If you’ve never heard of the FIA Card Services, you’re not alone. However, chances are good that you remember the name MBNA Card Services. As one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the U.S. and around the world, MBNA was a very recognizable and widely promoted brand.
So what is FIA Card Services, and what does it have to do with MBNA? Let’s take a look at the five things you should know as a customer of either company.
1. FIA is Bank of America & MBNA Card Services Combined
When Bank of America acquired MBNA in 2005, the credit card servicing portion of the business was renamed to FIA (“Financial Institutions Association”) Card Services.
From late 2006 onward, anyone holding an MBNA-issued credit card was transitioned over to FIA Card Services to service their credit card account. Bank of America also uses FIA Card Services as the service arm for many of its own credit card offerings.
If you see a new inquiry from “FIA Card Services” on your credit report, it is likely from Bank of America’s credit card division, as MBNA no longer issues new credit cards.
2. FIA is One of the Largest Credit Card Issuers in the World
Many people are surprised to learn the card in their wallet is actually an FIA-serviced product. That’s because many retailers and small regional banks outsource their credit card issuance and servicing to Bank of America, and thus the FIA card service. A close look at the fine print on your credit card agreement and even your monthly statement might reveal FIA Card Services, N.A. as the issuer.
With the financial turmoil of the past eight years or so, there’s been much consolidation in the banking and credit card industries. Bank of America, in addition to its purchase of MBNA, also acquired Merrill Lynch, Countrywide Financial, and many institutions in other parts of the world. As you can imagine, the incorporation of such a varied set of accounts and credit card services has led to an array of challenges for FIA Card Services — and for new FIA credit card holders.
3. Consumer Complaints Led to Fines in 2014
A quick internet search for FIA Card Services will return a long list of consumer complaints, many going back to Bank of America’s initial acquisition of MBNA. Some of the issues stem from changes in the way accounts are managed, while others relate to differences in terms and charges. The government even got involved, and in 2014 fined Bank of America, N.A. and FIA Card Services, N.A. for unfair billing practices.
Other issues reportedly experienced by FIA credit card customers include poor customer support, a rewards program that is difficult to understand and use, as well as interest rates that are higher than many competitors. On top of this, the website and FIA Card Services login were reportedly not very friendly to use or up to date.
4. FIA Card Services Takes Steps Toward Improvement
For its part, Bank of America has stated that they are committed to improving the standards of customer service at FIA Card Services. The FIA Card Services phone number webpage shows a detailed list of numbers for use in different parts of the world. It also lists five different ways to make a payment, and how to handle disputed charges.
In addition, the FIA card services login page has recently been updated, and there is now a single point of entry into the secure site. A recent check of consumer review websites has shown a marked reduction in the number of complaints and allegations against FIA.
5. Look Forward to Even Better Service in the Future
As one of the largest credit card issuers in the world, it’s likely that they touch at least a part of your financial life, whether you know it or not. It could be that your relationship with them is through owning a Bank of America card, or one of their millions of branded credit cards issued each year.
If your experience with FIA has been mostly positive, then you’re in the majority. If not, you can look forward to better service in the future as Bank of America continues improving the customer experience at FIA Card Services.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.