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                                Credit & Debit Cards
When To Use Them Debt Collectors
Finding & Keeping Low Rates Low Rate Loans To Pay Off Debt 
Managing Your Debt Pay Half The Amount Bi-Weekly
Lost Or Stolen Cards

Disputing Billing Errors/Bad Services & Bad Merchandise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                       

When To Use Credit Cards

Avoid using credit cards except in the following situations: 

  • During an emergency

    When you know money is coming that will allow you to immediately pay off your debt. (such as when you must buy a wedding present today and your paycheck arrives tomorrow.)  

  • To secure travel arrangements i.e. airline tickets, rental cars or hotel reservations.

  • When purchasing goods from distant
    companies.

    Credit cards give you special rights to stop payment when you have a legitimate problem with the merchandise. 

    s
    uch protection comes in handy when you bought the goods through the mail, phone or Internet and returning them would be impractical.

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Finding & Keeping The Lowest Rates
Finding The Lowest Rates
Keeping The Lowest Rates

 

Finding The Lowest Rates

LookUpCreditcards.com

For the best deals on balance transfers, low rates, airline miles, etc,
see index on left hand side.

New Credit Card Laws & Finding The Lowest Balance Transfer Rates

Balance Transfer Deals For People With Excellent To Bad Credit

CardRatings.com
Has good balance transfer rates.

www.bankrate.com
Search for the cheapest credit card according to Geography, Type of Card, and your credit needs.

CardWeb.com

Maybe It's Time To Change Your Credit Cards (Lists Links To Cheap Credit Cards)

Secured Credit Cards (Consumer-SOS)
Don't look for a secured card only unless you're been turned down for other credit cards.

Eloan
Offers some credit cards with very low rates.

www.debtworkout.com/altcc.html
Dedicated to helping debtors and others with credit problems to obtain either a secured or unsecured credit card for the purpose of re-establishing good credit. 

Google Search On The Lowest Rates
Get the best savings for auto loans, credit cards, savings accounts and CD's, home equity loans & mortgages and unsecured credit lines.   

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        Keeping The Lowest Rates

By Being A Low Risk
By Transferring Credit Card Balances

 

Being a Low Risk-Show Lenders You're Safe To Lend To
To keep rates low, creditors must be convinced you’re safe to lend to. Creditors divide people into two groups: Those people who are "High Risk" and those people who are "Low Risk".  Obviously it’s the low risk group who get offered the best rates. To show creditors you’re low risk you’ll want to:  

A.  Pay off your monthly balances on time.  Late payments alarm creditors and may indicate you’re over your head in debt. When it looks like you’re about to go belly up, creditors protect themselves by upping their interest rates. 

B.  Pay off more than your minimums each month. Before they offer you low rates, creditors first consider not just how much debt you have, but also how fast you’re paying it off.  The faster you pay it off the more low risk you are. The lower risk you are the lower rates you’ll get. And low risk debtors are in high demand.  It is the low risk debtor that creditors compete for. This applies not just to your existing credit cards but also to those unsolicited offers you receive in the mail. 

C.  Close out credit cards and existing credit lines no longer in use.  Remember, your credit rating depends on a variety of factors which include: Your income to debt ratio, and your potential to go into more debt based on the credit you already have.  Having less credit means you are at a lower risk for over spending. And a low risk debtor is bound to be offered lower rates.  

D.  Pay off any outstanding bills even if they’re very small. An unpaid bill of just $60 dollars may be enough to convince creditors you’re a high risk.  Remember, the creditor knows nothing about you personally.  And often the little they do know is learned solely from your credit report. If that report shows you’re lax with small debts, you’ll have a tough time convincing them to lend you a larger one. Or as the Bible says: Those who cannot be trusted with little, cannot be trusted with much. 

