The reason I checked it is because I'd received a new, replacement American Express Optima card in the mail and I needed to activate it. I've been a customer of American Express since 1989. I've never missed a payment in nearly 20 years. I had a small balance on the Optima card because I'd purchased some - surprise - ham equipment recently and was waiting to put some older equipment on eBay. Once it sold, I planned on putting the proceeds towards the balance.
After I activated the card, it dawned on me that I probably ought to go ahead and pay on the bill, since it was due in a couple of days. So, I logged on to their website, entered my username and password, paid my bill, and then sat there slackjawed for about 5 minutes.
After I came to, I gave them a call. On the part where it lists 'available credit' I was seeing $170. $170 freaking dollars!?! Now wait a second, I have a $11,000 credit limit on this card. Frantically I looked at the statement...nothing odd, nothing to indicate any fraudulent charges.
The man I spoke with was very polite...and apologetic. He said - and I know they record these calls - "I work for these guys and they've lowered my credit too. In fact, I've had people calling in with $50,000 credit limits that have been reduced to $500." He went on to say that it was due to the economy and that they've cut many accounts across the board.
I stammered something about how come I hadn't received a letter and he said that I should've received one already, but he'd have another sent out. He apologized at least 5 times. He asked if I wanted to speak with his supervisor, but I just said goodbye.
I know things are bad, but to be a customer for 20 years and always be in good-standing, then suddenly, pfft, cut my credit to practically nothing... On top of that, by lowering my limit, it now appears that my credit card is maxed out. Thanks a lot.
My credit is excellent. It'll probably take a hit because of being 'maxed out' now on my Optima card, but it'll remain excellent.
I'll pay the remaining balance off after Christmas or transfer the balance to another card, I haven't decided. Depends on how expensive Christmas ends up, I guess.
I know better than to 'deactivate' or turn off credit cards - that produces a bad hit - but I'll never do business with them again. Even if they raise my limit.