Congress Reduce My Interest Rate

I wrote a post yesterday, commenting on Congress’s decision to inquiry into the practices of the Banking and [tag]Credit Card industry[/tag]. In the article I posted a link to a story on Yahoo in which [tag]Citibank [/tag]came under fire. I was glad to see the heat, because I have a [tag]Citibank credit card[/tag] and they are charging me [tag]loan shark rates[/tag] because I was late once 9 months ago.

I have called almost every month to see if they can reduce my interest rate. The answer was always “no.” For the last 9 months I have paid their high interest rates and paid more than the minimum. So after yesterdays news broke, I decided what the heck I will give them a call today to see if I could get my rate lowered.

To my surprise when I asked the customer representative he said my [tag]interest rate[/tag] was “too high” and he would definitely reduce my rate. 10 minutes later my interest rate was cut in half. Thanks Congress for putting the heat on! Even though [tag]Congress[/tag] has not legislated the [tag]credit card industry[/tag], at least it has changed the attitude of the bigger card companies.

Senate Takes on Credit Card Industry

[tag]Congress[/tag] is taking the [tag]credit card companies[/tag] to task over [tag]fees and interest rate[/tag] practices. [tag]Sen. Carl Levin[/tag], [tag]Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee,[/tag] said an investigation by his panel found “abusive” and confusing practices by credit card companies that can increase financial pain for many families.

What Sen. Levin is doing is trying to get the credit card companies to take action on their own. They would be smart to take action because the last thing the [tag]banking industry[/tag] wants is congress to start legislating their business.

[tag]Citibank[/tag] has already made changes in their fees and interest rates to make a good show to congress.

Read more here

All American families who carry credit debt appreciate the effort of Senator Levin, but let’s hope this is a first step in getting real control of the Credit card industry. [tag]Debt[/tag] is not good for America. When Americans are strapped with debt they can spend less on the economy, their quality of life suffers, and we also know the number one cause of divorce is finances.

Stay tuned America. Let’s hope this congress goes to battle for us. Until then keep [tag]paying of your debt[/tag]!

The Party's Over

So a co-worker of mine mentioned that [tag]February[/tag] tends to be a slow month for [tag]retailers[/tag] because most [tag]Americans[/tag] are recovering from the “hang over” spending they did during the holiday. [tag]Credit[/tag] usage during the holiday is as much apart of the holiday season as the [tag]Christmas[/tag] tree itself. This is unfortunate.

I say this because our family used to be one of the millions of [tag]American family’s[/tag] who bought gifts that weren’t in the budget and relied on Credit to get what we wanted. This year 2006, would be different. We had a game plan. Start saving early and start shopping early.

The game plan, put $50 a month aside for Christmas. In theory we would have $600 to spend on [tag]gifts[/tag]. We tried to look for “[tag]deals[/tag]” through out the year, particularly at Costco. We started buying gifts in late summer. By the time December rolled around we had 95% of our gifts purchased! And it was all done with cash no credit!!

What did we learn? [tag]Reduced stress[/tag] by planning ahead. We didn’t go into debt for the holidays. Established a game plan for next year, which worked. We already have a couple things we want to buy at [tag]Costco[/tag] next week for Christmas gifts.

This post wasn’t meant to be we are better than you at all. In fact we are just like you but this year we really wanted to make a change, which started with a spending plan. This rolls into the biggest part of having good credit, create a [tag]livable budget[/tag] where you can afford to [tag]pay off debt[/tag] and not just pay the minimums. This allows for timely payoff of credit and fosters [tag]responsible spending[/tag].

Credit Cards are Not The Problem

I heard [tag]Dave Ramsey[/tag] say this on his radio show today. He then followed the comment with “credit cards are the symptom of someone not being able to say no…” This remark was in regards to a caller, so don’t take this as blanket statement about credit card usage.

What he is saying is some people believe they deserve what they want when they want it even if they can not afford it. With these types of people credit cards enable them to get things they want and pay later. The cost over time is a [tag]huge debt[/tag].