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How  I Kept My Rates Below 3% For Years  (Skip To Step By Step Instructions)
I was 18K in debt. I had four credit cards at 18%, 17%, 16% and 15%.
When the costliest card would not give me a better deal, I would naturally transfer the balance to the cards with lower interest rates. So now I’d have $0 on my 18% and the rest of my debt stacked at 17%, 16% and 15%. Most people get this far. With nothing on the card at 18%, a few would then ask this card for a low balance transfer rate.  Again this is nothing new. Obviously, if you get a lower rate, a transfer would be made from one of the higher rate cards.

But what if the 18% card won’t offer a lower rate?  At this point, the consumer thinks they’re stuck. They know that a 17% interest rate is better than 18%.  So they leave things alone. The balance transfers stop. Now, with their debt stuck on the three cheaper cards, the card issuers have no reason to lower their rates further. And so the consumer is at an impasse until their debt is paid.

But it doesn’t have to end this way!

The consumer should know that as long as they can transfer balances to any card at will, their bargaining power is tremendous. This may mean using a higher rate card to remove debt from a low rate card, simply, so the low rate card will provide an even better rate. Doing this I received rock bottom rates for years. I also had them waive their transfer fees.

In the example above, I asked the card at 18% for a lower rate and they refused. At this point I called them back to get a different service rep. I told her I was considering a large balance transfer, but only if they waived their transfer fees. These fees can run up to $200 or more depending on the transfer amount.

Now the card issuer was in a bind. With no balance, they were still required to service my account, i.e. mail me out my monthly statements, their new card offers and all their new promotions, etc. For once, I was actually costing them money! Eager to start charging me again, they agreed to the fee waiver.

Next, I did something counterintuitive.  I transferred the balance from my cheaper card at 17% to the more expensive card at 18%. With no fees, the transfer cost me nothing. A week or two later I called my 17% card to confirm it had a zero balance. I explained it was way too expensive to keep my debt there, which is why I moved it. With my balance at zero, they knew I wasn’t kidding. I then asked the card at 17% for the lowest balance transfer rate they had.  It was 5% for five months. They gave it to me instantly. Once again I had them agree to waive the fees beforehand. At this point, I re-transferred my debt from the 18% card back to the prior card, which now had a low rate of 5%.  So while the card at 18% wouldn’t bargain, it made the 17% card cut me a better deal.

This process was repeated with every single one of my cards. Each card would be zeroed out so I owed nothing on it. I would then ask them for the lowest balance transfer rate they had.  Sometimes they’d bite. Sometimes they wouldn’t.  But I would do this to every card, even if it meant transferring my debt to a higher interest rate. There was no cost because the fees would be waived and I could always transfer it back if I had to.

So by stacking my debt onto any three cards at will, the card with a zero balance would feel compelled to give me their lowest rate. To make things extra easy, I made a chart to track when it was time again to move my balances. The chart listed all my card #s, their low rate expiration dates, card balance amounts and card contact #s. With it, I could play the balance transfer game at will, and in under thirty minutes. This saved me thousands. It also kept my rates at below 3% until my cards were entirely debt free.

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Transferring Your Balances To Keep Your Low Introductory Rate (See Narrative)

New Credit Card Laws & Finding The Lowest Balance Transfer Rates

Balance Transfer Deals For People With Excellent To Bad Credit
 

The section below is for you if you're stuck with high interest debt that cannot be transferred to low interest credit cards.  Do not take this tact unless you are ready to stop using your credit cards for new purchases. Warning!!! If you can't control your spending this will only hurt you. 

To get the cheapest rates, the card issuer must be convinced of your power to go elsewhere. To do this, you must be able to get any one of your cards entirely free of debt. Then make them compete with each other through the balance transfer game. Here's how.   

  • Ask Each Card If There’s A Lower Interest Rate Available. Asking for a lower rate never hurts. Often you’ll get one.
     

  • Make Sure You Have Enough Credit Or A Low Enough Balance, To Free Up Any One of your Cards Through Balance Transfers. So if you have debt on cards A, B, and C, your combined credit on cards B and C must be enough to transfer the debt off credit Card A. Likewise, you must be able to instantly transfer the debt off card B, even if it means stacking it on cards A and C. Key is having enough combined credit to free up any card of your choice.
     

