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Dealing w credit card companies

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

For the past year or two I've been trying to get citibank to reduce my interest rate.  In the past they would always give me better rates but they won't budge.  I thought maybe I would refinance and roll in my CC debt but the mortage guy I deal w talked me out of it.   Then I thought I would apply for a credit card that I could balance transfer my credit card to. Although I have an excellent credit rating they denied it.  I owe about 21K and about 7K is from recent dental work I have had.  Thought maybe I would be able to borrow from our retirement account but I couldn't possibly pay it back within 2 months.  I guess after 2 months you get a 10% penalty plus the tax consequences which our broker said is around 30%.

So what is one to do? Anyone have any ideas. 

post #2 of 19

Is all your debt on one card?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yes it is.

post #4 of 19

Sorry no one else has responded! This is a tricky one.

 

If I am reading this right you have carried a balance on this card for two years now, and at this point it is 21,000. If that is correct and if you have been a good customer (pay on time, etc) they have already made a ton of money off you.

 

Maybe you could try to transfer some or all of the money to a new card--even at the same interest rate and let them know you will be moving your funds as they have been unwilling to work with you at an interest rate you like. Perhaps the very real loss of your continued interest charges will motivate them to knock your rate down a point or two.

 

**I think if I were you, I would freeze that card and not put anything else on it. That will also let the company know you are serious about not using their product if they don't work with you (CC companies get a % off every sale, so they make money even if you pay your card off monthly and don't accrue interest.)

 

Hope that helps and hope you get more ideas soon. It's not a huge amount to owe, but I imagine it feels terrible to see the balance all on one card each month.

 

**edited to add--good to know you have already nixed the borrowing from retirement plan, that's not a good way to get out of consumer debt at all!

post #5 of 19

It's Capital One... they're horrible.  You can settle the debt in an amount you can handle, but you would have to stop paying for a few months.  Theres a whole lot more that goes with that.  I'm just giving ideas here.  I have a Cap 1 card and I LOATHE THEM!  Good luck!

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've already told them I was transfering my bal etc etc. Nothing has worked w them getting the interest reduced.  I've had this card for 15 years in excellent standing.  Thought I would tell them I am going to default but then who knows they may suspend my card or something.

Citi has all my business and I even told them I am going to refi everything w another company.

I'm stuck it seems.  I guess there is no easy solution.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

This is citibank.  I can handle the payments but the interest is killing me.

post #8 of 19

Sorry misread thought you said Cap 1.  I wonder if you could take out a loan to cover the debt.  You know BanK of A.  My least favorite bank turned my credit card into a loan at 3% no late fees for the whole loan.  It's paid off in two years.  I wish other banks would do this.  I asked Cap 1 if they would and they pretty much laughed at me.  Jerks.

post #9 of 19

I had been a loyal citibank card holder for a long time too, with low / reasonable interest rate but a few years ago it went up to 15 or 18 - I forget. It surprised me and I was a bit indignant, seeing that I had been a good customer etc.  Instead of calling them I just transferred my balance (5000) to a 0% offer. Of course a few months later I started receiving citibank offers for 0% transfers.  I think it is just business, nothing personal and unfortunately it appears they cannot help a loyal customer out.

 

I am guessing the reason you cannot transfer money to another card is because all your "credit" is used up. I had this issue several years ago ... even though you just want to transfer money, the new card can not open up credit for you to make room for the transfer.  I believe there is only so much credit available for a person (tied in to your credit report) which increases or decreases depending ... maybe check any old credit cards and make sure you call and officially close them. For instance, on your credit report, it will keep track of every credit card you have ever had and if you had a home depot credit card, for instance, and the credit amount was 1000.00 dollars...even though you have paid it off and the card is torn up, this 1000 credit limit is still available to you under this card. If you call credit card company and have them officially close it, this 1000 may give you room else where. (again, my info is from 5+ years ago, things may be different now)

 

I recently saw a loan offer on ING direct...maybe you can look into that

post #10 of 19

I would open up a new credit card,transfer,and close the old one(maybe). Chase was offering low interest and no transfer fee.

 

I would find some way to move it.Even taking a loan out from a bank or credit union can sometimes be better.My mom has a home equity line and it has super low interest.

