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Question: How do I deal with Barclays on this issue? I have 3 cards; two of them opened in 2011 and one in 1994. I went thru a significant life transition four years ago and leaned heavily on credit. (Personal life and work are stable again.) Interests rates are 23%, 20%, and 17% respectively. Let’s just say balances are roughly $25K in total. I’m now on the “debt treadmill” with these cards. I can pay minimums (plus some) but still no significant dent in principal balances. I have a stellar payment history and my credit score is very good (720+). I called Barclays today armed with this information and a good attitude. I politely asked if I could speak with someone that could authorize a reduction in the APR’s on the three credit cards. I was told, rather flatly, that Barclays Cards has put a hold on negotiating any reductions at all to current APRs. I politely asked for a supervisor. The supervisor told me the same thing. I find this appalling but it is what it is. What should I do with Barclays? And, should I consider a personal debt consolidation loan and where does one go to apply? I’m motivated to get this debt paid within 12-18 months but want to clear my debt from Barclays immediately if possible. Thanks for comments and recommendations.
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How do I deal with Barclays on this issue? I have 3 cards; two of them opened in 2011 and one in 1994. I went thru a significant life transition four years ago and leaned heavily on credit. (Personal life and work are stable again.)

Have you stopped using the cards for any and all new purchases? It's very difficult to fill the debt hole in when you keep digging more out.

Interests rates are 23%, 20%, and 17% respectively. Let’s just say balances are roughly $25K in total.

With the recent reduction by the Fed, did the interest rates go down 0.25%?

How are the balances split between the interest rates? Do they all have the same terms for the minimum?

I’m now on the “debt treadmill” with these cards. I can pay minimums (plus some) but still no significant dent in principal balances.

Hopefully, you have been putting the extra a single card - either the one with the lowest balance, or the one with the highest interest rate. Putting the extra payments toward the one with the lowest balance can help keep you motivated by getting that one paid off first. Putting the extra payments toward the one with the highest interest rate will end up costing you less money in interest, which can be motivating. If you are splitting the extra payments across more than 1 card, you're not going to be able to take advantage of either of these motivations.

That said, with $25k in balances between 17% and 23%, your minimum payments are likely to be in the $600 - $700 range. If you want to pay these balances off in 18 months, you need to be paying about $1600 - $1700 per month, which is an extra $1,000/month, not 'plus some'. So, you need to figure out how to increase your income, decrease your spending, sell things, or some combination of all 3.

I was told, rather flatly, that Barclays Cards has put a hold on negotiating any reductions at all to current APRs. I politely asked for a supervisor. The supervisor told me the same thing. I find this appalling but it is what it is.

Since it doesn't sound like Barclays is negotiating anyone's rates, you may want to look elsewhere, open up another card and transfer balances to it. Be sure to look for a card that will have similar (or lower) rates in the long run, and preferably, one that has a 12 - 18 month promotional rate on any balances transferred. Also, look for no or low balance transfer fee.

Here's one list of credit cards that offer promotional balance transfers from Credit Karma. (Credit Karma will get a commission if you apply through their website.) https://www.creditkarma.com/creditcards/explore/i/balance-tr...

There are other sites that provide listings for cards with balance transfers.

Please note - even if you get your interest rate down to 0%, with no fee added to the principal, to pay off a $25k balance in 18 months, you would have to be making ~$1400 payments every month. The 0% rate will save you the ~$420/month (and that will diminish as your balances decrease) that you are currently paying in interest - but the biggest issue is the total balance. So if you can't commit to at least $1400/month, you probably need to lengthen your timeframe for debt payoff.

And, should I consider a personal debt consolidation loan and where does one go to apply?

I would be very cautious about applying for anything that's advertised as 'debt consolidation'. You can look into personal unsecured loans from a bank - there are a few that offer them - off the top of my head, I think Wells Fargo and Marcus (Goldman Sachs) are a couple that do. But you probably won't get much of a break on interest rates, and unless you extend the term out to 4 or 5 years, even with, say, a 15% rate, your minimum payment will be more than your current minimums.