  • Ask For A Credit Line Increase On All Your Cards if you need more wiggle room. Or, apply for another credit card.

    WARNING!!!
    Having too many credit cards can hurt you-especially when you're applying for a car loan or mortgage.  Indeed, your application can be rejected if you have too many open accounts.  The reason has to do with you being seen as a bad credit risk.  Lenders fear the more credit you have the more credit you'll use. And if you over extend yourself, they're concerned you won't be able to pay them back. So consider closing out some of your extra credit cards at least three months before applying for a loan.
    But closing out too many could also hurt your debt to credit ratio, so be careful.
     

  • Those With Maxed Out Credit Must First Shrink Their Overall Credit Card Debt. You want the power to instantly free up any card so they will negotiate with you. This requires the debt on the card to disappear, if only just for an instant.This can be done by making extra payments, obtaining a loan through a relative or friend, or by having part of your debt temporarily transferred to another person’s credit card. Be creative. Find a way.
     

  • Transfer Your Balance Off The Card With The Highest Interest Rate So It’s Now At Zero. A zero balance means the card issuer can no longer charge you interest.  And with no interest on your account, they’re actually losing money on you!

    Before transferring funds, consider the cost of the transaction as well as the interest rate.  Some cards charge up to $50 per balance transfer while others charge $200.  Others have a 3 percent fee with no limit.

    Tell the card issuer you are about to transfer to, the size of the transfer. The bigger it is, the more likely they’ll honor your request for them to waive all fees. If the representative won’t do so, speak to a supervisor. Remember: Everything is negotiable. And when it’s a high dollar amount, they stand to make big money on you anyway. If it makes dollar sense, do the transfer regardless, waiver or no waiver.
     

  • Negotiate A Better Rate On The Card That Now Has A Zero Balance. Once your highest rate card is entirely debt-free, explain to them how you can't afford to keep a balance there unless they offer their lowest rate for balance transfers. Ignore low purchase offers. They’re irrelevant.
     

  • Transfer Your Balance To This Card, Even If You Don’t Get a Better Rate. Ask them to waive the transfer fees.

    Negotiate For A Better Rate On The Second Card That You Just Now Removed the Debt From. This card may be far cheaper to use than the card you stacked your debt on. No matter. They don’t know your other interest rates. Nor do they care much. They just want to make money off you again. To maximize your negotiating power, wait until their records confirm a zero balance. It may take up to ten days for this to occur.
     

  • Repeat These Steps With All Your Credit Cards Until You Have Received The Best Rates Possible For All Your Balances.  Repeat These Steps Whenever Your Transfer Rates Expire. Remember: every card at zero wants your money again. So each has the potential to give you an amazing low rate. To get them to woo you back may require you to do something counterintuitive i.e. temporarily zero out your card at 15% and transfer the balance to your card at 18%. But fear not.  When the cheaper card sees they were paid off, they may offer you an even lower rate to get you back again.
     

  • When You’ve Gotten The Best Rates Possible, Pay Off Your Debt Pronto!
     

  • Use A Chart To Keep Track Of All Rates And Balances. 
    List the amount of debt per card, the interest rate for each introductory offer, and the rate you will have to pay once each offer expires.  Also keep track of credit card #s phone #s and account #s as well as the amount of credit left on each of your cards. Document everything!!!! Especially the date and name of the person you spoke to (in case they forget the low rate they just offered you!)

    See Sample Chart 

Sample Debt Chart
Copy the chart below and put in your own data. Note: This chart shows that of five credit cards, three have zero debt.  Because credit card issuers cannot earn money on these accounts, these are the ones you'll have the most leverage on when asking for low promotional rates. Remember, your greatest bargaining power is always when your card is at zero.

Even if all three accounts don't get lower rates (unlikely), they can still be used to "zero out" your other credit cards. With five cards you have five opportunities.  For example,
you could zero out Chase once the 5.9 % rate expires, and then stack this debt onto your 4 four remaining credit cards.  Now with Chase at zero, you can again bargain with them to give you another low rate. If they refuse, you can always use them to zero out another card and see if the other card will negotiate  In July, you can do the same with MBNA, as that is when its low rate expires.

