AARP credit card holders experience bumpy move to Barclays From Chase
Frustrated AARP credit card holders who might be struggling transition from Chase to Barclays should activate their new cards online or with an automated phone system to avoid hours of waiting for phone calls.
That’s the advice from Barclays, which has faced the wrath of new customers despite bolstering its customer service ranks in anticipation of higher call volumes as it began the transition on Monday. Complaints from cardholders range from card delivery delays and activation issues to long call wait times and recurring payment issues.
“We sincerely apologize to our cardholders who had difficulty switching to their new AARP credit card,” Barclays said in a statement. “We are currently experiencing high call volumes, resulting in longer than normal wait times. We are working diligently to help cardholders resolve any issues they may have and to answer any calls as quickly as possible. “
Barclays says new cardholders trying to activate their cards should first look to the following places:
Phone: Cardholders must call the activation number on their new card sticker to use the automated activation system.
Barclays also posted video tutorials for new customers on how to activate new cards online and set up account access online.
While it is not urgent to resolve the issues with your card, it is best to be more patient and wait for help from Barclays after the crisis is over, which can mean several days of use of a back-up credit or debit card for short-term payments.
A change of issuers, a week of complaints from cardholders
In March 2021 – when Barclays announced it would take over Chase’s co-branded AARP credit card portfolio – the issuer announced brand new credit card products.
But Barclays also noted during this announcement that existing holders of Chase’s outgoing AARP® credit card would automatically convert to one of these new products issued by Barclays, starting in September 2021. Barclays noted that:
However, the transition was not smooth and Barclays was ill-equipped to handle the volume of customer issues.
Judging by the widespread complaints on Barclays and AARP’s Twitter accounts, the main issues were about not receiving or being able to use new AARP credit cards from Barclays and not being able to contact the service. Barclays customer to resolve issues.
Activation. Some customers say they saw their Chase cards deactivated before they received their new Barclays cards. This left some without a charge card (if that was the only one). Barclays says all cards were mailed and those who did not receive cards by September 20 should have received them soon after.
Call waiting time. Customers report experiencing hours of waits with customer service, as well as disconnections during those wait times. Barclays says the vast majority of customers have been able to activate new cards online or with the automated phone system. But some customers who needed to validate the data to complete the activation needed to speak to a customer service agent. Barclays says it underestimated the number of new customers who would want to speak to a customer service agent and the length of those calls. Barclays added customer service to their already beefed up staff, a spokesperson said.
Recurring payments. Automated recurring payments billed to some customers’ AARP credit cards were not made, resulting in payment delays or cancellation of services for non-payment. Barclays were able to resolve this issue shortly after the switchover. “It was a technical issue, and we were able to make a change that alleviated that issue,” a Barclays spokesperson said.
No breakdown. The AARP on Twitter has repeatedly said Barclays has suffered a “blackout”. However, a spokesperson for Barclays said there was no outage or widespread tech glitch.
While the AARP name appears on Barclays credit cards, the organization had little to do with the card change. Still, spokesperson Colby Nelson apologized in a statement: “AARP Services is sorry for what happened and the poor transition some cardholders have gone through. We truly appreciate the patience of cardholders as Barclays strives to resolve these issues.
Transition issues are not unusual
It doesn’t help frustrated AARP cardholders, but history shows that the transition of a credit card portfolio from one issuer to another is often a heavy business, leading to rampant problems and angry customers.
Many Costco cardholders in 2016 suffered a problematic switch from American Express to Citi.
In 2019, when Walmart changed its co-branded store card issuers from Synchrony Bank to Capital One, some cardholders reported temporary drops in their credit scores.
What to watch out for
An initial frenzy of angry Barclays / AARP customers seems to have abated, but it is still wise to:
Monitor statements and rewards. Pay close attention to your credit card statements for several months to potentially catch errors.
Keep an eye on your credit. In the long run, a change of transmitter should neither help nor harm your credit scores. But it’s not something you want to leave to chance.
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Gregory Karp writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @spendingsmart.
The article AARP Credit Card Holders Endure Bumpy Move to Barclays From Chase originally appeared on NerdWallet.