Few business credit cards have received as many consumer complaints as the First Equity card.
This card is not intended or available for personal use but is aimed only at small business owners for their use and use by their employees.
The credit account is listed as a business account but the company required personal financial information to open a new account.
Even if the business has credit already established in its name, this personal info and credit rating of the business owner is considered for approval.
Applying for a new credit card with First Equity is not the simple process other lenders have in place.
You cannot simply go to a site online and fill out an application and there is no phone number listed to call and apply by phone.
First Equity distributes applications to small businesses with good credit ratings and invites them to apply using a special code number supplied.
In other words, this credit card is by invitation only. Some businesses may receive an application by mail and then realize they have no code to enter in the application process.
The First Equity website has a database of businesses considered worthy of applying and the code may be found there. If there is no code for your business, you cannot apply.
Account Holder Complaints
If you search online for information about the First Equity card for small business you will notice a high number of consumer complaints. These seem to be focused on specific areas of concern.
Small business owners say it is difficult to reach anyone in customer service if there is a problem with their account.
The contact information for First Equity is a mailing address and an email address. There is no phone number or customer service contact number.
New account holders say the interest on the accounts is not the same as the interest promised when they applied. Interest rates do fluctuate but no one reports receiving a lower rate than promised.
Spending limits have been a source of complaints. In some cases, the spending limit on an account was lower than had been stated before the credit card account was opened.
However, the most questionable practice has been granting a high spending limit but allowing only a portion of that limit to be used by the account holder.
This has resulted in embarrassment of declined purchases when the spending limit listed for the account clearly was far above the amount being charged.
The explanation from First Equity was that conditions on the card were different than initially offered.
Not long ago, the first equity website displayed a message that the credit card program had been discontinued and accounts transferred to another lender. Card holders were told to contact their new lender regarding account questions.
With the same lack of focus on customer service that had generated past consumer complaints, the closing of the credit card division was not fully explained to current customers.
Some card holders report their cards are still viable and can be used while others received notice their accounts had been discontinued.
Of special concern to consumers with the business account held by this lender is the possibility that the account closure will be reported on their personal credit files.
The accounts that were closed would show on credit as “closed by lender” which is widely considered to be a negative credit report.
As a rule, lenders close a credit card account only when there is a problem with payment on the account.
The most telling complaints were on the myFICO forum which is known for providing accurate consumer to consumer information about credit lenders.
Card holders reported difficulties getting answers about the reporting of this mass closure and answers given by First Equity were not reassuring.
When account holders were able to get through by phone they were told by customer service representative there was no information available on how those closed business credit accounts would be reported.
Perhaps no lender has provided a better scenario of the risks associated with credit card use than that shown by First Equity.
Small businesses often used those cards because they were easier to qualify for than the business accounts for other banks.
This was due to the use of the business owner’s personal credit which is something businesses want to avoid.
Some users received offers of new business charge cards from lenders who purchased portion of the First Equity database of consumer accounts while others found their personal credit negatively affected by account closures that were made without warning or explanation.