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Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.

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Tuesday Morning and an Advanta Corp Headache

Waking up on a Tuesday morning after a nice holiday weekend to an email that tells you your credit card account will be shutdown is, to-put-it-mildly, not fun.

I received this email from Advanta (my business credit card bank) at 6:30AM, Tuesday, May 26, 2009:

Dear Customer,

Your Advanta Business Card account is funded by an independent trust which owns the balances you owe on your account and provides funding for new transactions. We expect the trust to stop funding activity on our accounts. The trust also restricts our flexibility to fund activity on your account. Unfortunately, as a result, effective May 30th all Advanta Business Credit Card accounts, including your account, will be closed.

This means that you will not be able to use your card or account for new transactions, including purchases, checks and balance transfers beginning on May 30th. We understand that you may have written checks on your account before May 30th and we will make every effort to honor those checks that are presented to us for payment by June 3rd. If you use your Advanta card to make automatic recurring bill payments, you will need to make alternative arrangements for those payments promptly.

It is important to understand that you are not required to pay your entire balance at this time. You may continue to pay down your account balance over time, as allowed under your Advanta Business Card Agreement.

You will not lose the rewards that you have earned. If you participate in a Cash Back program, you will receive a check for the amount of any accrued rewards more than $1.00 as long as you make the required minimum payments and your account remains in good standing. If you participate in a Business Rewards program, you will have at least 60 days to redeem your points as long as you make the required minimum payments and your account remains in good standing.

We deeply regret the impact this action will have on your business and very much wish it was not necessary.

We are committed to assist you through this process. Additional information will be available at www.advanta.com/notice. If you have any other questions or concerns, or if we can assist you in any other way, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Center. You can email us your questions 24 hours a day at www.advanta.com/secure or call us toll free at (800) 705-7255, Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time.

Sincerely,
John F. Moore
President, Advanta Corp.


advanta-closure-notice.jpg

It flat out bites. May 30th!???

I spent all day yesterday visiting with banks (Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank) for another credit card. From the research I've done so far, those banks still have a good credit rating.

Then I spent more time re-configuring accounts that have automatic recurring deductions. I think I fixed them all but hard to tell.

I may have to go to Umpqua Bank to see what they can do for me and in the mean time I am forced to use my personal card to make purchases for my business. Not ideal. But what is a girl to do?

Now, I know this could have been a lot worse and I feel for every small business owner who had a lot more at stake than I... Crikey! I can only imagine how bad it can be.

I mean I just didn't see it coming. I feel like a total fool because after I received that email I did a google search for news about Advanta and there it was: warnings galore about Advanta's situation. How could I have not known?!

And, I went to get my mail Tuesday am and there was a letter dated May 22nd with the exact same words. As if I would have been able to do anything over a holiday weekend!

This is just flat out scary. My bookkeeper told me to expect it to get worse. Gawd.

I know it takes time and I hope President Obama's promise to help small businesses comes to the street level where we can finally feel it.

Right now, this hurts.

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