No. of Recommendations: 16
I paid off my debt a couple years back (over $35,000 in credit card debt, that I'd not bothered to add up, it was a real tear-jerker at the time, and this hyar message board sure helped out and I got it taken care of).

Then I spent a couple years with no credit card debt (but with a car loan that was at 3.9% interest and didn't seem worth bothering to pay off, and it's now nearly paid off), using the credit cards, and paying them off every month.

An idea that I got from a fellow board member has been a rallying cry: The rules of the game have changed, for me. Now, I don't pay them, they pay me!! I didn't say that, someone else did, and I hope whoever you are don't mind me borrowing the idea.

I'd been getting new credit card offers. At first they were ridiculous (the great rate of 25%, e.g.) but they improved over time until the offers were at 0% on purchases or balance transfers until x/y/z date. None were offering 0% on cash advances, only purchases and balance transfers. The first of those was for 3 months into the future, then they were until jan 1, 2004 (nearly a year), and in the spring I got one until Aug 2004 (well over a year) (I didn't apply for that one).

Anyway, the 0% offers I bit for. I figgered "heck, instead of paying the credit card bill, I can stash the money I woulda paid into a money market account". I use netbank, and the money market accounts are still paying 2% (?more?), and were paying even more last fall.

Well, at the moment I have over $15,000 on the credit cards, 0% until the end of 2003. However, I have a check in the mail to pay one off ($7800) to $0 balance, and therein is the tale.

Y'see, this game woulda worked out great if I'd've kept up-to-date with the minimum payments. However, one of the cards I (brilliant fool that I am) set up to not get paper statements, and then I forgot the online user ID to get the electronic statment. Without the paper reminder arriving in my mailbox, it turned out to be a case of "I forgot to pay the bill this month". I checked last night and found out they've been charging me interest and late fees for the past three months (er... I thought I was caught up with the payments), so the $7800 is in the mail to put a stop to that. Fingers are crossed that it will arrive by the due date ;-) ...

The other two cards involved in this mess, well, I've been getting paper statements, and they're up to date. Unfortunately I don't have enough in the money market account to pay them off right now (about $6000 short). But they're still at 0% until dec 31, 2003, so I have some time.

Besides the fiasco with not getting paper statements and forgetting to check the online statements ... having the 0% rate turned into a bit of a "oh boy, I've got a free ride" game. Not that I went terribly overboard, but obviously I haven't been stocking up the money market account at the same rate as my spending.

And ... all this so I could earn $20 per month (taxable) on a $12000 balance saved up to pay the credit cards that were at 0%. Cost me nigh on $300 in interest and late fees.

Doesn't seem like it's worth the hassle -- unless you like keeping track of things like this. My recommendation to others tempted to play this game? Don't!! I'm sure gonna stay away from it.

- David
Print the post  

Announcements

UGC Disclosure Notice Regarding Credit Card Posts
Community board discussions about credit cards are not provided or commissioned by banks who may have advertising relationships with The Motley Fool. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
TMF Credit Center
The Motley Fool Credit Center arms you with real tools and simple messages, that will help you in every credit situation.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.