Credit Card Issues

lostinitJune 6, 2010

Have a Citibank card that jumped from 8 to 14.5% Interest on the current balanace. My balance is over 20k and the monthly payment is about $400 more than I can afford. I have called Citibank and spent two hours with them telling me that there is nothing they can do when in the past they have worked with me.

I had never haev missed a payment with them and in the past they adjusted my rate so I could make payments now they won't do anything. I even explained to them that if they just adjusted the rate or extended it they'd still make money and I do not want to close my account and have been a loyal cardmember for over 5 years. I was told by a senior account manager that I would have to default and then call back so they could work out a payment arrangement at which point I told them that was unacceptable.

Now I am in a pickle. With $400 over what my income allows I cannot pay this off even if I cut out necessities. My only recourse now is to go to some kind of debt management program but I also have other cards I am paying off and I am wondering if anyone has done this kind of program before and what kind of impact it has on your credit report at least for the next 3-5 years. My car will be paid off in 3 years. I don't want to debt settle because that will really hurt my credit for 7 years and I don't want to file bankruptcy because I could lose my home and my car!

What are my options here. I have escalated with Citibank but now I need to know what to expect next and if I go with a debt management program.

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First off, change your phone number to an unlisted one because once you start this process Citi will hound you. If you have a work number listed with them, change that. Then simply stop paying your bill. Citi will attempt to contact you, send you some nasty letters, and cancel your credit card. After a few months of non-payment they'll send you a nice letter offering to reduce the amount you owe by about half. Take them up on that offer.

Yes, this will screw up your credit but so will not being able to pay the extra $400 per month.

Or talk to a bankrupcy lawyer. It's unlikely you'll lose your house or car. In fact, you may substantially reduce your mortgage.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Do not give money to a "debt settlement" agency. They are all ripoffs.

I would highly recommend you go see a certified credit councilor.

The above link is to the national foundation for credit counseling. Follow the links to no/low cost certified counselors in your area. If you have multiple cards with large balances, you are digging yourself a huge hole and you need to get control of your finances ASAP.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:33AM
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You can reject the rate change and close the card at the old rate, with the caveat that you will not be able to use the card for new purchases anymore. This was part of the CC legislation that Obama signed. If you can afford your old minimum payment tell Citibank that you do not accept the rate increase and to close your card, you will continue paying your old monthly minimum payment until the card is paid off.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 9:58AM
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mike_kaiser is correct - it is extremely unlikely you would lose your house and car, although if you have a second home and/or second car, that may be a different situation.

Absolutely do not pay any firm, especially those TV advertising commercials, to 'consolidate' your loans. Work only with a certified credit counselor, or talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.

You shouldn't worry about your credit record because it's probably already shot to h$ll. What you want is to get back on your feet ASAP, and to do that you are going to have to get the terms of your indebtedness renegotiated.

And once you are out of debt, STAY out. Indebtedness is the single most harmful thing you can do to your financial future. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:47PM
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Hand write a letter to Vikram Pandit, the CEO. Label the envelope "personal and confidential". Explain your situation, with notes about the dates, times, names of the people you have spoken with. Make a coherent case for the help you need. A letter like this will get routed to a higher level customer service group, more equipped to be flexible in problem solving. Make sure it includes references to any other large deposits you may have with them, either business or otherwise. If this doesn't work in your favor, nothing you can do will help.

You could also try transfering your balance to another/new card with a lower interest rate.

Unfortunately, you have created this mess. Good luck getting it resolved.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 6:19AM
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If you have a $20k balance and an interest rate of 14.5%, your monthly interest payment should be around $242. Any thing above that will be used to pay off the money you borrowed.

You say the payment is $400 more than you can afford. How much monthly payment can you afford? This is critical information.

Let's say you can afford a total payment to them of $300 per month. If you did this, you would have paid off the debt in just over 11 years. If you paid $350 per month, you would be done in just over 8 years, $400 per month gets you out of debt in 6.5 years, etc.

Figure out exactly what you can afford to pay Citi every month and call them back with a repayment plan that will give them at least the interest due plus some repayment of your debt. Show them that you have thought it out and want to take responsibility for your debt. If they agree to your plan, stick to it exactly.

