Categorized | Merrill +

All Merrill+ Visa Cardholders Upgraded to Visa Signature

Any longtime holders of the Merrill+ Visa card, were stuck without “Visa Signature” status until recently; Now, all Merill+ cardholders will be upgraded to Visa Signature status without re-applying for a new account, more details on Visa Signature status below.

Visa Signature Status includes benefits such as:

  • No pre-set spending limit
  • Sports tickets and special access
  • VIP access to Film Screenings, Movies, Broadway Shows
  • Travel savings and upgrades at some of the world’s finest resorts and spas.
  • Fine Wine and Food including free Zagat survey access, and invitation only experiences.

10 Responses to “All Merrill+ Visa Cardholders Upgraded to Visa Signature”

  1. Hando says:

    This can negatively ding a credit score, especially to those of us with a very high Merrill+ limit, which now appears as a “zero” limit on a FICO report…

  2. Hando says:

    And just for clarification:

    you say “specific cardholders who meet Visa Signature criteria will be upgraded to Visa Signature”

    and “select Merrill+ cardholders have been upgraded to Visa Signature status”.

    It is ALL cardholders who have been “upgraded”, not just a “select” few. There are no criteria to meet – the features of the Merrill+ card have simply been changed. All Merrill+ cards are being reprinted with the signature logo on them. And all cardholders will no longer have their credit limits reported to agencies such as TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. (It will be reported as “revolving”, rather than any number.)

    So any Merrill+ holders would be advised to reallocate a large limit to another card issued by the same issuer (FIA) in order not to drop their credit score…

    This is confirmed with the issuer directly.

    • Tyler says:

      Hi Hando,

      You seem to know a lot about this — like you, I share the concern that changing to a no-limit, signature version will cause my Merrill credit line to be reported as $0, as is the case with my no-limit Amex. I even called Merrill to ask it I could opt-out of this “upgrade”, but was told no.

      However, my Merrill+ Signature card arrived today, and on the paperwork is explicitly states that my credit line is still 15,000. So, do you think there’s hope?

      • blackcard says:

        Tyler, I imagine it would report the same as a traditional AMEX card, which still reports maximum balance. I’m not sure if the credit bureaus have adjusted their thinking or calculations to take this into consideration as it does not represent an actual available credit line. We need an expert on credit bureau reporting to comment on this —

      • Hando says:

        I have done some research with FIA card services regarding the change of Merrill+ to signature.

        I have also done previous homework with Amex, Visa and MC.

        Here’s what you need to know:

        * Your new Merrill+card has no reported limit.
        * It is a revolving line, which they may or may not tell you.
        – Amex doesn’t tell you what that is (in fact, it changes every month based on your previous 12 month charges and record.
        – Visa Signature and MC World (or World Elite) are also “no preset limit” cards, but their computers do have a hard and fast “credit line” which is used to approve or reject charges.
        * Your card (as a Visa Signature) has a “credit line”. You just mentioned the amount. It should be the same as your old Merrill+ “limit”.
        * This is not the same as a “credit limit”. The credit limit, as reported to the 3 bureaus, is “revolving” just like an Amex charge card is.
        * Sometimes, the reported “credit limit” is mistakenly logged as your highest balance, or your last month’s balance. That’s a quirk of the bureau and neither Visa, MC or Amex can change that.

        * When you pull a credit report, part of your score is comprised of the ratio of “credit used” to “available credit”. i.e. if your limit is 15k and your last bill was 5k – your utilization ratio is 33%.
        – The ratio is an aggregate of ALL cards’ limits vs. ALL cards’ last balance.
        – Anything above 20% starts to ding your credit score.
        – Any high INDIVIDUAL ratio (i.e. on a particular card, assuming you have more than one) also harms your score.
        – So if you have a 10k limit on one card, and your balance on that card is 7k – this 70% harms your score, regardless of whether you also have another card with a $90k limit and a zero balance on it (and, thus, your aggregate ratio is only 7%).

        Thus, whereas previously your 3-bureau report shows a number of 15k for available credit with FIA, today that number is zero. How this affects your particular score varies on your own circumstances and utilized credit – but it almost always does hurt it.

        The only way it won’t hurt it (and will actually help you) is if you were usually maxed-out on your Merrill+ card. Under the old card, it would show a very high individual utilization – and now it won’t.

        Bottom line: I recommend:
        1. Make sure you have another Visa (NOT SIGNATURE) or MC (NOT WORLD OR WORLDELITE) with BofA or FIA.
        2. If you don’t – apply for one, even on the phone. Choose one with zero annual fees, since you probably won’t ever use it.
        3. Once you get another Platinum or Platinum Plus card with FIA or BofA (it’s the same company now) – call and ask for a reallocation of credit lines between your 2 accounts.
        4. Leave at least 5k on your Merrill+ account (more only if you usually charge over 5k every month and don’t want to paydown the balance mid-month).
        5. You should never let your new Merrill+ “credit line” be 5k or under. If you do – your card will no longer have Visa Signature benefits.
        6. Move all the rest of your “credit line” over to your other card as a “credit limit”. This number WILL be reported and will help your ratio.
        Make sure to use the other card once every few months on a coffee or something – just to keep it active.

        Good luck !!!

  3. Hando says:

    it’s not “select” cardholders who were “upgraded” – it is everyone.

    All Merrill+ cards will now be printed with the “signature” logo.

    This is confirmed with the issuer.

    • blackcard says:

      Hando, thanks for the update — Charles Schwab still cites specific criteria for their Visa Signature card.

      Enjoy premium Visa Signature benefits if you qualify.
      If you qualify for a credit line of $5,000 or more, you’ll enjoy complimentary premium benefits including:

      Maybe Visa has recently lifted some of the requirements to push the card?

      • Hando says:

        you’re talking about a VISA USA exclusion.

        If you have under a $5,000 credit limit, Visa will not consider that as a “signature” product, no matter what the issuer says.

        Note various co-branded cards (like airlines, etc) which are signature, and in the fine print they say “if you are offered a credit limit of below $5,000 you will be issued a platinum plus card”.

        So, even though all Merrill+ cards are now being reprinted as “signature” (go to their website to see the new picture of the card), if you currently have a $4,999 limit, then Visa will not honor any of the “premium benefits” despite the design of your physical card.

        Or, if you want a “lowly” platinum plus visa card, and prefer not to have a free one – you can pay $495 and get a Visa Black. Then you can be sub-par, and poorer by 500 bucks too, LMAO…

  4. No_limits76 says:

    Call it my plan to help out the economy. ,

  5. mrp_e says:

    i’m really not happy about this. bank of america is ruining a perfectly good card. i signed up for it few years ago when it first came out, and we consolidated all our cards, amex platinum, other visas, the works. great point system, great rate, great service. i liked my merrill+. i’m pissed, back to amex…


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