Thanks for comments and recommendations.

If you're willing to list your exact debts and rates, you can get better recommendations.

You should start tracking every penny you spend, and only spend for needs, not wants.

AJ
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I forgot to add, another option for debt consolidation might be lenders like Lending Club or Prosper. But you need to check the fees for those - they are often pretty steep, and will likely negate any interest rate savings you would get.

AJ
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AJ :
Very helpful. Thanks.
I will post more specific rates and balances asap.
I was curious if other people have had the experience of being declined an APR decrease and what strategies can be used to motivate the lenders to negotiate on those rates. Right now I'm the perfect customer for them; ie, I pay the minimums and keep accruing interest … so I feel like I have no leverage.
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I was curious if other people have had the experience of being declined an APR decrease and what strategies can be used to motivate the lenders to negotiate on those rates.

The best option is to pay it off yourself.

The second best option is to transfer the balance to another card, and see if they give you a balance transfer offer to get the money back.

When both the rep and the supervisor say "we aren't negotiating anyone's rates" - it's probably a corporate thing, and you aren't likely to get them to negotiate. And if you look at what's going on in Britain right now with Brexit and the overall condition of British and European banks, I'm not surprised that Barclays isn't negotiating. (You did know that Barclays is a British bank, didn't you?)

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, rather than giving you a balance transfer offer to transfer money back, Barclays decided to close one or two of your cards after you pay them off, especially if you don't use them. So I would suggest leaving a small ($1000 or less) on each of the cards, and leave them until last, if you want to keep those credit lines to help bolster your credit score while you are paying down the debt.

Right now I'm the perfect customer for them; ie, I pay the minimums and keep accruing interest … so I feel like I have no leverage.

Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! You're right, you have no leverage with Barclays - which is why, if you want to find a lower rate, you will probably need to move the money to another card.

AJ
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After a little digging - a few observations:

Barclays has a number of cards currently on offer:
https://cards.barclaycardus.com/banking/cards/#///

If you use the "compare" tool you'll see that interest rates vary by the specific card, and some have annual fees and others don't.

Suggest the following:
If you have points or miles on your existing cards, see if those can be applied as credit balances, or redeemed for giftcards for shopping you normally do. After using up any points or miles, call Barclays back and see if they will move your least favorable account to a different one of their accounts. For example, the Barclay's Financing Visa is more favorable than their American Airlines card, which has an annual fee and higher interest rates. This move will generally eat any of your unused points or miles. Even if the interest rate stays the same, if you can get out from under an annual fee, thats a win.

Go ahead and start shopping for a credit card from another source. You might look here:
https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/credit-cards/best-balance-tr...

Go ahead and apply for 1 and only one. Assuming you get it call Barclays back and ask for a competitive interest rate. After you get that rate on one or a few cards, go ahead and do a balance transfer anyway, if the math works out (e.g. can you afford to make the payments while making the payments on the ongoing Barclay's balances).

Review your finances carefully for things to cut, particularly subscriptions (cable, internet, gym, etc). Cut what you can, and for what you can't cut, call up and see if they can give you a promotional rate.

Sell something. Pick some things that don't spark joy, and go ahead and sell them.

build an emergency fund - $1000 is a good target

get a side hustle that makes economic sense, or if you are paid by the hour, see if you can get more hours.

Its going to take some time to get out of the hole, and if you report in here periodically, we can help you be accountable for it.
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What is your credit score? Have you checked your credit report.

You had problems and are now current. There maybe some bad marks on your credit report. It just is because of the past but it is best to know if you are in a position to obtain a new account from another company and transfer the debt.

