Chase Bank credit card customers in Canada were treated to an unusual gift when the lender forgave their outstanding debt, Fortune reported on Thursday (Aug. 8).
Holders of the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa and Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Two credit cards can consider their obligation paid as Chase prepares to leave the Canadian market.
Canadian cardholders were still making payments just a week ago when Chase decided to purge the debt instead of auctioning it a third party.
The cards were shuttered last March after 13 years, but many cardholders were still making payments, with several still owing thousands of dollars, the report said. Chase didn’t say how many customers were affected or how much debt was involved.
“Ultimately, we felt it was a better decision for all parties, particularly our customers,” Chase spokesperson Maria Martinez said in an email to Canadian news outlet CBC.
“I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face,” Douglas Turner of Coe Hill, Ontario told CBC after learning he was off the hook for $6,157.
When he received a letter from Chase this week, he expected bad news. Instead, he discovered his debt was forgiven and his recent $300 payment would be reimbursed. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said to the news outlet.
Chase probably realized it was less expensive to absolve the debt rather than continue collection efforts in Canada, credit card rewards expert Patrick Sojka told CBC.
“They’re still probably paying taxes, paying accountants, and for them, they just probably worked it out and [said], ‘Let’s just forgive the debt and fully get out of the country,’” he said.
Parent firm JPMorgan Chase has recently recorded record profits, refocusing its efforts on the expansion U.S. branches, investments in small business apps like Freshbooks and the launch of its own cryptocurrency — JPM Coin.