I am so lucky that the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote a story about Advanta closing it’s credit card business and even luckier that COSE (Cleveland Organization of Smaller Enterprises) sent me an email on 5/13 about Advanta:
A Plain Dealer reporter working on a story following the news on page C2 of today’s Plain Dealer , about “Credit Card Lender Advanta to Close small firm’s accounts.” The credit card lender has nearly 1 million small business accounts and plans to close all of its cardholder accounts next month in a last ditch effort to stem losses.
Wow, I was surprised. Just the week before Advanta sent me a bunch of checks to spend more with them!
Years ago we selected Advanta because they had an awesome credit care program for small businesses. Low interest rates, rebates for spending, extra cards for employees with split out listings on the bills — all the bells and whistles I wanted as a business owner. Bad problem however when they cancelled ALL their small business credit card accounts with NO WARNING.. It might be a good idea for them to consider a guide to social media marketing to improve their social presence. But I digress.
Maybe I exaggerate. Advanta sent me a letter dated May 22, which arrived May 29th saying that May 30th was the last day I could use the card. Whoppee. One day notice.
Our office manager had called Advanta on May 13 and was told we had until June 10th. Luckily we got squared away with a new business account quickly and now we’re all set.
Imagine my surprise to get this flimsy excuse for an apology from Advanta this morning in my email. This is way too little, way too late:
For Your Security: Account ending in XXXX
Dear Christine M Brown,
We understand that the recent changes to your account have left you and other Advanta customers with a lot of questions. In order to better assist you, we are attempting to directly address some of those concerns.
Recently there have been longer than normal hold times for customers trying to redeem rewards points through customer service. Rewards can be redeemed at www.advanta.com/rewards without long holds. You can also reach reward redemption directly by calling 1-800-203-1209 for travel redemptions or 1-888-335-5556 for non-travel related redemptions.
Also, cardholders have been concerned about the status of credits posting to their account after their account closes. Any merchant will still be able to post a credit to your account. If your account does not have an outstanding balance, a check for the amount of the credit will be sent to your billing address.
Many of our customers have expressed their need to find a new payment solution for their businesses. As a select Advanta customer, we have worked with American Express OPENÂ® to provide you with an invitation to apply for a Business Card1. OPENÂ® offers a variety of Business Cards that may meet the needs of your business.
If you apply, OPEN will consider your history with Advanta. If your application is approved, under most circumstances, your new Business Card will be shipped priority mail to your home or business. Please call American Express OPEN at 1-888-473-5827 or visit www.OPEN.com/Advanta to learn more.
Once again, we deeply regret the impact that closing your Advanta Business Card had on your business. If you have any questions, please call customer service at 1-800-705-7255.
The part about any merchant posting to an account is not true. I tried the card and it was rejected.
Wow. This could have been a credit disaster for our business… and I imagine there are 1 million other small business owners scrambling to fill out new credit apps and get a new card set up for their business too.
I think Advanta’s competitors really missed the boat from a marketing standpoint.
Why didn’t the other companies blog about setting up accounts for small business owners? I know they would find information about secure payment gateway, trusted credit card processors and so on useful for developing their infrastructure. They must have known what was going on, right? I searched, the office manager searched. I looked all over the blogs. No one was saying anything in mid-May.
However, this would have been a golden opportunity for competitive credit card companies trying to find the strong small businesses to serve. Don’t tell me that there isn’t credit available for small businesses.
We researched all the credit cards choices last month. This chart of various business credit cards available programs from the Small Business Adminstration is a good place to start. Figure out what is important to you and what isn’t. Rate? Line of Credit? # of cards? Rewards? Miles? It makes it easier to navagte once you know what you want.
PS. We ended up with a Capital One credit card. If you’re a small business owner trying to replace your Advanta card, we found they were fast (about 30 minutes on the phone and 3 days to get the card.)
Here’s the link:Business Credit Card No Hassle Miles Rewards
Leave me a comment if you think I’m being unreasonable as a small business owner. How else should Avanta handled this?
If you’re a business owner struggling with your business, it’s okay to ask for help! There are lots of companies out there that will do things for you even jobs on the financial side of your business, for example some companies even make you free invoice templates! You can take a look at catalystforbusiness.com for more information if you’re struggling as a business.