Responding to customer complaints, MBNA Corp., the country's second-largest credit card issuer, said yesterday that it will reverse the recent change in the format of its monthly bills so the total amount each of its cardholders owes will again be prominently displayed.
MBNA spokesman Jim Donahue said that starting today the total balance due will "go back to where it was. We got an unexpected amount of feedback from customers that they didn't care for" the change. The company has 50 million customers.
The reversal followed a Washington Post report last week that the Delaware-based company had redesigned its bills earlier this month, dropping the balance from the large box at the top of the bill -- the "coupon" that was to be sent in with the payment. Only the minimum amount due was highlighted on the coupon. The balance could still be found on the bill, but at the bottom in smaller print.
When asked then about the redesigned bill, Donahue said security and privacy concerns prompted the change. If the coupon fell into the wrong hands, the balance could be used to obtain private information about the credit card account, he said.
Government regulations require that the balance be displayed on a bill but do not specify where or how prominently. Consumer groups and some industry experts criticized the initial change as being likely to mislead consumers into paying only the minimum amount due, which would trigger interest charges.
Donahue said yesterday: "We never wanted to confuse anyone. We did this to add additional security features. We'll have to address that issue in other ways."