Citi Account Shutdown (2016)

Old Jan 27, 16, 12:25 am
  #1  
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Unhappy Citi Account Shutdown (2016)

Hey guys,

Are any of you aware of any mass Citi credit card account shutdowns going on? All of my partner's Citi cards got shut down.

We were using primarily the Citi AA biz card lately. Most months purchases on the card followed the relatively same amount pattern - 1-2k for normal stuff. For the last 2 months of the account being opened we charged a bit more - 5-7k in purchases... okay, the extra was MS... so we were surprised to get a shutdown notice for all of my partner accounts so soon.

The letter stated - "Pursuant to our Card Agreement, we have the right to close your account at our discretion anytime without prior notice. We have chosen to exercise this right."

We had called after a declined charge on the card and the CSR urged us to check his credit report for fraud, other than that she said she had no information to share with us & that we should wait for the letter. We did. The report is sparkling. High score and everything intact.

This situation has left me puzzled. A search on the forum didn't reveal any recent threads on this, so figured I'd ask.
  • Are you guys aware of any mass shutdowns happening?
  • What are typical reasons for a shutdown?
  • Does Citi blacklist you when they shut down your CCs?
  • If Citi blacklists you - for how long? 2 years? Forever?

I've done MS on my accounts - this flavor (and others) of Citi included - to a much bigger degree and for longer - so it is a huge surprise this happened after 2 months.

Do you guys have any experience with this?

Last edited by gorgeoustresses; Jan 27, 16 at 3:47 am
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:05 am
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You may wish to review these threads:

2015: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/citi-...son-given.html

2013: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/citi-...disclosed.html
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Old Jan 27, 16, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Thanks Mia. I did check them before posting but didn't find anything too useful. Luckily we lost maybe 2k in points that were made after the last Citi AA deposit... but nothing in the threads really stuck out as a potential reason for this really aggressive shutdown. :/

Is there anywhere on the forum that anyone has shared how long after a complete Citi shutdown one can be approved for a card? Is it 18 months? More?
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Old Jan 27, 16, 4:20 pm
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All my citi cards were shut down 2 or 3 months ago. The reason is:

The letter stated - "Pursuant to our Card Agreement, we have the right to close your account at our discretion anytime without prior notice. We have chosen to exercise this right."
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Old Jan 27, 16, 5:05 pm
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That's crazy, and sucks! Wonder why that was...
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Old Jan 27, 16, 5:32 pm
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Charges suddenly quadrupled with a lot of MS. Only surprise is that more people don't get shut down, and quicker.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 6:22 pm
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Yet one more reason why I don't do any MS or play with getting a bonus and avoiding the AF.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by jsk1973 View Post
Charges suddenly quadrupled with a lot of MS. Only surprise is that more people don't get shut down, and quicker.
I agree completely.

Originally Posted by flyer4512 View Post
Yet one more reason why I don't do any MS or play with getting a bonus and avoiding the AF.
It only shows that if you don't want to get shut down don't MS!
Big changes in spending patterns get looked at.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 9:50 am
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Originally Posted by flyer4512 View Post
Yet one more reason why I don't do any MS or play with getting a bonus and avoiding the AF.
I guess if you are lucky enough to run business expenses through your card(s), but how else would you meet the thresholds that many cards have to meet to get bonuses? Most of us are just doing basic spends. The shutdowns usually entail a story like, "Well I ran half a mil on my 12k line in three months and got shut down" or "I took 50K in MO deposits each month and got shut down." I haven't read to many stories of small timers getting shut down.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by DeltaNeutral28 View Post
...how else would you meet the thresholds that many cards have to meet to get bonuses
I don't apply for cards if I cannot qualify for the bonus with ordinary spending. When I apply for a business card I run personal spending through it to earn the new account bonus, then I convert it to business use (if that was my intention.) It isn't necessary to manufacture spending.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
I don't apply for cards if I cannot qualify for the bonus with ordinary spending. When I apply for a business card I run personal spending through it to earn the new account bonus, then I convert it to business use (if that was my intention.) It isn't necessary to manufacture spending.
Concur. I do shift spending to new card(s) as needed, to achieve the bonus. ~$5k in 3 months is pretty easy.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
I don't apply for cards if I cannot qualify for the bonus with ordinary spending. When I apply for a business card I run personal spending through it to earn the new account bonus, then I convert it to business use (if that was my intention.) It isn't necessary to manufacture spending.
I'm similar. I got a Bluebird a few years ago (to be ready "in case" I needed to MS), got the free checks, and have had no activity on it since except I transferred $1 from my linked bank account to Bluebird a few months ago because they told me I needed activity of some sort to avoid closure.

