How I Wound Up on the Bank of America Blacklist

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Bank of America blacklist

How I Wound Up on the Bank of America Blacklist – Lessons Learned

I’m sure all businesses have a blacklist policy, and I recently found out I’m on the Bank of America blacklist. Luckily, it doesn’t affect any other banks, and I’ve even opened some business cards from BofA. It seems this is just a personal Bank of America blacklist. The 2 cardinal rules in this hobby are “don’t miss a bonus” and “pay your balance in full”. Behaving badly on the latter years ago is giving me problems today.

The Backstory

Jump back more than 15 years, to when I was single and on my own in school. Like many young people, I got a credit card and didn’t use it responsibly. I also had a checking & savings account with Bank of America, along with my card, and I made only the minimum payments some months. Other months, I didn’t make any payment. The card limit was $2,000. After a few months of being over the credit limit, they closed the card like any bank would.

After a few months of sending me notices, the card went to collections. This is around 10 years ago at this point. I had made some personal goals for my life, one of which included getting out of debt. I called the collection agency and was able to settle for less than the full balance. With interest & fees, I owed around $3,200 at this point. I paid half of that, and the account was considered paid off. This was February 2010.

Between Then and Now

I had no idea that I was on Bank of America’s blacklist and continued on with my life, building credit along the way. I even had a Bank of America checking account while living in Germany during an overseas assignment from the army. A few years ago, I got into the points & miles game. In late 2017, I applied for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines business card as a sole proprietor. They asked for more documents than I could supply, and the application went nowhere.

In March of 2018, I applied again and was approved without any requests for paperwork. I now had a Bank of America business card, and when setting up the account they reactivated my old online account to just use that again. It was 6 years apart between uses, but everything seemed fine.

In August of 2018, I applied for a 2nd Alaska business card from Bank of America, using the LLC that my wife and I have in our names. I provided some basic documents then was approved. I now had 2 business credit cards at the same time, using my same social security number, and no clue Bank of America had me on a personal blacklist.

Finding Out I’m on the Bank of America Blacklist

May 2019, I received a targeted mailer for the Alaska personal card from Bank of America. Considering that Alaska miles are some of the most coveted in this game, I was excited to receive a targeted offer with an elevated bonus. To elevate my chances with Bank of America, since so many people get denied, I’d opened a checking account jointly with my wife. There were a few hundred dollars in it, which we thought could help our applications going forward. I applied for the card and was instantly denied online. I waited for my letter in the mail.

Among other things, the letter cited

  • Negative past relationship with Bank of America
  • Accounts in collections
  • Accounts settled for less than the full balance owed

I knew this had happened in the past, but none of that was current. It was almost 10 years old, so I made a recon call. The phone rep said it was showing as current as of April (the month prior), so I provided records showing I’d paid everything off in 2010. She updated the account and sent it in for review.

I got another denial letter in the mail citing the same issues, so I called in again to ask what’s up. The phone rep said that a senior credit reviewer had denied my application. This call is how I found out I’m on the Bank of America blacklist. After multiple questions and pointing out that this was nearly 10 years ago, the rep said this:

The senior reviewer noted in your account that Bank of America wrote off over $1,000 in losses with you. It’s highly unlikely you will ever get a personal card from us again.

I can have a checking account, and I can have a business account, but personal credit? Not a chance! He told me he was unwilling to discuss whether time, more money in my checking account, opening a secured card to establish credit with them or other options could help. He just kept saying he’s not a financial advisor, and this is their view at this time. I asked for a card with only $500 credit limit to prove to them I could be responsible, but the rep said there was no one on the team above the guy who had denied me. In short: no way.

Going Forward – Final Thoughts

So what does this mean for my points & miles strategy? First, this reconfirmed how important credit history is in this game. Pay your bills on time, keep the banks happy, and never let things spiral out of control. My bad behavior 15 years ago, then settling for half of the balance 10 years ago, has led to a lasting grudge from Bank of America. This makes me ineligible for any of their personal cards, as far as I know.

I will focus on other banks. My wife has had a really hard time with her Bank of America applications, as well, but we don’t think she’s on any blacklist. We’re still hoping she might get some cards from them some day.

I’m focusing on other card issuers, since Bank of America isn’t the only game in town. Some day, maybe I’ll apply for the Business Advantage Travel Rewards card, but not today. I’m on the Bank of America blacklist for personal cards, and offering to pay them back the $1,600 I owe them probably has very little chance of them deciding to give me another card. I see low odds, considering how tough their approvals are. To me, it’s not worth it, and others who aren’t on the blacklist have even given up.

Yeah, I’d love to have their Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Alaska personal cards, but there’s no one to blame here other than me. Lesson learned: be responsible with your credit cards. Pay the bills, don’t exceed the credit limit, and don’t have your account closed for negative relationship. Bank of America will hold a grudge for a long time, possibly forever.

Now we know there’s a Bank of America blacklist. I know because I’m on it.

 

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps it could have been worse for you. You accepted responsibility for your actions and shouldn’t be punished forever. I’m old school, into my 70’s, and was taught to be financially responsible and accountable for my debts. I was taught to save six months worth of after tax wages in case I was ever laid off. (That advice paid off in 2006.) Nowadays, young folks, even those well into their 40’s, don’t want to be accountable for obligations and contracts they signed. They walk or walked away from mortgage obligations, auto loan debts, college loans they pissed away in JC college, and more. That’s why presidential candidates that vow to clean up their loans and messes are so popular. They want the taxpayer to foot the bill for their stupidity and actions. The first rule most sites like this teach about the points and miles game is never, ever float a credit card monthly balance, let alone disregard debt. The Internet and banking systems will follow you forever. I have a dozen credit cards in my wallet, stay under 5/24, and carry a zero balance on all cards month to month. My utilization never exceeds 2% of 150K but generally around 1%. Combined CS is only 803 but has been as high as 824. Hope things get better for you.

