NEW YORK – Consumers need to read the fine print on their credit card agreements more carefully, urged Newsweek Magazine’s Wall Street Editor, Allen Sloan. Writing in the June 26 issue of the magazine, Sloan related the little reported story of Citigroup discontinuing its AT&T Universal Cash Rewards card and declining to send any of its cardholders rewards checks if their balances are less than $50. “This isn’t a rip-off, because it seems to be perfectly permissible under the agreement between Citi and its cardholders,” Sloan wrote. “But it’s a classic example of why you need to pay at least some attention to all those documents your card issuers send you. Usually you have to worry about what you owe the card company, so you don’t get gouged on interest and fees for carrying a balance or taking a cash advance. But this case shows how you also have to worry about what the card company owes you.” Sloan, who holds one of the cards, reported that neither AT&T nor Citigroup would reveal why they were closing the cards. They also declined to comment on not sending the checks under $50 or on how much money they would keep, other than to say that they always urge cardholders to read the disclosure documents thoroughly. Sloan called the move “tacky” and characterized it as shortsighted as well, since analysts currently estimate that it costs roughly $300 in marketing costs to get one cardholder and keeping the money is bound to run off at least some cardholders.

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