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Note to Self – Don’t Hide the Credit Cards So Well You Can’t Find Them When You Need Them

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Our 0% offer for our credit card debt is expiring this month. I have been wondering about what we should do. Should I get a new card with a 0% offer? Should we transfer the balance to an existing card with a better interest rate? Should we live with the interest and just pay it?

As it turns out, the answer was right in front of me but I didn’t see it. I checked all of our cards for balance transfer offers, or so I thought. There was one that I forgot about so I looked into their offers. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the 0% balance transfer offer in front of my eyes. There was our answer. Woohoo!

I started the process of the balance transfer and hit a roadblock. I needed the card number from the company I was transferring from. I checked my usual credit card hiding spot. It wasn’t there. I checked other places I have hid them. Not there either. I hid our unused cards so well I couldn’t find them. Of course, I started wondering if I hid them in a piece of furniture that we recently sold.

Then, it hit me. I should check one more place. There they were. Whew. So I logged in last night and completed the transfer.

There is a balance transfer fee of $240. I’m not thrilled about that, but the finance charges would run close to $100/month if we kept our debt on the current card. Since it’s unlikely that we will be able to pay off our debt in a few months, the fee is worth it to have our debt at 0% until mid next year.

As for our cards, I put them back where I found them. It’s a pretty good hiding spot. But I should remember next time where they are LOL πŸ™‚


21 Comments

  • Reply Ashley |

    Have you checked into Chase? We just completed a balance transfer with them and there was no balance transfer fee plus it was 0% for 15 months.

  • Reply Skyler Collings |

    I have been wondering the same thing. I currently have over $5K on our credit card at 10.5% I’ve been wondering if it’s worth jumping from one 0% offer to the next? If so are there any pitfalls that one needs to know about?
    Thanks,
    Skyler

  • Reply a.b. |

    We just did the balance transfer game, and I’m really excited to have converted most of our debt to 0-3.9%. But we’re running into the same problem, now that we have so many cards I’m very nervous about hiding them so well I hide it from myself, but not the burglars.

  • Reply Joe |

    Holy smokes!

    There are still 0% offers to be had? I thought they dried up a year ago… certainly with the current credit crisis… You go girl!

  • Reply Matt |

    Its a good thing you took advantage of the offer; chances of seeing more like it are going down faster than the banks are. Its amazing how much of your debt you’ve gotten down – when you’re not in debt the overall economy doesn’t have nearly as strong a hold on you.

    I’ve heard of people freezing their cards to prevent them from using them.

  • Reply Tim |

    One problem I ran into when doing a 0% balance transfer is that I was charged 19% interest on the balance transfer fee (in your case $240) until I had paid the entire transferred balance off. In addition, no portion of my monthly payments went toward paying down the balance transfer fee, so the interest on the $240 was added to the principal until I had paid the entire 0% transferred balance off.

    This can really add up if you plan on taking a year or longer to pay off the transferred balance.

    You may want to make sure your cc doesn’t have this same policy, although even if it does you may still come out better in the long run.

    Just something to think about. Love the blog!

  • Reply Joe |

    Tim,

    That’s the game unfortunately. The credit card company hopes you “forget” or in some other way miss paying off the balance before the offer expires – then they can make up for all the money they lost on you during the 0% period.
    I am in no way condoning the practice, just pointing out that you raise an important point to remember: know the rules of engagement!

  • Reply Skyler Collings |

    I get the credit card offers with minor %’s or 0% all the time. I get them about twice a week. I figure one of these days I will take them up on it and play it to my benefit.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Joe – Believe me…I was SHOCKED to say the least. In the many years I have had this card, I never recall seeing a 0% balance transfer offer from them. Maybe the like me now LOL.

    Skyler – you do want to watch the fine print on balance transfers. I haven’t had a card with this stipulation, but some will tack on finance charges if you don’t pay the balance in full before the balance transfer offer expires. Then, you want to make sure you understand the balance transfer fee.

    Of course, if you miss a payment – your interest rate can skyrocket like Joe said. They can make things worse with a 20%+ increase.

  • Reply Mrs. Accountability |

    Wow, you all need to head over to My Dollar Plan. Madison runs $223,000 in credit card arbitrage and also keeps her site updates with the current best 0% interest cards. There are still quite a few of them and NONE of them charge over $99 for transferring your balance. On the page I linked to, she also has a search set up so you can narrow down what you are looking for in the right card.

  • Reply Polly Poorhouse |

    You may be interested to know that the House recently passed legislation that would prohibit credit card companies from jacking up rates retroactively like that. I’ve had a lot of experience with these balance transfer offers, and as you say, if you manage them well, you’re in good shape.

    But what if someone has unexpected medical expenses or loses a job? Would you be able to afford it if you were late on a payment?

    Just something to think about. Good luck.

  • Reply kev |

    I opened up two new accounts in order to take advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer. It has been awesome. I was able to put a huge dent in my total debt by not paying interest. There is a flip side to it though… My total debt is less than a third of what was at the beginning of the year, yet my credit score has dropped… Why? – Too many new accounts opened in a short amount of time. I guess Two = Too Many. I don’t care… The whole mess will be paid of by the end of year and a zero dollar revolving credit balance is a number that FICO just can’t argue with.

  • Reply Da Big D |

    Take your credit cards, put them in a ziplock bag, fill it with water and freeze it. Then you know where they are. If you need them you can break the ice. Plus it helps with not doing anything on the urge.

    Kev: Don’t worry about your credit score. Work on getting away from needing credit for every day living. Cars & Houses (that you can afford) should be the only need for credit. Everything else is just a want.

  • Reply Money Funk |

    Women also seem to have the inate ability to hide stuff really good!

    And Da Big D – I told my husband that is what we are doing with our cards this weekend! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Kevin M |

    Did you happen to call the new credit card company that was offering the 0% balance transfer fee? Sometimes they’ll waive or limit it.

    I had one waive it, and the other limit the 3% transfer fee to $75 on a $10,000 transfer.

  • Reply Family Man |

    It’s always exciting to see your progress. I can only wish at this point, but with some hope and hard work, I hope to be where you are in a few years! Is your family as excited as you are?

  • Reply Abigail |

    I had a similar experience — with balance transfer fees that is.

    I finally applied but it hurt — a balance transfer of nearly $300. Of course, the logic center of my brain kept reminding me that we’d pay that much in interest after less than three months on the current card.

    But it’s hard to do when you know it will increase your balance. Weird but there it is.

  • Reply Cecilie Helm |

    Hi Everybody,

    I’, a journalist from Denmark looking a someone who have credit debt and have either seen their interest go up or their allowed amount of credit go down. I’, working on an article for the Danish web media http://www.dr.dk/nyheder (Denmark’s Radio – News)

    If any of you know anyone who fits that description and who wouldn’t mind talking to/mailing with me, I’ll be most grateful.

    Thanks,
    Cecilie Helm
    chej@dr.dk

  • Reply Cecilie Helm |

    Hi Everybody,

    I’m a journalist from Denmark looking for someone who has credit card debt and have either seen their interest rate go up or their allowed amount of credit go down. I’m working on an article for the Danish web media http://www.dr.dk/nyheder (Denmark’s Radio – News)

    If any of you know anyone who fits that description and who wouldn’t mind talking to/mailing with me, I’ll be most grateful.

    Thanks,
    Cecilie Helm
    chej@dr.dk

So, what do you think ?