business. I have just closed my account and happy with other credit card companies. Can't wait to see them filing for bankruptcy!

From Franklin -


(Note: Franklin's comments have been edited for grammar and spelling. Nothing was deleted. - MB)

From XxAviendaxX -

If your credit didn't suck , then you wouldn't have that low credit line, You act like you were owed that money. HEY!!!!! It wasn't yours you BORROWED it from someone. You signed a contract stating you would pay it back on PROVIDIANS TERMS (same company that GAVE you money that wasn't your's) You weren't owed anything and if you could read then maybe you wouldn't be so pissed off. I hate listening to people like you all day who don't READ the contract they sign. THEY JUST WANT MONEY. They know the terms and agreements exist and they know they are subject to enforcement. But what happens when the customer fails to adhere???????THEY make a huge website devoted to hating the people they took money from. They act shocked when the rules are enforced. I spend 8 hours a day walking grown people through contracts like they were 5 year old children and I for one am tired. If you dont want to borrow money, MAKE IT FOR YOURSELVES!!!!! YOU AREN"T OWED

(Note: Yep, that's the name on his e-mail address. He didn't sign it. But we common folks know what the real story is, don't we? - MB)

From Don -

I'm in Arizona and am having problems too, I realize this was a few years ago, but there Baaccckkkk. What did it take to file a class action suit? Love to start another one, these people wont quit. Any advice or help would be great, and thanks, I found your site in my search for the class action, very informative.

From "Barbara" -

I have just canceled my Providian Visa after finding that I was charged $24 and some odd cents as a finance charge on my balance before I even received the bill. Then come to find out, finance charges are still accruing until they receive my payment in full. What type of racket is this?

I found your site while looking up Providian to see if I could pay my balance from my checking account online (since they wanted to charge me $9.50 to pay my bill over the phone) and was wow'd with all the information people such as myself have experienced with this company.

Keep up the fight.

From KGP -


You are absolutely right. Every word is so true. I too, was a sucker for Providian. They give you your first credit approval. I also feel that for some reason other banks collaborate with them also. Why! No other institution will offer you a credit card unless you have been through Providian. At least that's what I think. When I first tried to establish my credit no one will offer me a card until they say let send this sucker to providian first and if she can survive then I'll take her later on. I survived for 3 years with a 24.99% interest rate and every time there's an increase I have to pay for it, whether $79 for $1000.00 increase or $59.00 for $500.00 increase. They called them selves a secured credit card company. I was never late for a payment. They would never drop the interest rate. Until one day I called and cancel and the rep told me that if I know I was qualified for a lower interest rate of 19.99% and I told her to do better than that. She said ok I'll give you 16.99%. I told her to go ahead and close it anyway.

I have already paid my dues to them and it is over now. Thank God.


Preferred customer :-) (not anymore)

From Gloria -

I am so glad I found your website. Misery loves company. Now that I have run up one of my Providian cards to $6000. and another to $1400, they have seen fit to increase my interest rate to 29.99%. I told them I know loan sharks with better interest rates. They would not decrease my interest. How can they do this???? I am trying to find a legitimate card that I can transfer my balances to so I can get out from under this oppressive and abusive interest rate. Mind you, I paid more than the minimum on time every month. I don't know what their problem is.

(Note: I know what their problem is. Ever see a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy? - MB)

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