Do you belong to a credit union? They can be a good place to obtain a debt consolidation loan. The warning is that many who "clear" credit card debt by moving it run up the credit cards again. It sounds like the debt issue was crisis situation and not a longer spending issue (at least not yours, the personal life issue could be an ex-spouse who did have a spending issue.)
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Really appreciate all of the great advice and suggestions. Some very smart people on these discussion boards. The transitions involved a divorce and a physical move to another state and then all of a sudden being saddled with two mortgages. So, all in all, it's amazing that my financial situation is not even worse!!
Question: My FICO score is currently 723 but I have not gotten my credit scores from the big 3 in quite awhile. Should I order those scores? Where do I order those 3 reports together and does that generate a hard pull on my credit? And, is there a way to get them for free?
Thanks in advance!!
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One other thing … I applied for a loan through Prosper and was approved for $10,000 at 15.85% APR. Lower than my current APR but still ridiculously high ..... and I hear that Prosper does a HP and hurts credit even though they say they do not. Any thoughts?
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My FICO score is currently 723 but I have not gotten my credit scores from the big 3 in quite awhile.

If this is the FICO where the highest is 850, it is a good score. You don't need to order any additional scores.

Where do I order those 3 reports together and does that generate a hard pull on my credit? And, is there a way to get them for free?
Thanks in advance!!


Information on how to obtain your free annual credit reports:
https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-cred...

Rather than order all of them at one time, spacing them 4 months apart allows reviewing a credit report 3 times a year. They don't generate a hard inquiry.

When you said you had problems, I expected far worse for a credit score.

A hard inquiry does have a small impact (estimates are in the 5-10 point range) but that decreases within a few months. The inquiry stays on your credit report for 2 years.

Personal loans at my credit union start at just under 10%. Lending Tree claims to offer multiple quotes within 24 hours. I haven't dealt with them.
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Yes, it certainly could be worse. But then again it could be better.
My credit cards are all sitting in my desk at home where they belong. For now I'm only making purchases with my debit card and cash.
So I guess the 3B report at myfico. com is not worth it for $59.99? I get it - they are making money by providing reports. Somebody told me I needed to know my fico score AND my scores from the 3 CRAs.
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So I guess the 3B report at myfico. com is not worth it for $59.99? I get it - they are making money by providing reports. Somebody told me I needed to know my fico score AND my scores from the 3 CRAs.

Hopefully, you didn't interpret my post as needing to know your score from each of the 3 CRAs. I ask if you knew your credit score. There are a number of different credit scores. Knowing in general where you stand is sufficient. What you need to be aware of is that different scores have different ranges. When you stated FICO the assumption is a maximum score of 850 but there are credit scores with a maximum of 950.

Credit scores from each of the CRAs will be different. The difference should be minor unless not all information is consistent across the CRAs. You are clearly not in as bad a shape as your original post implied.
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The only score important to me is the total shares I've accumulated in Equifax since I began using their dividend reinvestment plan 4/21/99.

That totals 1634.317 shares for a value of $215,739.62.



I began buying my first share of stock through the DRIP as well, so it's been a low cost way of accumulating stock.


Seattle Pioneer
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My FICO score is currently 723 but I have not gotten my credit scores from the big 3 in quite awhile. Should I order those scores?

How do you know your credit score is 723 if you haven't gotten credit scores from 'the big 3' (I assume you mean Equifax, Experian and TransUnion?) in quite a while? Did you get your current score from some place else? I wouldn't bother getting scores directly from the credit bureaus if you have to pay for them, or even if you have to sign up for a 'cancellable' credit monitoring.

You should be aware that there is no 'one' credit score, and 'FICO' scores aren't the only ones out there. Every time you apply for credit, the lender pulls a customized credit score based on their model for that specific product - be it a car loan, a credit card, a mortgage, or whatever it is. So you can get widely varying scores, depending on what you are applying for. Also, the credit bureaus have developed 'Vantage' scores, to try to compete with FICO. Vantage scores were originally on a different scoring scale than FICO scores. Probably because of the confusion that caused, they decided to make their scoring scale consistent with FICO scores - 300 to 850.

