Friday, April 15, 2011

Legalized Loan Sharking.

    Credit cards can serve a great purpose- we borrow money that we might not have to get things we need and more importantly things we want. Lets face it- we don’t want to live to work, we want to work to live. Part of that means enjoying your time.. before your close to kicking the bucket during retirement. I’m not someone who wants to work 50+ years before I can live my life. I’ll all about living in the moment! When James and I set out to remodel the kitchen we had a considerable amount of money that we had saved- however remodeling costs are high- and the little things really add up. Needless to say we figured that we would use the credit cards to keep cash in the bank- and still be able to finish up.
    I have to first tell you that I’m a bit crazy when it comes to paying bills. I hate to make bills and I HAVE to pay them off ASAP. There is just something about owing money that keeps me up at night- which was part of the reason last year I went crazy.. But more on that at another time. Sometimes we have to do things that scare the crap out of us. The first bill came in the other day which had all of the big purchases; cabinets and counter tops; and while I expected the sum to be hefty I was NOT expecting my interest rate to increase on top of it. So here’s the low down... Just shy of $7000- with an interest rate of 29.99%!!! I almost fell to the floor and died! Then I got really angry. Part of me not dealing well with debt, and having parents that taught me not to live in the credit/debt cycle means that I have amazing credit. Not trying to toot my own horn here, however I have worked very, very hard to be where I am at the age of 25. So when a company is trying to rob you blind- when you have given them no reason to do so... things can get a bit heated.
     First things first. I wanted to call the company to calmly ask why there was a huge jump in my rate- It previously was between 10-14% (which is still not great, but seeing as I don’t usually carry a balance I didn’t really care.) Second, I wanted to give them a chance to make it right. So I made the call- told them what my concerns were and pretty much asked them to lower the rate based on my previous history with the card and my great credit score. What did they say and do in response? Absolutely nothing. The woman was trying to make excuses for the rate- and said that she would make a note on my account that I thought that the rate was too high.. Umm yea- thats not really going to do anything for me. And this is the even funnier part- There is a warning on the bill that reads, “Late payment warning- If we do not receive your minimum payment by the date listed above you may have to pay a late fee and your APR’s may be increased to the PENALTY APR of 29.9%” !!!
     So I’m paying the PENALTY APR rate when I have never ever ever been late on a payment.. Yeah I don’t think so.
    I got right to work trying to figure out what I was going to do about this problem.. Fortunately while I was paying another credit card bill online I saw something in the side margins- 0% interest on balance transfers until February 2012. Perfect :) It feels good to have figured out a solution- knowing that we will be able to work with this balance in a more pocket friendly way...


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