Never use the card again, until the balance is zero, not even for an emergency. If you receive unexpected cash (like a tax refund or overtime pay from work) apply those funds to this card. If you purchased anything that you can return on this card, do so immediately.

Lastly, take another look at your monthly spending. Many people think of things like cable TV, having both cell and landline phones, at home ISP, as "necessities". Consider doing without these 12 months and using those funds to pay off your credit card(s). Make a pact with yourself to not eat out at all for 12 months (this includes fast food, coffee and gas station food/drinks). You would be surprised how much faster you can get out of debt if you redeploy this type of spending.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 9:18AM
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I have called Citi twice now and have been told the only way to work this out is to first miss a payment and then they will work a plan with me. The dilemma is if I accept their plan I could be paying more than going with a credit counselor. My next step is to contact a couple of credit counselors to see what my options are. It looks like I will likely have to miss the payment and see what happens. I have other cards (Discover 2k bal @ 22% $55 payment, Capital One 7k balance at 17% $174 payment, Home Depot card at 4k balance 22% $114 payment). I can manage those but I cannot manage the citi card. I was curious if anyone else has been in this boat and what they did to get out. Regardless I am current and not behind on my car and house payments so if I do have this dent on my credit report I am sure the car and house payments will stand out more than th citi card.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:42PM
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Liz Pulliam Weston has a msnmoney article that says if you make an appointment with a legitimate credit counseling firm also make an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney so you know all of your options upfront. The one billl linked to is the one she recommended. Of those who do go with counseling she says only 1/3 handled it on their own after a counseling session, 1/3 were too far gone in debt and ended up filing bankruptcy, and the final 1/3 who enrolled in a debt management program ended up dropping out and resuming payments on their own.

Regardless of what you decide, you need to cut up the cards and discontinue their use. Unless the charges are due to a medical emergency, you've been living beyond your means and now it's time to pay up. You'll need to cut spending and increase income. Look into the Dave Ramsey plan (Total Money Makeover). Like cindyb_va said, look at the little things you're spending money on. Make a budget and every single penny needs to be for necessities or else it needs to go towards paying off the debt.

Right now things look horrible but there's hope it can change. How do you want your life to look in five years?
Picture it, write it down and take steps to make it come true.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:32AM
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I hate to hear of your situation . . . when I was a young college student I got myself into credit card trouble (but not to the financial magnitude of your situation). It is easy to build up a balance very quickly.

I used the company below to help me turn my debt around and thus my credit scores too. Do you even know your credit scores? I bet they aren't good anyway with all your credit card debt. Paying on time helps, but the amount of debt can be a negative knotch.

Regardless of the dollar amount, CCCS will evaluate your situation and be able to tell you if they can help or not. They do charge a monthly fee, but it will be small in the grand scheme of things. They will work with the credit card companies to reach a lower interest rate for you and you won't have to be hassled by the companies either. It worked for me and I think it took about 3 years to turn it all around . . . might be different for each person.

Good luck to you. This raise in interest might be the wake up call you've been needing.


Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Credit Counseling Services

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 5:07PM
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One more thing . . .

Are you only making the minimum monthly payments on all your credit cards you mentioned? If so, you'll need to make changes one way or another or you'll be paying for YEARS and YEARS without any progress on the balances.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 5:13PM
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I am making the minimum payments and I am aware of the money being thrown away to interest and the time it would take to pay off balances.

While I agree with Dave Ramsey, I cannot meet his criteria. I do not have the money! I have trimmed down as much as I can. I could work another job but my wife already has one and we cannot afford daycare or babysitters. I don't understand the need for a modified mortgage when I can afford mortgage payments and an unsecured loans hould not take precedence over a secured one. My car will be paid off in three years, bringing on an extra $516/month which I can throw to my credit cards but I cannot do this now! I have written a letter to Vikram Pandit but I am wondering if I should send one to Vikram Atal instead as he is the CEO of Citicards?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 6:20PM
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Since in your original post you state that they have already worked with you but will not now I wonder if you did not follow through on your original agreement.

I do suggest that the CCCS is the best way to go. They can tell you things to cut out of your spending so you can pay off your debt.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 10:27PM
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"While I agree with Dave Ramsey, I cannot meet his criteria. I do not have the money!"

