Hi thereI posted this about 10 days ago and didn't quite get the response I was hoping for. In order to make a smart(er) decision I was hoping some of you could give me so feedback. Thanks.I'm fairly young, 22, and doubt that many my age pass their time reading about stories from parents,singles,etc in their 30s,40s,50s,etc. but I do :-).I currently have 4 credit cards, too many I know I know. I'd like to give out the facts and here what you have to say. Before doing that though, this post is mainly because I'm considering opening another card to hopefully close down another. I'm basically aiming at carrying two cards with the largest possible credit limits in case of an emergency and hopefully keep my rates down. I've been paying my bills off consistently for the last 3 years, and have over the time thanks to this board, cancelled 2 cards (I've never had more then 4 at any time, not that that's great). I received an offer from Fleet, a company I don't know much about other then that they sponsor the Fleet Center in Boston.The offer reads as follows: 0% intro APR on purchases untilMarch 2003 with a 8.99% balance transfer rate (not amazing but you'll see what my rates are for my cards. The minimun transfer is $100). Credit limit up to 50k. (not keeping my hopes or desires on that, but personally I'm fine with 5k by far). Offer expires July 31st, 2002. So, after receiving this today I decided to call up Discover in order to see if I could get a reduced rate (it worked before). They didn't offer me that but offered to transfer balances for 9.9%, which wasn't great for me since all my cards are basically at that rate, and Discover is actually the card with the highest rate. So the rep was a bit shocked and offered 7.9% till Sept. (I guess I got excited for nothing), which I took. On that I transfered the remainder of my Nextcard balance to the card. I realized that though I wanted to cut my Nextcard its probably best to just keep it at $0 since it's my oldest card and could affect my credit report.My cards:Discover $1566.68/2000 (includes the recent balance transfer from Nextcard to Discover).Citibank $1770.60/4000 @ 9.9% till Sept. and then 14.9% (I believe).Nextcard: $526.06/1500 @9.9. Transfered to Discover @ 7.9% --> now $0/1500USAA $501.43/1500 @ 10% (might transfer all to new Fleet card).Should I forget about the Fleet card as an opportunity to continue downsizing or are there better options out there. Thanks.
I would hang onto the USAA card forever and maybe transfer all the other cards to a low balance offer until paid off. I have a Pentagon Federal Credit Union card and I have heard USAA is just as good. This is the card you will use forever, once you are beyond carrying balances, and even then. Even though it is a higher percent than all the "deals" out there, it isn't going to skyrocket even if you are late with a payment. There aren't the hidden costs for balance transfer and they work for you, not against you. That is my experience. Unless you are really organized (and I surmise from all those miscellaneous balances that you probably are not), you should make it as simple on yourself as possible. My own opinion, based on my own experience.
In all honesty, I would forget about getting any more cards. I have never had a fleet card, but I have heard some negative things about them.I am not really sure about your situation, i.e. if you are going to school...working 1 or 2 jobs...married...single...kids...etc. My thoughts are that if you are working 1 full time job then I would get a part time job to supplement your income and just pay these suckers off. I would start with the Citibank since it will be going to 14.9%. Once you get one paid off, then I would start the balance transfers within the cards you already have. Then, when all balances are down to $0, I would keep Nextcard since it is your oldest card but don't charge on it. And keep the other card that you like the best but pay it off every month. Use the money you were paying on your cards to fund an emergency fund so you don't have to charge life's emergencies on a credit card.
Belgoboy - Are you a senior in college now (or will you be?) I think that your USAA credit limit should go up $500 for reaching that milestone, as I think that is how their college student card works. If that is the case, here is what I would do:1) Close the NextCard. Not only is their customer service lacking, but I think they are in bankruptcy proceedings. Not the best card issuer to go with.2) Make sure you can get the CL raised at USAA, then, (or even if you can't get a CL increase), when September comes around, transfer as much as you can from the Citibank balance to USAA. A 5% interest rate cut is worth the phone call to USAA.3) Keep Discover, Citibank, and USAA, for now. When you get the Citibank balance down to zero, see if they'll cut you another deal. I've been getting offers of 6.9% for the life of the balance, but I have a zero balance on my card. Since you're already carrying a balance, they're not going to be as aggressive at getting you to borrow more from them. If you do start to get those offers, watch out for BT fees, and try to get them waived.4) When you have a zero balance on a card (especially one that has good customer service, not like NextCard), you are in a great position to bargain with the card issuer. Since you have been carrying balances and have been paying your bills on time, you are certainly a customer they want to keep. So, if you call and ask for a BT offer and what they offer you isn't good enough, you can ask to cancel your card. That will put you through to a different department which specializes in keeping your business; those people will be able to offer you better deals. You can't use this bargaining chip when you have a balance, because they don't have nearly as much incentive to try to keep your business. In fact, many issuers jack up your rate when you call to cancel. At the very least, they won't be willing to negotiate to lower your rate at all.THEREFORE, since USAA doesn't charge BT fees, I would continue to pay down all 3 cards as fast as possible. When you are able, transfer as much Citibank balance to USAA as you can, until you get a zero balance on that card. Then call them to bargain.5) I wouldn't worry too much about getting a Fleet card. You probably don't want to rack up more debt right now if you can help it, so the zero percent purchase rate isn't all that attractive. The 8.99% BT rate is not that great. If you transferred your USAA balance to Fleet, you would save $5 over one year. Not worth it. If you must get a new card, continue to watch your mailbox for much lower BT rates. Closing the NextCard and freeing up $1,500 in available credit might make it easier for you to get lower rate balance transfer offers.Good luck!-z
And Belgoboy, as if you needed any more prodding to keep your USAA card, see the following news story:http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlc=737821-z
Greetings, Belgoboy, Fleet is not a very popular card around here. They are pretty customer-unfriendly. As for good 0% balance transfer offers, look at post 129867 on this board (I think this is the link http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17346704 re: Universal Card) - I don't know what the go-to rate is but this may be an appropriate offer for you.xraymd
Skip the Fleet Card....I signed up for a Fleet Card a year ago because of a decent credit history. They gave me 7.99% fixed and no foreign transaction fees (good for my trip to Paris). It was a great card and the interest rate was great for a fix rate. Just within the last few weeks I have recieved notice from them that they are raising my rates to a variable rate and they are capping the downside of the interest rate. Now I may get 7.65%, but chances are in a short time I'll be paying 12%. I have a feeling that many credit card companies offer good fixed rates and come to hit you at the year mark. On the bright side, when they do this you have the right to contact them with about 6 weeks and lock you account at the current terms and not charge anything more.K
Speaking as someone who's been trying to get their fleet bill paid off but can't because of their two cycle billing, and now ended up with a credit of 36 cents, RUN. RUN AWAY!!