That said, because there are so many different credit scoring models, you don't have a 'single' credit score. So the scores that you get from one place are just as valid as the scores from any other place. What you do need to be sure of is that they are in a similar range, and if they aren't figure out what the cause may be - are they pulling from different credit bureaus, which have different information? Are they using different scoring models, that give you different reasons for why your score is what it is?

Where do I order those 3 reports together and does that generate a hard pull on my credit?

There's not much point to getting all 3 together, since you will have to pay for that. Depending on where you get it from, it may generate an inquiry. What I would suggest is checking the credit reports at all 3 credit bureaus. You can use www.annualcreditreport.com to get your credit reports (not scores) for free. Make sure that there aren't any mistakes. If you do find mistakes, go through the process to correct them.

And, is there a way to get them for free?

Lots of places
Experian - https://www.experian.com/consumer-products/credit-score.html... (Note: Equifax and TransUnion don't seem to give free scores, just free credit reports)
www.creditkarma.com
www.credit.com
www.nerdwallet.com
www.quizzle.com

Many banks and credit unions offer their customers (and sometimes non-customers) for free. Here are a couple of links for non-customers to get their scores from banks:

Discover: https://csp.discover.com/free-credit-score/index.html?omclk=...
Chase: https://csp.discover.com/free-credit-score/index.html?omclk=...

But be sure to check at your bank(s) and credit union(s), too.

AJ
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One other thing … I applied for a loan through Prosper and was approved for $10,000 at 15.85% APR. Lower than my current APR but still ridiculously high ..... and I hear that Prosper does a HP and hurts credit even though they say they do not. Any thoughts?

If you actually applied and were approved, there probably was an inquiry. You need to check your credit report to see.

You also need to understand the fees that would be involved to get that loan. If you would be less than the extra interest you would pay on your 23% card, and the payment fits into your budget, it might be worth it to do the loan. If you can't figure out the interest savings vs. the fees, post some information and we can figure it out for you.

AJ
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My FICO score is currently 723 but I have not gotten my credit scores from the big 3 in quite awhile.

If this is the FICO where the highest is 850, it is a good score. You don't need to order any additional scores.

I would say that it's actually an 'okay' score. 720 and above used to be an 'excellent' score that would get you the best rates. Now to get the best rates, you usually need around 740 - 760. So I guess it depends on what you mean by a 'good' score. If it's the score that will get you the best rates, 723 probably isn't it. If it's the score that will get you approved for most credit, but may not get you the best rates, then 723 is probably a 'good' score.

AJ
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So I guess the 3B report at myfico. com is not worth it for $59.99? I get it - they are making money by providing reports. Somebody told me I needed to know my fico score AND my scores from the 3 CRAs.

No, not worth it. Put that $59.99 toward your debt.

I would say that whoever told you that doesn't have a good understanding of the credit scoring industry.

AJ
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If it's the score that will get you approved for most credit, but may not get you the best rates, then 723 is probably a 'good' score.

If it is on the FICO 8 (850) scale, then 723 is above Fair and in the high range of Good. Very Good which as you stated does get better rates starts around 740.

(Give the OP recent issues, I would not have been surprised if his score had been much lower.)
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If it is on the FICO 8 (850) scale, then 723 is above Fair and in the high range of Good. Very Good which as you stated does get better rates starts around 740.

If a score doesn't get you the best rates, then in my book, it's an 'okay' score. I think that by promoting the idea of a score that doesn't get you the best rates as being 'good' the credit bureaus are doing a disservice to consumers. It's totally a marketing thing - because the credit bureaus don't want to tell customers that their score isn't good enough to get them the best rates. They would rather tell them - oh, you have a 'good' score - and mislead them into thinking that a 'good' score is good enough to get the best rates.

AJ
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How’re you doing, Guywithmoney? Did you manage to pay off some of your debt?

Hope the new year is treating you kindly,

- Pam (curious Fools want to know)
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