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
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