I've had very lousy customer service from Fleet and will be cancelling our card with them as soon as I get some time to focus on financial tasks.-Megan
Greetings, Belgoboy, I think the Fleet isn't a good enough offer. There's just not enough bang for the buck, in my opinion. I would concentrate on paying those cards down, and maybe keep your favorite two of these four you already have. That's what I would do, anyway. --Booa
Hi everyoneThanks for the replies. I really appreciate them. I've obviously noted that you're not really fans of Fleet. I actually received a 2nd offer from them, with this time a rate of 10.9% instead of 8.9%. How dare they :-pAs for your question zskii. I actually just graduated from college..yippie!The one question I do have is that from what I had gathered, closing credit cards is actually a bad thing. Am I mistaken about this. I'm still pretty young and dont' have any sort of "historical knowledge" but I'd love to get opinions about it.Otherwise I'm probably just going to stick with paying down my cards for now, closing the Next Card (once I'm sure about how it effects my credit or not) and then transfering my Citicard balanc to USAA once the 6 month 9.9 intro rate disappears (probably September or October if I remember correctly).I'll contact USAA this week to see if I qualify for an CL increase.Right now though, I feel especially proud of helping out my parents and their horrible credit history right now thanks to the Foolish advice I've been receiving. When I though my credit was bad, their's is even worse (Something around 3 cards with $5000 or more of debt and rates b/n 17 and 25%. Ouch!). I'm trying to get them to transfer some of the 25% to the 17% even though that's just as bad it will already save them on huge finance charges they have and that basically melt away any attempts they make at paying their monthly minimum payments.
Belgoboy,Congratulations on finishing college? Are you gainfully employed or do you have other plans? Not that this would normally be my business, but it could certainly affect your ability to get credit limits raised, and interest rates lowered.Moving on, closing accounts can be good and bad, depending on the circumstances.The good:When deciding whether to extend credit, or raise your credit limit, many creditors will look at your available credit, compare it to your income, and decide whether you could handle a situation in which you charged to your limit on all your cards. Thus, closing NextCard and its 1500 CL will reassure current and future creditors a little bit.While not having anything to do with your credit report, it may be worth closing the NextCard anyway, considering their service record, or lack of it.The bad:If your creditor closes your account, you're in trouble. That almost always looks bad. This is not your situation.Having older, in-good-standing accounts on your credit report is good. Assuming that NextCard was your first card, how much older is that account than the 2nd account you have? Considering that you probably do not have much of a credit history in the first place, I'm betting that the difference in age in your first 2 accounts is not very big. Closed accounts also stay on your report for years, so that may also be reassuring.Also reassuring is the fact that even after closing the NextCard, you would have 3 accounts in good standing. If NextCard was your only account, I think the situation would be different.Did I make that as clear as mud?Good luck-z
I do have one thing to add to what z said:Your credit score is also based on credit to available credit ratio. I am not really sure exactly how this works, but if you close one card that is paid off and then your other 3 cards are maxed out with little or no available credit, then it affects your credit score.
I would forget about the Fleet Card only because I've read so much about Fleet on this board.(those of you who work in healthcare may be familiar with the Fleets Enema. . .I wonder if its the same company.)joycets
Well ZI acted quite quickly on your rec. I called USAA and got an increase of $500 so that I know have $2000. As for my other cards, they are looking like this. $1700/2000 for the Discover after having transfered the Nextcard to it. And for the Citcard $1700/$4000. This is the card I'm aiming to pay off as I put my graduation present on it (that my parents are repaying) as well as my current courses for Real Estate school ($400). I currently don't really have any income, which sucks of course, but I am "normally" going to participate in a medical study that will give me $1247 if I do it for a month. Not bad I think.
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