If you have a $516/month car payment, then you have the money to pay your bills - you are just spending it on a fancy car right now. You need to sell the thing and get out from under that payment. Buy a cheap ride and put the rest of your money toward getting out of debt. You are sacrificing your family's well being and security for a stupid car!

Presumably, you have spent years spending more money than you make (I know Home Depot cards aren't for medical emergencies!) Your free ride is over. You are going to have to get rid of many of your "toys" to clean up this mess. Your wife might need to go back to work because you 2 have spent so irresponsibly. Being a stay at home mom takes sacrifices from the whole family, and you haven't been willing to do that so far.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:41AM
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If I sell my car, how will I go to work? Please be rational. I do not have "toys". The Home Depot card was taken out to buy a washer and dryer for our house and I am paying that off now. I am no longer using any credit and I have made sacrifices. I plan on making more and looking for a part-time job if need be. I had to turn to my credit cards when I was out of work for 4 months last year.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:46PM
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"If I sell my car, how will I go to work? "

You have got to be kidding me! A $516/month car is not transportation - it is a toy. Sell it and buy something you can afford. Does your stay at home wife have a car? If so, you could save even more money and carpool until you get your debt under control. Otherwise, buy a beater. You are worried about the payment on a $20k card, but are going to pay $18,576 over the next 3 years on this vehicle? And you tell me to be rational?

Also toys - a $2,000 washer and drier! When you have no money, you can't afford things like that. You can easily get a washer and drier for half that. Since you have no money, you should have just gotten a used set off craigs list for $100 or so.

Look, I'm not against you having nice things. I'm just against you buying stuff you can't afford and then putting your family's future in the hands of a mindless drone at a megabank. I'm also 100% in favor of your wife staying home with the kids. However, if you didn't save up for that in advance and chose to take out a big mortgage, big car payments, and CC payments for your stuff etc...... then frankly you didn't make the sacrifices necessary to give your kids that gift. It isn't too late to change that, but the only way to do it is to get rid of the things that are holding you back.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Billl - you are welcome at my house any time, I will cook and we will have a great time talking smart talk.

Gees, lostinit, you are really lost! Get off the "pitty me" chair and start cutting your credit cards and stop saying that it is ONLY the banks who are guilty of greed. You got a problem with choosing between seating on a plain wooden chair or a antique mahogany chair that massages your back and gives you compliments.

Your car is obviously over your means. $500 - we dont spend that on car maintenance per year. You pay that a month and plus maintenances? Do you have to ride in that comfort to compensate for sleepless nights? You dont accumulate $20K debt in less than 5 years for necessities. Yes, we all need car and washer and dryer. But! You can try using clothes line for a while - saves you on electricity too. The washer and dryer from HD that had to be put on credit card? How much was it? Did you really NEED that particular brand new matching set that matches the color of the walls in your laundry and promises to save penny on your electric bill? When we got our house, we bought plain white washer and plain white dryer, from two different people, for $250 total - used, cash, found it from classified. Both still work, no repairs required at all - 3 yrs later. And I still decided and installed clothes line.
Same thing for our cars -- old but running and all paid for. One actually was picked from junk yard. You know you deserve to call it your own after you got dirty working on it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:10PM
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At its worst my credit card debt load was over $34,000 and I had a job that paid less than $30,000 a year. I paid it off. All of it, I only have one small mortgage to pay each month along with bills for utilities. And I've kept it off but it was not easy and I do not recommend it to anyone seeking advice about money. How? I had to work two or three part time jobs, do without a lot of stuff, go without food at times (always get a part time job in a restaurant), no new clothes, no vacations, nothing nice unless someone gave it to me. The worst part - it took me a little over twenty five YEARS to get out of debt on my own. Thats a long time to do without. If someone gives you a lead on a free service to counsel on controlling debt I think you should take it. The "hard work" way is not fun at all. Plenty of people congratulate me about what I have accomplished but I can tell you that a forty year old working part time jobs with twenty year olds is nothing to be proud of. I'm now in my fifties and have none of those wild vacation memories or big money trips to Vegas that virtually everyone I know has.

I cringe every time I hear one of my younger co-workers talking about school loans or credit card spending out of control or even buying their first house... debt is horrible thing to have.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:22PM
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lostinit , I read your original post. There is a great deal of information left out in your original post.

