Late fees can be avoided by placing the accounts on an automatic payment schedule. Late payments will age out faster on open accounts than closed accounts. The one positive is that they are probably unable to obtain new credit. Are they going to need to plan for a replacement car in the near future? If they are it will be a shock to them, but they need to plan on paying cash for it. I agree with the others, they need to learn to control credit before considering a consolidation loan. You did not explain how your sister's college expenses were going to be paid. 1.) They have greater than their income between pensions and social security. This is significant and makes up for the lack of other investments.2.) They need a budget.3.) To avoid late payments, setup all cards for automatic payments. If they do not have a budget, this could backfire because of overdrafts.3.) When you call each credit card company, ask what it is required to be considered for rate reductions. It may take 6 months or more of on time payments.4.) Determine which card has some available credit. Destroy all other cards and freeze the remaining on in grape juice. There maybe a reason that they will have to use a credit card, but it should not be easy. 5.) Explain the snowball calculator. 6.) Have them obtain at least one credit report. There maybe collection items that need to be dealt with before they will be able to obtain a new mortgage. It will also show if there are other accounts that they have not admitted. 7.) Do they have other credit such as medical or dental bills?8.) Go to eloans website and use the mortgage calculators. Their monthly payments significantly reduce the amount of mortgage. Their FICO score will increase the interest rates or they may have to deal with a subprime lender. Good luck, it will not be an easy change for them.Debra
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