    • What a load of steaming self-righteous malarkey. Businesses declare BK at a drop of a hat. Rich blowhards like Trump declare BK multiple times and shaft suppliers/contractors/workers.

      • Wow, Ron. It sounds like you are the one with a steaming load of self righteousness. There is nothing wrong with what Rick wrote. Just because many companies declare BK does not mean everyone should not make their best effort to pay back their debts.

        • Jacob, in the end, societies and economies work best when EVERYONE pays their debts. The problem right now is that it’s hard to stomach that such obligations are a one way street for most of us. We’re to be judged if we fail to meet our obligations, but large businesses and the very wealthy are able to create loopholes that mean they’re able to shirk their responsibilities.

          When the large business like Bank of America makes life difficult for someone trying to do the right thing, even though they themselves should have gone out of business because of malfeasance, it’s hard to generate much sympathy for the bank or the system that allows this kind of malarkey.

          • Exactly — what mallthus said. And what’s truly ironic is that Bank of America is one of the WORST offenders when it comes to corporate finance shenanigans. I’ve gotten two class-action lawsuit settlements from them after they were ordered to make restitution for their shady dealings with consumers.

            It’s hard to work up any indignation over the actions of a kid who didn’t (at the time) know any better, when companies like BofA get away with so much. No sympathy here.

  2. It’s not just millennials. Banks are at fault as well which is why they needed to be bailed out roughly 10 years ago. I’m sure you paid them well over a grand of your tax dollars. You were young, dumb and irresponsible. Likely not born with a golden spoon. You recognize your mistake but unlike the banks who should have been told to go to hell and “figure it out” we’re bailed out. I would tell BOA to go to hell and that you blacklist them as they’re doing the same shit that originally got them in their position. At least you learned from your mistakes.

    • Same old nonsense about the bank bailouts. The banks paid back every penny with interest in less than 5 years (most of them in 2 years). That is the type of government program that makes tax payers money. If every government program operated that way like providing loans to people in need instead of welfare (and making the loans non dischargable) government would be paying us taxes.

      • jackson robertson, the banks have NOT repaid all of the bailout money, although they are paying a nice amount of interest on it.

        “The government committed bailout money to 978 recipients. Those recipients have received a total of $441 billion. A total of $390 billion has been returned.”

        From https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/

  3. Shawn. Never burn bridges with any bank by telling them to go to Hell. Just calmly let them know that you’re very unhappy with their policy, then swallow your pride and walk away.

  4. Well, if you believe the likes of ProPublica, Politifact, Obama and others, the banks not only paid the money back but they did with interest as well. If you actually look at TARP, there was a lot of “pork” in it not earmarked for banks but the banks paid back their share. The original TARP bailout was also vastly reduced from an authorized $700B to $474B. Specifically however, Bank of America paid back all of the TARP money they receive and with interest, so ultimately the taxpayers made a good hunk of change off B of A. So I wouldn’t go telling B of A to go to hell. Disclosure: I never worked for B of A or any bank, nor do I have any love for them. At least one credit card in your pocket is a necessary evil these days. So pay if off monthly and move on.

    • Nonsense. Banksters nominally “paid” TARP back because the Fed shoveled cheap (ie, near zero) money at them, which they dutifully turned around and loaned at huge profits. It was consumers who repaid the TARP loans thru artificially high bankster lending rares.

        • Yes, and Hillary sends out assassination contracts on people. I’d like to drink some of your cool-aid. Please send me the recipe.

          Regarding the article, it’s good info, BUT I feel it’s click-bait in the context of travel hacking and BA. ANyone would think this is an article about being black-listed for churning or MS. This story is technically completely unrelated to our hobby, since we all know to be responsible

  5. Some banks are like that. A coworker is on the black list of BofA and Chase because she filed for BK with them. She even has a banking relationship with them but that doesn’t matter.
    So those two banks do not forgive.
    I had a foreclosure with BofA but am able to get as many credit cards as possible with them.
    Also AMEX is the same way, they won’t even allow you to be an authorized user on any of their cards if you defaulted on any of their credit cards.
    Another one is Barclays.
    It’s not the end of the world. There are tons of banks out there and you have business credit cards.

  6. Wow, that is tough, especially if you asked them if anything would make them reconsider. Read Trump’s history about frequent bankruptcies, unpaid bank loans, and how he stiffed many small contractors by telling them to sue or settle for less. Pretty sad that a shyster president can get away with multiple offences but the average honest citizen is told to go away.

  7. I have a similar experience with Citi except that they will not allow me any business cards due to BK from over 20 years ago – no exceptions but I can receive personal cards all day long.

  8. @ron – +1. Absolutely correct. Many people need to take off their MAGA hats. I hear they restrict blood flow to your brain.

  9. I know it has been a while since the post, but, I wonder what “forever” means.
    Like with AMEX, when they sat if you have ever had the card you are not eligible for the bonus, but, there is anecdotal evidence that “forever” means about 7 years. On paper your card might not have been eventually written off until a more recent time than when your troubles happened.
    Maybe things will change.
    And, thank you very much for sharing.

  10. Probably would have made a big difference if you’d paid off your total debt to them. But lesson learned and we all have them.

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