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So Long Citi-Cards

I have had for a long time now a Citi bank card. But I’m going to cancel it. Seems Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. are refusing to process lawful transactions involving firearms:

Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. are refusing to process any credit card transactions between federally licensed firearms retailers, distributors and manufacturers — a move which will severely limit available inventory of firearms and ammunition to military, law enforcement and law-abiding Americans.

The first company to be affected by this decision appears to be firearms distributor CDNN Sports Inc.

“We were contacted recently by First Data/Citi Merchant Services by a June Rivera-Mantilla stating that we were terminated and funds were being seized for selling firearms in a non-face-to-face transaction,” said Charlie Crawford, president of CDNN Sports Inc. “Although perfectly legal, we were also informed that no transactions would be processed in the future, even for non-firearms. I find this very frightening.”

To voice your concern to Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp., please contact June Rivera-Mantilla at 631-683-7734 or her supervisor Robert Tenenbaum at 631-683-6570.

To change to an NSSF-affiliated credit card processing program, contact Payment Alliance International at 1-866-371-2273 (ext. 1131).

It’s a pity. They’ve always provided good service, to the point where they one day called my cell phone while I was standing in line paying for a laptop to make sure that my card wasn’t stolen. Seems they knew I don’t make many large purchases on my card. They also responded quickly to some fraudulent issues with my card very quickly. It was seamless for me and I didn’t notice anything unusual but they took care of it pretty quickly.

Joe reports having had similar issues in the past.

John Lott: It is difficult for me to understand what the “business” reason would be for this. Indeed.

Sebastian says to call them and tell the politely how much they suck.

Update: It just occurred to me precisely how big a PITA that is going to be. Gotta update Amazon, hostmatters, all manner of bills. But, I’m diligent. It’ll take a bit of time.

16 Responses to “So Long Citi-Cards”

  1. Kevin Baker Says:

    Well, I won’t be getting a CitiBank account or credit card of any kind, and I’m glad my wife hasn’t worked for First Data for about a decade now.

  2. Dave thA Says:

    Back in 2000 too – SAF calls for boycott

  3. ben Says:

    I have a Wells Fargo card. They even have that wagon thing with the dude with a double barrel shotgun as their mascot. If they had a London branch, they’d probably be forced to replace the shotgun with an Elmo.

  4. Metulj Says:

    Jesus. Even I think that’s stupid. 🙂 I just bought a block of Wells Fargo. I didn’t even consider Citi (worst institutional lender in the world – cards, loans, you name it).

  5. Metulj Says:

    Oh, BTW. Watch how you handle Citi and closing accounts with them. They are very shifty about keeping cards open even after you ask. Send a letter via certified mail asking that they shut the card down and be sure to have the card number and the Citi account number in that letter. They might be different and they won’t act unless you are very, very clear. I got dunned for $365 on a card that I closed with them for fees and had to settle (which shows on the old credit report). If you like your credit, be very careful with Citi.

  6. SayUncle Says:

    Thanks for the pointer.

  7. KCSteve Says:

    When you call Ms. Rivera-Mantilla (and her supervisor) to let them know about the cards you’re closing make sure you let them know that you’ll be explaining to the Merchants / banks involved just why you’re closing the card – and make sure you do let them know.

  8. JKB Says:

    Not a smart move on their part given the average Cabelas’ customer has a FICO of 750 and spends a lot of money. Not to mention credit card debt is starting to default so it isn’t smart to anger good borrowers.

    But then Citigoup is probably not long for this world due to their poor mortgage bets. Already lost their CEO and had to sell a big chunk to Abu Dhabi just to stay afloat.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2007/11/27/citigroup-subprime-borrower/

  9. John Hardin Says:

    Okay, here are some alternatives:

    http://www.saf.org/default.asp?p=creditcard

    http://www.nraaccounts.com/nra/index.jsp

    Any others?

  10. Cactus Jack Says:

    FYI to those who’re planning on canceling Citi-bank and are looking for someone else to bank with; do NOT go to Wells Fargo! I had a checking account with them for 5 months and they screwed up EVERYTHING! My direct deposit was’nt credited to my account for as much as a week after payday, checks were bounced when there were plenty of funds in the account, the debit card never worked. I’ve know several other people who had the same problems and others as well.

    I know now why Joaquin Murrietta, Black Bart and Butch Cassidy robbed Wells Fargo so ofton; they must have had checking accounts with them! 🙂

  11. Regolith Says:

    I’ve been hating city since before it was cool 😛

    They have very shifty business practices all around. I am not at all surprised to see this from them.

  12. Ravenwood Says:

    I would cancel any bank card that tells me what I can and can’t buy. Even if it was pink tutus.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    For reasons I cannot go into I am not able to post these. But by all means… They are all verified addresses.

    june.rivera-mantilla@firstdata.com
    june.rivera-mantilla@firstdatacorp.com
    june.rivera@firstdata.com
    june.rivera@firstdatacorp.com

  14. Largenfirm Says:

    (sent to investor relations at First Data Corporation)

    TO: fdc.ir@firstdata.com

    I recently received a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, alleging that First Data Corporation is refusing to perform legal credit card transactions between Federal Firearms License holders.

    Checking into this allegation, I discovered that FDC had closed the account of CDNN, a FFL in Texas, and confiscated funds in that account, alleging that CDNN was illegally shipping firearms to non-licensees outside of Texas.

    CDNN denies this, and, as the controlling Federal agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has not taken their license, nor charged them with any felonies, leading me to believe that the FDC allegations are false or mistaken.

    As an FDC shareholder, I am concerned that the company may be opening itself to litigation and customer retaliation with this over aggressive cancellation/confiscation of the accounts of law abiding individuals and corporations. A quick scan of pro-firearms sites on the Internet suggests there are a great many customers of FDC who are upset about this action.

    Please investigate, and determine who put this policy in place, how it is justified, and what remedial action must be taken to correct this mistaken behavior on the part of over-zealous FDC employees.

    Kindest,
    Kirk Hays

  15. Largenfirm Says:

    Email response from questions@firstdata.com

    Thank you for your message. The posting at http://www.nssf.org regarding Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. is inaccurate. Further, while we generally do not comment on individual merchant customers, we would like to briefly address the 12/26 letter posted on the web site. Regretfully, that letter did a less than satisfactory job of expressing applicable policies. Those policies are more properly detailed below.

    Citi Merchant Services and First Data do process firearms transactions. Our policy restrictions address only the sale of firearms in a non face-to-face environment. Non face-to-face transactions occur when a cardholder is not present in front of a merchant and includes mail order and online purchases. It is our policy not to service merchants that make non face-to-face sales in a number of industries, including firearms.

    It is not the policy of Citi Merchant Services or First Data to refuse to process transactions from duly licensed merchants that sell firearms in face-to-face transactions at the point of sale.

    Please direct any questions to Questions@firstdata.com.

    The posting also incorrectly states that Robert Tenenbaum is the supervisor when, in fact, he is not.

  16. SayUncle Says:

    Thanks for the update!