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CREDIT CARD

DEBT

INTEREST RATE ENDS

CREDIT LIMIT

CREDIT REMAINING

ACCOUNT #

PHONE#

MBNA

$13,158

7.90% till 7/10 confirmed
rate on 1/1/10 with "Suzie" Badge ID# 2343 

$13,400

$242

(800) 789-6701

4368-2034-0303-7540

PEOPLES

$0

13.99%  
fixed

$5,300

$5,300

(800) 426-1114

4435-2860-0606-5444

CAPITAL ONE

$0

14.62%  
variable

$7,500

$7,500

(800) 955-7070

452154-1272-76-0342

CHASE

$3,500

5.9%  
till 9/10
confirmed
rate on 1/1/10 spoke to "John" Assoc # 4567 

$4,800

$1,300  

(800) 441-7683

45-04-424-532

CHOICE

$0

14.4%  
variable

$1,000

$1,000

(800) 934-2788

4428-1330-1366-2353

TOTAL    $16,658                     $14,242          


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Secured Credit Cards

Using Secured Credit Cards (BBB Basics)

Secured Credit Cards (List Of Cards & Options)

www.debtworkout.com/altcc.html
A Website site dedicated to helping debtors and others with credit problems to obtain either a secured or unsecured credit card for the purpose of re-establishing good credit.

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Cutting Debt Through Bi-Weekly Payments[i]
Instead of paying the minimum amount once a month, pay half that amount every two weeks.  This could save you thousands of dollars on interest by faster reducing the monthly balance on which the interest is charged. 

For example, say you owe $3,500 at 17 percent and your minimum monthly payment is $70.  If you pay only the minimum each month, it will take more than 25 years to pay off the $3,500! And by that time you will have paid more than $7,200 in interest!!!  But pay $35 every two weeks and you'll cut your over $5000 in interest and be debt free in just seven years.  Naturally higher than minimum payments will cut your debt even faster.

When paying your mortgage pay a regular payment and then in the middle of the month, pay a little extra ($100-400 ) to get the principle balance down quickly.  This can get a 30 year loan paid off in 12-18 years.  The Reason: When you pay just your bare minimums, it means 99% of the first year or two of payment goes strictly to interest.  Ask your bank to apply each of your payments within 24 hours.  What you don't want is the bank to wait until next month (and have the interest acrue).

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[i] Taken from the June 15, 1997 edition of the Atlanta Constitution p.D6.
 

Disputing Billing Errors/Bad Services & Bad Merchandise

Disputing Billing Errors/Bad Services & Bad Merchandise

Time Limit On Negative Info, Time Period To Collect A Debt & The Maximum Amount You Can Be Charged (Consumer-SOS)
Links on statutes of limitations, how long negative info remains on your report and answers to other frequently asked questions.

Fair Credit Billing Act
Establishes procedures for the prompt correction of errors on open-end credit accounts. It also protects a consumer's credit rating while the consumer is settling a dispute.

Using The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Debt Collection Letter
Use this letter to ask collection agencies to provide you with information concerning their basis for claiming that you owe a debt ("verification of the debt") and also ask them to stop contacting you. This only applies to collection agencies, not to creditors who directly sold you goods or gave you credit or loaned you money.

Fair Credit Reporting Act
Establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on an individual's credit record. A credit record may be retained seven years for judgments, liens, suits and other adverse information except for bankruptcies, which may be retained ten years. If a consumer has been denied credit, a free credit report may be requested within 30 days of denial.

Where To Go For Help (Consumer-SOS)
Getting help from the government, non-profits and the media.

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Lost Or Stolen Cards

Lost Or Stolen Cards

Basics On Lost Or Stolen ATM & Credit Cards (Scroll Down)

Where To Go For Help (Consumer-SOS)
Getting help from the government, non-profits and the media.

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Credit and Debit Cards