 

I would not stay with them.It is like asking a boss for a raise,and when you don't get it you have to decide if you will stay or move on. I would move on.Hope you find something.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Tried to open a new cc with chase but they denied it.  Like I said my credit is excellent but I am at my limit w this card so that is the problem.

post #12 of 19

The problem is that they know they have you whether they charge you less or not, so what's in it for them? Unfortunately, many credit card companies are in a position to basically tell their loyal customers "tough luck!". Speaking as someone who worked for over a decade in the industry, the only way you might get them to listen is to start paying off large chunks of the principal and not charging anything new on the card. Do this for six months, reapply at Chase for a new card, and check in with Citi for a reduced rate... the only thing I can recommend is to try this every six months until you get somewhere. Probably not what you want to hear, but until (if) the economy turns in your favor, they have no motivation to help you. It's no fun...

post #13 of 19

The only way I have ever gotten a cc company to really work with me is to call them and say, "Look, I'm to the point where I'm considering declaring bankruptcy.  I see no other way out of the situation I'm in, since you won't work with me.  I've consulted with a bankruptcy attorney, and this is my last ditch effort to avoid filing.  If I declare bankruptcy, you get nothing.  If you work with me, you'll at least get something."  It didn't work with ALL of the credit card companies I was dealing with, but some did work with me to come up with settlements and/or a 0% interest rate for 6 months.  (I called a couple of them more than once, and depending who I got on the phone, sometimes I'd get someone who was open to the idea, and sometimes I would get someone who would knock it down immediately.  So don't be afraid to call back in a few days if you get an immediate, "no."

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbirdlady View Post

The only way I have ever gotten a cc company to really work with me is to call them and say, "Look, I'm to the point where I'm considering declaring bankruptcy.  I see no other way out of the situation I'm in, since you won't work with me.  I've consulted with a bankruptcy attorney, and this is my last ditch effort to avoid filing.  If I declare bankruptcy, you get nothing.  If you work with me, you'll at least get something."  It didn't work with ALL of the credit card companies I was dealing with, but some did work with me to come up with settlements and/or a 0% interest rate for 6 months.  (I called a couple of them more than once, and depending who I got on the phone, sometimes I'd get someone who was open to the idea, and sometimes I would get someone who would knock it down immediately.  So don't be afraid to call back in a few days if you get an immediate, "no."



Thanks for the ideas everyone.  I just called citibank regarding my interest rate and it seems they lowered  my interest from 19 % to 14% without me evn calling.  Not sure how this happened.

I noticed my paymt had been less this past month and was wondering why.  I didn't tell the customer service rep that though.  He kept saying there

was nothing he could do on the existing balance and kept telling me what I could do with the existing available credit I have to spend.  I persisted and mentioned having a 0% apr for 6 months to help me out.  He then said he could offer me 9.9% for 6 months.  So that would reduce the interest

for 6 months on my balance and and new purchases which I am not going to make.  I asked for 12 months but he said he could only do 6 months but I could call back in 6 months to possibly extend it.  So I am very happy!  Atleast its better.  Thanks again for all the replies.  I told him I was going to refinance it all at another bank if they could not work with me.

post #15 of 19

They have all become pretty tough lately with the banking crisis. I think the bankruptcy option is the only hope.

post #16 of 19

Before bankruptcy, try a credit management program like these guys: http://www.consumercredit.com/index.html

 

Basically these programs negotiate with the credit card companies for you.  On the up side, you usually pay little or no interest on your consumer debt, you have a single monthly payment that can be lower than what you currently pay (though possibly not, the goal is to pay off the debt within 3-5 years so monthly payments vary), and unlike bankruptcy the note in your credit report (saying you're under management) is there only as long as you're in the program.  On the down side, you do have to pay back everything you owe, your lines of credit are closed while you're in the program so you really do have to live a cash lifestyle and plan for rebuilding credit after exiting the program, and there IS a note in your credit report while you're in the program and that can affect employment options.

 

Do research any companies though... things called "Credit Repair Programs" are generally scams.  And even reputable companies don't always work with every lender, so you'd want to make sure they have an agreement with your specific debt holder.

post #17 of 19

I did some data entry recently for a lawyer who worked for a debt settlement firm. They would bundle together debt from the same creditors and negotiate with the companies directly (i.e., twenty Bank of America customers each owe $10,000, they negotiate the whole block of $200,000 in debt and then it's settled proportionally.) They take a cut of the amount they save from each client, and they settle at 50% of the debt or less. The clients also pay a monthly fee, around $50-85. On the plus side, it does settle the debt at way less than you could yourself, even taking into account the fee. On the down side, it usually ruins your credit, because you do break the terms and stop paying the cards while on the program. If you are interested in the name of the company (they're nationwide) pm me. 

post #18 of 19

I think you got some great advice, OP.  I would definitely look into options that help pay down the debt quicker, like the previous two posters have mentioned.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhplantlady View Post

They have all become pretty tough lately with the banking crisis. I think the bankruptcy option is the only hope.



And this is why bankruptcy laws have gotten tighter.  Thankfully.  $21K in debt is not reason enough to file for bankruptcy.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

I was never considering bankruptcy.    Just trying to get a better rate on the one card.  Really just my frustration w citibank.  Luckily, they did finally reduce the rate.  So I am happy for now.   I really wanted to take from our retirement account and pay it off but thats obviously not the best option. Thanks for everyone's input.

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