What You Need to Know About Citi’s Latest Costco Credit Card Blunder

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Some Citi Costco Anywhere Visa credit cardholders took to social media late last week, expressing surprise over receiving letters from the bank that their accounts had been closed. Some letters reportedly contained the names of other cardholders, with the last four digits of their accounts, which caused people to fear the accounts had been hacked.

“Got email from @Costco @Citi stating account cancelled with someone else’s name attached to my account,” Matt Rzepecki tweeted on August 19. “Anyone else?”

The letters were in error — actually meant for people whose memberships were lapsing, Citi told Credit.com. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and American Express advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

“We communicated to a small portion of Costco cardmembers whose memberships had lapsed that their accounts had been closed, however, some members received the communication in error. We quickly apprised them that their accounts are active, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Citi spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier said in an email.

Sources familiar with the situation said it affected a very small portion of the Costco cardmember population and has been fully resolved. The bank communicated with cardmembers on Saturday evening via email, and the accounts weren’t compromised in any way.

This isn’t the first Citi Costco Visa credit card blunder.

Costco formally announced back in March that it was replacing American Express with Citi and Visa as its official exclusive co-branded credit card issuer and credit card network. But the official transition back in June was marred by a rash of complaints from Costco customers, who hit the Twitttersphere to say they hadn’t received the new Citi cards, were unable to activate them and/or were experiencing long wait times on Citi’s customer service line as they tried to fix their issues.

On June 21, Judy McCann tweeted that she “spent over 1.5 hours on hold but never got to a person.”

Costco members complained again of long wait times via social media, following the erroneous cancellation notices. But sources familiar with situation said the average speed of answer in the call center on Friday was approximately 3.5 minutes, and on Saturday and Sunday, a few seconds.

Citi had just shy of 900,000 applications for the card since its launch on June 20th, and interest and engagement continue to be very strong, according to the bank.

When considering any new credit card, it’s always prudent to check the interest rate on the new card, and to read the terms and conditions to be sure it’s the right credit card for you. You should also check your credit ahead of time to get an idea of what types of cards you can qualify for. (You typically need a good credit score to qualify for the better cards on the market.) Otherwise, you risk a hard inquiry only to rejected for the plastic.

You can also keep an eye on your credit if you are every worried that your personal information was compromised. You can see where your credit stands by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing two of your free credit scores on Credit.com.

At publishing time, Citi and American Express products are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for their cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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