Customer Service Disaster: Advanta Business Credit Cards

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 OPEN® to provide you with an invitation to apply for a Business Card1. OPEN® 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.

Sincerely,

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.

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

37 thoughts on “Customer Service Disaster: Advanta Business Credit Cards”

  1. Pingback: Customer Service Disaster: Advanta Business Credit Cards …
  2. Advanta pulled the dumbest business trick I’ve ever seen. In addition to cutting off everyones credit, they upped the interest rate on my credit card balance which I quickly paid off. I am very leary of anything they recommend.
    I don’t think Capitol One is a good choice. I was with them before I went with Advanta. Capitol One played games with mailing bills that were too close to the pay by date. If you didn’t pay as soon as you rec’vd bill, you would be socked with a late fee and eventually a large interest hike. I don’t think there any good ones left.

  3. I totally agree… I got caught with a small balance on my account. After they said the card account was closed they still permitted a payment to go through credit check from Experion. I tried to disbute it with reps from India. They said they understood but then said how will you be paying this. One thing after the other, then they added a late charge. I even sent an email and never got a response. I finally got fed up with this dispute I could not win so I called again and got a young lady located in PA. She stated the letter came latter so I paid what I was told the bill was in full of $133.75. As of today I received another bill saying I owe them $11.15. And get this…I over paid the previous bill by .85 from what I was told was due. I called again and ask what is this bill for. My response again from across the water was the lady that helped you didn’t add the fee for me calling in to pay the account off. I was told the balance was zero. I told the guy that was not my mistake. That’s an in house problem. I was glad to find your email. I told the representative that I am sure I am not the only one so frustrated with the way they handled this situation. Is there anyone out there with a suggestion. As a small business our credit is our driving force. HELP!

  4. After Advanta concellation last spring I paid little attn. and continued to pay montly invoices.
    Interest Rate: 36% Intertest paid in 2009 $ 3685.00 on a $ 8000.00 +balance. Have reported this to lcoal autorities.Don’t expect ant action.

    Requested a reduction for immediate payoff.Not offered.All contact from India at 3:00 in the morning.
    On my next invoice will pay these crooks off .However i will find an agency that can go after them.

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