You seem proud that you never missed a payment. That is all I see that you seem proud of.

"... when in the past they have worked with me.
I had never haev missed a payment with them and in the past they ..."

I agree with everyone telling you to smarten up, not to act like you don't know the basics. Paying the minimum is for those who want to dig a hole that they will struggle for decades to get out of. Is this a description that you wish to apply to yourself? Is this a description that people posting here are willing to stick on you?

To smarten up, and not to act like you don't know the basics, you must admit that jettisoning an expensive car is a good thing to do, and you must must must admit that the person who posted this idea absolutely did say that you would still have a car, but it would be a basic transportation vehicle which costs less. Don't quibble or parse this.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Home Depot card at 4k balance 22% $114 payment).


The Home Depot card was taken out to buy a washer and dryer for our house and I am paying that off now.
Nothing should ever be financed (imho) and interest paid on it, if it is an item or items that will just depreciate over time. Was that $4000 for a washer/dryer set. YIKES! Think of the total cost of those once interest is paid on that loan for years and years, and years. Items such as those (like mentioned above) should always be bought for and paid for with cash, regardless if they are used or new.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 11:33AM
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Lostinit, I agree with billl. Cut up your credit cards, sell the car and get an old one. If you have two cars, sell the newest one. If they are both new, sell both. Stop cable, gym memberships, dinners out, liquor, cigarettes, all sugar/treats. Walks and other exercise can replace the gym membership, and all the other stuff is bad for you.

Buying "top of the line" when you have to charge it is not smart, it just digs you further into the hole.

If you have equity in your house, and live in an area where the housing market is decent, you can sell the house, move into an apartment close to where you work and start over.

Much better than declaring bankruptcy. You would be able to pay off all your bills and learn how to live on your income. Sorry to sound harsh, but you do not seem to be facing reality.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Wow...I am surprised at the negative responses here. I have had the talk you all are giving me now to my wife and we understand. I know that I will have to get another job, I know I have to give up on certain "amenities"...I've learned my lesson when it came to spending and have made adjustments. I created this post to find out what methods others have gone - Settlement, Counseling etc.

Some of you treat me like I am some spoiled brat, yes I could have gone to classifieds and bought used stuff. I am 28 years old and haven't lived long enough to understand the effects of my debt, long-term. But at least I know what needs to be done.

I simply wanted to get a solution or at least advice beyond the common sense of stop spending and cutting up credit cards which I have already done. The bleeding has stopped, now it's time to close the wound and make sure it doesn't happen again. Jollyrd, I already know what I did wrong and I am not repeating those mistakes. Please don't talk down to me because you think I want a handout/free money. I've already learned my lesson...I don't need to be reminded of what I already know.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 6:08PM
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"The bleeding has stopped, now it's time to close the wound and make sure it doesn't happen again. "

Unfortunately, the bleeding hasn't stopped. You are still bleeding from the prior wounds you gave yourself. Your mentality needs to be "do whatever it takes to stop money from flowing out of my wallet".

People are jumping on you because while you think you "got it" I don't think that is really true. You've realized you can't spend like a drunken sailor, but it doesn't seem like you understand the impact of your past behavior. If you didn't you wouldn't be asking about making minimum payments on cards or waiting 3 years to free up money to pay down your debts.

It is VERY hard to slowly drag yourself out of debt. If you just pay the minimums, you are going to be in debt forever. You need to start sprinting, not walking, towards a debt free life.

The fastest way to get there is to sell some stuff you don't really need. The car is probably #1 on that list, but you probably have other things as well. If you have reoccuring charges like cell phones, cable, internet, gym memberships etc, you need to cancel as many of those as you can to free up some money.

Assuming you can get out of the car + cut just a little extra, you should have $500/month extra to put at these debts after your new (much smaller) car payment.