The closest I got to MSing was last year when I bought several $500 Visa GC debit cards, using two different credit cards (both of which needed signup bonus spend), but I used those Visa GCs only to pay my AAA SoCal auto + home insurance, which doesn't accept credit cards, only debit cards, for insurance payments. (AAA is some other parts of the country does accept credit cards for insurance payments, but not AAA SoCal.)
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Old Jan 28, 16, 11:28 am
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Agree with the last three comments. People seem to forget that the purpose of these sign-up bonuses is to get and keep new customers, not to simply hand out bonuses to people who barely meet the spending requirement and then put the card away, never to be used again, and move on to the next card.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by jsk1973 View Post
Agree with the last three comments. People seem to forget that the purpose of these sign-up bonuses is to get and keep new customers, not to simply hand out bonuses to people who barely meet the spending requirement and then put the card away, never to be used again, and move on to the next card.
Except you just described churners, and that's not who's been getting accounts shut down.

Who's been getting accounts shut down appears to be MSers, whose pattern is:

Get a card, get the signup bonus, perhaps stop using the card for a while, then suddenly do huge amounts of purchases, all from one store (one which happens to sell Visa/MC debit gift cards), then pay off all those charges with money orders or (in the past) billbay from Bluebird or Serve or such, and repeat.

The churners look harmless, and at most annoying, to the banks. They're easier to eradicate with anti-churning policies (like Amex's one bonus per so-called lifetime on personal cards, Citi's official no bonus except after 18 months of open or close, Chase's new policy against people who have more than 5 new cards opened anywhere within the last 24 months, etc) than by shutting existing card accounts down.

The MSers, on the other hand, sometimes can look (to a bank) exactly like money launderers or some other kind of fraudsters. You have to remember that the most of the people who evaluate accounts at banks don't understand miles/points collecting, and in many cases will never even consider that as a possible reason the activity they see on an account when someone is doing wild MSing.

And I use the term "wild" MSing because nowhere near every MSer is getting shut down, only some fraction of them.

Every MSer needs to think hard about how their account activity would look to a banker who knows nothing about points/miles colllecting (and thus doesn't even know that something like MSing exists).

Just as churners may want to think about how their account activity would look to the same banker. That's especially a concern with cards that don't require any spend to get the signup bonus (such as the Alaska cards from BofA); signing up, canceling, requesting a refund of the AF, and repeating, that's theoretically a way to earn signup bonuses at no cost with an AF card like that, but if you try it, you're likely to quickly be blackballed by BofA. Take a advantage of the $100 credit (in many Alaska card offers) for $1000 of spend, even though that's not needed to get the signup bonus miles, and use that to offset the AF and have a bit left over, and suddenly your card usage pattern looks much better to a banker.

Last edited by sdsearch; Jan 28, 16 at 3:14 pm
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Old Jan 28, 16, 3:10 pm
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Not all churners are MSers, but almost all MSers are churners. The OP seems to be in the latter category.

I agree the churners are easier to shut down, but I'm still surprised with the amounts of MS various people here and elsewhere claim to get away with, and the length of time they've been allowed to get away with it.

Unless one's reported income is well into the six figures, it's borderline inexplicable for anyone to be running $10,000 or $20,000 per month through their CCs, especially personal CCs.
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