Sunday, July 26, 2009

U.S. consumer credit market report

Personal angle that bears no wider statistical value:

Got the same balance transfer offer from Commerce Bank in the mail twice in one week;
Received e-mail from AT&T Citi card* that my credit limit was increased to a hearty $8,300.

Oh, it's far too easy to get a high-interest loan, isn't it?
As if I'm going to put roofing repairs on a charge-card!

*Card had not been used in years; was used** online a few months ago at encouragement of "use or we close" letter. As this is the card that saved my ass when I was being held by Japanese federal agents at the airport in Fukuoka (having memorized the calling card number, I was able to make an international call for assistance on the green pay-phones), I had to keep it. Also it is a Mastercard, and I like to have one in addition to the Providian- Washington Mutual- Chase VISA, because contrary to commercials, there are some places that don't take the latter (like my university).

**It now has a zero balance, and I did not pay them any interest. Sadly, we do pay interest to a bank I hate more and which is meaner about sneaky penalties and seems to be inching away from the traditional grace period, Bank of America. Perhaps transferring is the way to go. The other VISA in question is not un-evil, but despite its reputation for screwing people, including my dad, has never done me wrong. The switch after this last collapse was a bit harsh, though; they made one agree to all kinds of online rules, and they cancelled some existing services. They think I am worth $15,000 in potential debt. We won't even talk about the golden '90s … I'd have to go find my debt-journal, but it was quite a journey from $18,000*** in the hole on multiple cards — using less than half of all credit available to me — to having thousands in savings. Too bad there was a house purchase and then a salary slash, or we'd be home-free (literally, but happily, I think, because then we would go travel).

***I don't know how — I really don't.

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