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I've held off on posting here because we've been handling our debt and paying it down fairly well prior to my finding this board. But it appears that a decision I made last year is coming back to bite me in the butt.

Here's the situation - about 2 years ago, DW and I sat down to realize that we had somehow accumulated about $60K in CC debt. It was amazing and frustrating because I had always been the pay-the-balance-in-full type, and I simply hadn't been paying attention to the finances. We had moved into a new house in 2000 and were buying everything and anything we needed for the house on credit cards. The total built up, and when I finally did look, it staggerred me.

DW and I quickly sat down, worked up a budget, and started our debt payoff plan. Suprisingly, it looks very similar to what is typically preached on this board - the snowball method. We cut back on spending and have done pretty well. We've got our balances down to about $31K today, so it's working well for us.

One thing that we did do wrong though apparantly is now coming back to haunt us. Last summer, we paid off one of our CC's and we closed the account. This was a MBNA card with a $38K credit limit. I closed it because I was PO'ed at getting hit with a $110 finance charge a month after I had paid off the last of the balance in full. That wonderful 2-cycle balance was the culprit. After closing it, we were left with 6 cards, and a total of about $48K in CC debt. The total credit limit of those cards was $78K. I wasn't paying attention to the credit used / credit available ratio, as it had never been an issue for me.

Well, that ratio came back and got me yesterday. I received mail from Chase that they were going to amend the terms of my CC to increase the rate to 24%. Only recently that card had gone from the 0% promo rate up to 14%. I have never missed or been late on a payment, so I was wondering if this was an error. I called the 800 number on the form and spoke to someone there. She proceeded to tell me that Chase had reviewed my credit and determined that I had too high a ratio of used credit to available credit, so they had deemed me to be a credit risk. They ignored the fact that we paid $10K in CC debt down only last week (DW got her sales bonus) which brought our ratio back down under 50%, and they presented me with an offer to either close the card and freeze the rate, or let the rate adjust to 24%. I told them I needed to think about it and I would get back with them.

I promptly got off the phone and initiated a balance transfer from my Chase card to my US Bank card (which had been paid off last week). Unfortunately, my rate on the US Bank card is at 15.5%, and they wouldn't offer me a lower rate. I asked why, and they indicated that they simply were not offering any reduced rates.

I've also tried to get the rates adjusted on my other remaining cards, and I seem to be getting nowhere. Discover and Chase had previously been at 0% until November, and AmEx had been at 7.9% until February. Now, none of them appear to be willing to do anything about adjusting the rates.

Here is the current CC lineup for me:

Card Rate Balance Limit
Discover 16.70% $10,563 $14,000
Chase 14.40% $12,384 $14,000 <-- Rate will go to 24%, balance to $0
AmEx 17.20% $8,221 $11,000
US Bank (Me) 15.50% $0 $22,500 <-- Balance will go to $12,384
US Bank (DW) 18.00% $0 $12,000
MSUFCU Visa 11.90% $0 $5,000
TOTAL $31,168 $78,500

Now that I've been reading this board, I understand that I will not close the Chase account, I'll just let that rate adjust, but with no balance to be affected. But I still am not happy with some of these other rates. Does anyone have any advice on how I might be able to get the rates reduced? Since November, the interest payments on those cards have been a real thorn in the debt reduction I have been trying to achieve.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff
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