Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Balance Transfer Woes

Working toward controlling debt is not easy. But it must be done. For me, getting a handle on debt has meant looking at all of the interest rates that I am paying on my debt. After tackling the real credit card debt, I realized that I would be able to get a credit card that gave me a zero percent interest rate. This was a transfer over to my chase credit card from my student loan. So, I moved all of the debt from one of my student loans onto a credit card at zero percent and paid a 75$ fee for the transfer.

Unfortunately, I goofed. I paid my bill online and the payment posted one day late. Interestingly enough, the due date actually moves. I never knew this. So, it was something like the 3rd one month and the 2nd the next month. As a result of this late payment, they incurred a late fee and the 0% rate ended. This was a nasty bit of reality for me but I learned a lesson: always pay the credit card bill at least a week before the due date.

The late payment didn' t hurt my credit or anything, but the really annoying thing is that I also had to start paying finance charges on the late fee!!! But I called the card company and got it handled. They re-instated the zero percent and removed all of the fees. This obviously was a huge win for me and I didn't even have to get nasty about it. So, when something like this happens, call them up. Often, the customer service reps would like to help you and this means that you can make a good amount of money by simply asking for fees to be removed or for rates to be changed.

But finally, the normal rate period expired and I was on the prowl again for a new transfer. I opened a new citibank card and was somewhat dissappointed to learn that my available credit limit was only 1/2 of the balance that was on the other card. But I proceeded with the balance transfer to this card, which should last about a year. That was an even better deal since there was no fee for the balance transfer. The negative here though was that Citibank's Customer Service Rep was not that great. He tried to pressure me to buy the credit protector fee and then he hung up with me when I strongly resisted. It was a bit unnerving, but I refuse to be pressured into that junk. But now I am done, and I am only paying interest on 1/2 of that debt for the next year. And it is a great feeling.


R said...

Just wanted to say that that part about just calling up and asking really worked for me too. I have even had success when asking if they have a current balance transfer offer available that I could take advantage of.

balance transfer credit card owner said...

You have learned really good lesson: pay credit card bill a week before the due date. This lesson is good for everyone. Before applying for a new credit card, be sure that it is available for balance transfer (if you need it)and has no balance transfer fees. A great part of bad credit cards and fair credit cards are not available for such procedure.

credit guy said...

Balance transfer credit cards are always helpful and in some cases necessary to combine your debts or transfer your balance from the existing card with higher interest rates to the lower one. Unfortunately, they are mainly for people with good or excellent credit score.