You are paying $55/month on a 2k debt. Put your extra $500 with that $55, and you are finished in under 4 months. Then you have $555 free. You are paying $114/month on a 4k debt. Add the $555 in and that is $669. That will take 6 months to pay off. Now you have $669 and a 7k debt you are paying $174/month on. Add those together and you have $843 to pay on 7k. That is 8 months to pay. Now you have $843 to pay on the 20k you are paying, what? $300 on now? That would be 16 months. That is 32 months total to be debt free except for your house and an extra $1,100 per month to put towards savings and a college fund for your kids.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 9:43AM
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Sometimes I find billl's advice a little harsh. But I'm afraid I have to agree with him here.

Yes, you got in over your head. I've done it too, and it's rough to claw your way out of it.

You got the advice early on to only use a certified credit counselor, and also contact a bankruptcy lawyer. You need to do BOTH immediately.

And you may have to swap your car for a cheaper used one. So what? It's not the end of the world. Consumer Rpts (get a cheap one-month sub off the web) has reams of auto reliability stats you can use. Some of our used cars have been stellar - we buy them from dealers, have to pay a little more but get a better quality used car. Hertz has an excellent Rent To Buy program - rent for 3 days and decide if you want to buy it. My neighbors just got a used Prius through this program and said Hertz had the best price on it by far.

You have children. You need an emergency fund, retirement savings, and at least a modest college fund. Getting out of debt as fast as possible is the very best thing you can do not only for yourself, but for your family. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 3:57PM
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"But at least I know what needs to be done" , "I don't need to be reminded of what I already know" - why then post?

You cant see yourself selling the car that costs you $500+ a month - How is that "knowing" the right thing to do? If you knew, you would have figured that in 6 months of saving $500 you could buy $3000 car - cash! Even if it breaks and you buy another $3000 car every two years - you still save huge. You can sell the old car for junk value. New cars are built of better materials and perform longer. The youngest car in our household is 1996. Never paid more than $2000 for a car.

Did you have any savings accumulated before you went on this spending rush? For emergencies? To repair house? What if emergency happends now - you going to add the cost to your debt total?

I cant believe that billl was the first voice of reason to answer this post. You were looking for a swim in warm waters of "understanding people". Well, those are not smart advices you need. We are the ones who suffer from people like you -- no matter how much I safe and pay extra on my mortgage, dont take any fancy vacations, - the market is down and the lenders are tough on EVERYONE b/c of you and your likes. You are sinking and asking us to pull you out while you are eating ice cream and sun-bathing as usual. I know a person who has $20K in debt and still decides to take three children to a 2-week vacation across the country and buys the newest phone on the market, and then asks me for advice on lowering interest payment. At least this person claims to not to finance a car.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 4:24PM
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"I've learned my lesson when it came to spending and have made adjustments. I created this post to find out what methods others have gone - Settlement, Counseling etc.

Some of you treat me like I am some spoiled brat, yes I could have gone to classifieds and bought used stuff. I am 28 years old and haven't lived long enough to understand the effects of my debt, long-term. But at least I know what needs to be done."

Hang in there lostinit. You aren't the only one who has made financial mistakes, but at least you are still young enough to have the time to correct them before you retire.

You came here looking for some guidance and got some good suggestions (along with some crow). The one about contacting CCCS is an excellent one. I know someone who cleared up 10k in debt within three years this way. The credit providers all backed off when he enrolled in their program.

Here is another suggestion. Is it possible for your wife to watch other people's kids? Thats what a friend of mine did for extra money until her little one started school full time.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 9:57AM
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We are the ones who suffer from people like you

the market is down and the lenders are tough on EVERYONE b/c of you and your likes.

You are sinking and asking us to pull you out while you are eating ice cream and sun-bathing as usual.

Jollyrd, you believe I am some sort of person who spends money on high priced items and still charges to my credit card and drives an audi/bmw/etc. I am not. I am sorry your stock has tanked but you took a risk investing, did you not? That's not my fault. I acknowledge my debt and I am taking action.

I have destroyed all credit cards, paying for goods/services with cash, budgeted and cut out unnecessary spending, I have talked directly to my credit card companies and they have lowered the interest rates on some of my cards. And I am looking to sell or at the very lease re-fi my auto-loan.

Regardless, I appreciate the other folks who gave constructive advice on this thread. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 12:45PM
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Don't feel bad, there's always those who 'pile on' unnecessarily. I guess they just assume that all people with problems are stupid deadbeats who never learn. It's amazing how many of us make harsh judgments and forget about the idea of compassion.