My generation has grown up in an incredible time of convenience, prosperity and wealth. This environment has helped to bread our “want it now” at what ever cost attitude. I think about my grandfather who passed away 15 years ago and if he saw how my generation treats money he would roll over in his grave. He would be ashamed of some of the financial choice I have made in my past.

It’s about responsibility and self control. So before anyone jumps on me as someone who is preaching a [tag]frugal life style[/tag], this is not the case! If you want a new truck/car save for it or at least a big down payment. Do you want a tropical beach vacation every year? Well give up your daily Starbucks coffee and save the money for your vacation.

It’s about choice and I choice to live [tag]debt free[/tag].

Life Takes Visa

I was watching TV this weekend and I saw numerous “[tag]Life takes Visa[/tag]” Commercials. I also see these billboards all over the city. If you haven’t seen the commercial the basic gist is as follows, life is too expensive and there are so many things we “want” to do and buy so we need a little help from your friends at Visa to accomplish these goals.

Using your Visa to pay for things you really can’t afford is one way to live your life or you could save money and [tag]pay cash[/tag]. It’s a free country so you make the choice.

But keep this in mind.

You will end up paying much more for the item than if you had just paid in cash. The amount of money you use to pay your Credit card minimums subtracts from the money you could put into a savings account or other investment accounts, which stops you from building true wealth and a secure future. If you amass too much debt the stress involved is enormous. This can take a hefty toll on your relationships with those you love. For this reason alone Visa should change there slogan to “Visa takes Life.”

Yes, life is expensive but just because you want it doesn’t mean you should have it right on the spot. I was once one of the legions of Americans who bought into the “Life takes Visa” way of life, but after creating a [tag]debt hole[/tag] so deep I thought I would never get out, my attitude changed real quick.

I changed my situation around by doing the following:
Realize there is a problem with your spending habits
Stop spending on [tag]credit[/tag]
Put together a budget
Put together a [tag]debt reduction[/tag] plan
Take action
Stay focused

You will be [tag]debt free[/tag].

 If you are in the same place as I was years ago you can get out but you must get focused and change your attitude about spending, and you must do it now!

First Step in being bebt free

… is to STOP using your [tag]credit cards[/tag]. I have an idea you shuld cut them up just like this young lady did! I applauded her! Every journey starts with a first step and not using your credit is the first step in becoming debt free. Watch and learn.


Cost of paying the minimum

The true cost of paying the minimum on your credit card will suprise you, if not scare the day lights out of you. If you need a reality check please check out this very cool tool over at

Talk about motivation to pay off debts!!! And motivation is half the battle. Have a good weekend!

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How to avoid late fees

I found this article on ExineArticles. It’s titled How to avoid late fees. I have one simple full proof method, pay on time!! No need to read this article, just pay on time. However if you want to read it you can.

Everyone hates late fees and being late will cost you dearly these days. For some credit cards today, if you are late, you will have to shell out as much as $40 each time. This can put a nice sized hole in your pocket really quick.

How to Avoid Credit Card Late Fees

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Right way to Cancel a Credit Card

Be careful when you close a credit card account. Make sure it will not hurt your credit score. Check this resource I found which can help you close the credit card in the right way.

There’s a Right Way, and a Wrong Way, to Cancel a Credit CardThe first thing to do is make sure you have a zero balance on the card or it’s likely your card issuer will raise your interest rate as soon as you’ve cancelled in order to squeeze our as much from you in interest as possible.Start with a phone call, and remember to follow up in writing and to check your credit report to be sure the closure is reported accurately. Some creditors will report the account as “closed by credit grantor” which has a negative connotation and can hurt your credit score.

There’s a Right Way, and a Wrong Way, to Cancel a Credit Card

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Visa Master Card to pay 336 million

Master Card credit cards. Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay a total of 336 million dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the credit card firms shortchanged US consumers in foreign currency transactions, a regulatory filing showed.(AFP/File/Mike Clarke)

NEW YORK (AFP) – Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay a total of 336 million dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the credit card firms shortchanged US consumers in foreign currency transactions, a regulatory filing showed.

Visa, MasterCard to pay 336 million dollars in currency suit – Yahoo! News

Look like they were adding surcharges to credit and debit transactions with out disclosure!

Well gald to hear the little guy one on this one.

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