Washington Mutual (or shortly known as WaMu) is another major issuer of credit cards. Washington Mutual is considered one of the most important credit card issuer in the States, even though credit cards are just one of the services it offers. Still, Washington Mutual credit cards are widely accepted, no matter if they are Visa or MasterCard.
Washington Mutual is the largest savings and loan institution in the United States and its activity is focused mainly on loans, mortgages and other types of money lending. Formally Card Services (which includes not only credit cards) are one of the 4 major segments but unlike many other companies, which are primarily a credit card issuer, Washington Mutual is above all a savings and loan institution.
The predecessor of Washington Mutual was founded in 1889 and the company has undergone through many transformations during the years. There have been many mergers and acquisitions and one of them was the merger with Providian. Many people consider that this merger was the end of the credit card activities of Washington Mutual.
Providian is notorious for its cheating practices and many Washington Mutual credit card holders complain that Providian's practices of charging late fees for paying on time, or for outstanding balances when the balance is actually zero have been adopted by Washington Mutual as well.
It is true that after the merger with Providian, the credit card policies of Washington Mutual changed and as a result of that the terms are becoming more and more unfavorable. For instance, the rates for foreign currency transactions of Washington Mutual are one 1 percentage point higher than those of Providian, while over the years Washington Mutual's fees for foreign currency transactions used to relatively low.
Washington Mutual itself is one of the companies that issue Washington Mutual credit cards. Currently they have the Washington Mutual Platinum MasterCard. Among the notable features of the Washington Mutual Platinum MasterCard is the time for approval. As advertised on their site, there is a 30-second online response on applying. However, many customers report that the actual process of approval takes much longer because 30 seconds after you apply, you get a message that you will be contacted later.
$0 fraud liability on unauthorized purchases is another benefit of Washington Mutual credit cards. However, having in mind that so many other credit card issuers offer the same kind of protection, $0 fraud liability is hardly a feature that makes the offer of Washington Mutual an outstanding one. As a matter of fact, the credit cards with Washington Mutual brand that are issued by Providian, offer better terms and conditions (at least for the majority of card holders), than those issued by Washington Mutual itself.
Providian is another major issuer of Washington Mutual credit cards. In addition to the Providian Visa Platunim card they offer also several types of rewards cards. Again, compared to the offers of other credit card issuers, this looks pretty modest. However, one has to bear in mind that Washington Mutual might not offer the widest selection of credit cards but it does offer many additional services.
For instance, not many credit card issuers offer holding outstanding balances on credit cards in portfolio, or securitizing, or selling them. The explanation is easy – while many credit card issuers are not full-fledged banking institutions and have neither the resources, nor the expertise to offer such advanced credit card services, Washington Mutual has traditions in banking and that is why the additional services come so naturally.