Good for you in taking action on your finances. We just think you could do a bit more, without really hurting your lifestyle. The important things in life really aren't material, and as you get older that old saw really starts to have visceral meaning.

There's an interesting article in the WSJournal June 20, 2010 by Tom Lauricella titled "Dad on Money: 'Do as I SayÂ'". His parents are intelligent, active people, but now in their late 70's they said that getting into credit card debt and using their RE property as a 'bank' were the stupidest mistakes in their life. Doing this in their 40's and 50's literally ruined their retirement.

(excerpt) "My parents, however, were products of the post-war boom. "We are the 'charge it' generation," they say. "Marketing and PR probably hypnotized us."

By no means were my parents loose with their money. Our cars were driven until they fell apart and we were the last family I knew to get a color television.

But credit-card debt is easy to rationalize. "A large purchase is needed for the home," my parents recall thinking. "OK, let's charge it, we can pay it off. Another important item is required. Charge it. Emergency repairs to home and car...charge it.""

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 3:35PM
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I've been where you are. Two years ago I canceled cable, my home phone, my cell phone, and my internet. For a phone I used a pay per use phone. I saved $250 a month just on that those "necessities". I also started selling stuff on craigslist.

When I needed a car 3 years ago, I bought an excellent condition Honda Minivan for $10,000. Payments were about $250 a month. Insurance is really cheap, too.

There's plenty you can do that will help. You just need to really look at your needs and wants. After a year, I was able to add internet service again and I got a great deal on DSL for on $29 a month.

Yes, I've had dealings with Citibank. They are the worst! I will never have one of their cards again.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 4:36PM
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Lostinit, by the new laws Citibank sent you a letter saying you could agree to not use the card anymore and keep the 8% intrest rate.

You have a $20,000 balance and are having trouble making payments. I suggest you call them, lock in on the 14.5% intrest and turn the card off before they kick your intrest rate up.

Because of cancer and months off work I had to use a card for groceries and twice for the mortgage. I know, dumb but it was a no choice time.

I owed just under $7000. For 3 months I made payments but not the minimum. Fourth month I caught up and paid a month ahead. Citi kicked my intrest up from 8% to 29.99% and dropped my credit limit from $30,000 to $7100.

A year later I pay extra when I can and have it down to $4648. Last month, another medical bill expense had to be paid. I paid citi the minimum of $162, the intrest was $116.64 and Citi sent me letter saying my credit limit was dropped to $4700. LOL

What I really notice, last year IF I was stupid and had used all of my cards. I could have charged 3 years income.
All the unused cards either said thanks but bye or raised the intrest on zero balance. Because the cards turned off my unused credit, my Fico score has gone up to 830.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Gammyt, I see your point. I had 9000 on AMEX which I had paid in full two months prior to them dropping my limit down to 1000. I was never late on that account and I usually paid four times what the minimum payment was and yet this is how they repaid me by causing my credit score to drop and lowering my limit. In a way I am kind of glad they did but back to your point..

It seems they just want to keep lowering your credit to the point where it's moot. After hearing your story I am wondering if it would be best to have them close the accounts and pay off the debt instead of trying to pay it off and keep the credit lines since they will probably just cut those back as I pay them off to very low limits.

Oh well, all I know is I feel a lot more confident now than I did before and I will definately avoid using credit cards down the road, either Cash, Check or Debit from now on.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 1:51AM
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Again the OP is blaming everyone except himself.

A suggestion to Grammyt and anyone that has medical bills. Try to set up a repayment plan with the medical providers rather than using the quick way and putting it on a charge card. Then immediately get thee to Consumer Credit Counseling office in your area to go over your debt. Most medical facilities even for profit ones will work with them rather than with the debtor.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:22PM
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The trouble is, you're personalizing corporate business decisions as though they are separating you out as a bad risk. That is NOT what they're doing. Credit limit cutbacks are common nowadays. We've had it happen to us from several banks. Other banks were happy to give us new credit lines.

What you need to learn is how to handle credit wisely, in line with your entire financial planning. I strongly suggest you read the informative article by Liz Pulliam Weston that I linked below, so you can better understand how consumer credit is viewed by companies.

There is NOTHING wrong with using credit cards. You have sizable legal protections using them that you do not have with cash/check/debit cards. What is "wrong" is paying a lot of interest on previous purchases, because that's afer-tax money wasted that could have instead gone to something useful, like a retirement account.

Here is a link that might be useful: MSN Money: 7 nasty credit myths that won't die

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 4:45PM
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June 6 - original post
June 14 - billl suggests you sell the expensive car
July 2 - how many [reasonably priced-that you can pay cash for] cars have you looked at?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 4:30PM
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I have an Amex Card that I signed up for air miles with Delta. (around 2.5years ago). I have mostly paid the balances off in full each month or at least the prior month. My credit limit was $6000. About 6 months ago I received a letter from them statiing that they were dropping the available credit down to $3000. I cannot figure out why. I pay my mortgage ahead, add sizeable extra principle and pay off and ahead on my BOA credit card. My total balances right now are just $1250. What has caused AMEX to drop my available credit?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 6:16PM
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Greenhousems it's not you it's the banks that got into trouble and had to cut back.
That said, some other discussions in this forum suggest that paying down your mortgage before you are in a position to pay it off in full may limit your options. The suggestion is to put enough into savings to cover expenses for 6 months before considering other possibilities.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 10:59PM
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What has caused AMEX to drop my available credit?

Obviously AMEX thought you were a poor credit risk. I'd suggest calling them and asking why they made the decision. It may be an error on your credit report that needs your attention.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:12AM
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It sounds like with the number of credit cards you are currently holding, along with the large balance on the citibank card, you would be a great candidate for a REPUTABLE debt settlement program. I say reputable because it is well known that the majority of debt settlement companies have taken their fees first before they ever settle one of your accounts. However, new FTC legislation bans this practice, and as of October 27th, 2010, debt settlement companies must settle at least one of your debts before they can charge you for their services. You may genuinely benefit from working with an accredited debt settlement company. By doing so, the company will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to help secure a settlement that is a percentage of what you originally owed. Great settlements are usually somewhere between 40-60% of the original debt. If you do choose to do this be aware that your credit will initially suffer, but that with more cash flow to go around because it is not being eaten up in minimum payments and interest, you can actually begin to repair your own credit by making solid financial decisions. In reality, you most likely already have poor credit due to your current situation, so you seem to have nothing to lose by seeking reputable, outside help. You can get ideas for repairing your credit from
Further, I would be wary of going with a credit counseling agency. Though they may have a 'non-profit' status, they are in reality usually set up by the credit card companies themselves in order to recover as much of the original debt as possible. Nobody works for 'free.' Credit counseling works by contacting your creditors to lower the overall interest rate of a debt. Though this may save you some money, you would be better off finding an accredited debt settlement company to negotiate for you.
Arm yourself with perseverance and a solid understanding of all your options. Once you set your mind on a plan, follow through- debt does not have to consume your entire life, and can be paid off in time.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:39PM
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I didn't read all the comments so forgive me if I missed something I'm about to write about.

Do you have decent/good credit? If so, you may be able to open a new credit card that has 0% interest for 12-15 months and transfer part of the balance, then you could allow your self some time to catch up.

Some may disagree with this idea, especially if you can't control your spending, but if you have good to excellent credit, then you should be able to get another card (of course, I can't guarantee that without knowing your personal situation, available credit vs. how much you owe) - you might not even get approved for another card.

I opened a Chase card a couple months ago. It's the ONLY credit card on the market WITHOUT a balance transfer fee for the first 90 days. I opened this card, transferred about $3000 and didn't pay any fees. I plan on paying this card off well before the 0% promotional offer ends. The first month BOA charged me $30 in interest I almost died (yes, $30 bucks) - I opened the new Chase card and NO FEES.

If you had good enough credit to get approved with Chase, then you could transfer part of your balance, not pay any fees and allow your self some time to pay down the Citi card since the interest rate increased.


The hard truth though, may be that you need to cut up your cards, sell your car (get something cheaper) and get a second job. That's probably the best way. Of course you don't sound like you want to get rid of your car. How about another job?


I'm not judging by any means. I too have struggled with credit cards. I just looked up my last 10 months and almost fell over dead about how much I spent. It's sad. I need to make some serious changes.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:29PM
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