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  1. Being a rather excitable sort, I got excited when I saw a packet of seeds advertised online for (wait for it...) $3.75. Think of it: my very own packet of seeds. Would this mean I would start having to dodge those gold-digger types who are attracted to this sort of thing? I couldn't wave those seeds around just anywhere. But that wasn't the best bit. The best bit was that I could pay for it in 4 interest-free installments. Whoa! Would I be good for it? Could the merchant rely upon me to come through with more than just the first installment before I was overtaken by bankruptcy? I could just see the suspense building to positively Hitchcockian levels. Except, of course, it turned out that my high-bandwidth eyeballs were working ahead of my low-bandwidth brain (as usual) and that wasn't quite what was actually being offered. Rather, the site was offering an installment scheme for purchases of $50 or more. Drat! However, this raises the question: is $50 the bottom of the barrel when it comes to interest-free installment purchases? Or are there merchants so eager (or desperate) to make a sale that they are willing to put, say, even a $40 or $30 purchase on an interest-free installment plan? Naturally, a CB discussion would not be complete unless it included a category for an interest-filled installment plan as well. So: is there a merchant from whom I could buy, say, a pack of gum (i.e. make a sub-$5 purchase), yet still end up paying for it for the rest of my life? How low can you go? Please give the purchase dollar amount, whether the installment payment are interest-free, and the APR if they are not.
  2. Thank you for the reply. From what I gathered after the fact, this is exactly what he ended up doing. I expect estate agents are used to dealing with all sorts of specific requests (e.g. "I won't buy a house unless it is south-facing.") Frankly, I am not sure just how many of the concierge services are useful for much of anything in 2023. Perhaps I had unusually bad luck, but the people with whom I spoke at a half-dozen-odd card issuers did not inspire much confidence. I had heard talk off and on about "the great resignation" over the past couple of years, but I am afraid it has taken until relatively recently to penetrate my wooden head that, yes, even the financial sector is finding it difficult to find good people to place in key customer-facing positions. (Well, now I know, anyway.)
  3. Does anyone know of a CC concierge service that might be able to help with a specific request? The situation, briefly, is this: I have a chum whose wife is in the hospital. Naturally, he is seeking local accommodation so he can be near her. The catch is that, for technical reasons, the accommodation must have a hard-wired broadband Internet connection (i.e. Wi-Fi is not going to cut it). My question for the board is: is there a CC concierge service you have used in the recent past that you believe might be able to give my friend a hand when it comes to finding a place with a hard-wired Internet connection? So far, I have talked to: Visa Signature concierge service - 1-800-953-7392 Amex concierge for personal/business Platinum cardholders - 800-525-3355 Citi concierge department - 800-631-3026 Dish-cover: has no concierge department (I did ask) Are there any others I may have overlooked?
  4. From the article: I suppose the high figure comes largely from home mortgages in the US? (Speaking for myself, if I owed more than, say, 20k in household debt, I would be wetting my drawers.)
  5. Hello, When you tip, do you tip based on the pre-tax or the post-tax amount? As near as I can tell, there is no right or wrong answer, but I am curious as to what the board has to say on the subject.
  6. Does anyone know (or would like to guess at) approximately how many "hit points" TransUnion penalises cardholders who are carrying two CCs with small balances rather than one? I ask because I was hitherto under the impression that carrying a small balance (e.g. <$100) on two cards rather than one would not make a great deal of difference with regards to my TU score. However, my TU score suddenly and mysteriously dropped 30+ points for a couple of months before it rebounded. After eliminating factors such as new apps or Naughty People messing about with either my cards or my credit records, the only difference I can detect is that I was carrying small balances on two cards rather than the usual "cup of coffee" balance on a single card. Has anyone else encountered this phenomenon? Between ourselves, I cannot quite decide whether to be annoyed or frightened that such a minor change in my CC management results in a large (well, large to me, at least) difference, but this is what the numbers appear to indicate.
  7. Hello Everyone, I recently bought a radio through the WWW. The problem? Well, judging by the odour, the radio has much more in common with an ashtray than a radio. Clearly it was owned by a smoker and, just as clearly, the person who sold me this gear was hoping I wouldn't notice something that is entirely inescapable. My question is: do plastic items impregnated with cigarette smoke lose that smoky smell over time? Or is it a matter of once there, always there? I am under the impression, based on my dim recollection of lurking in second hand shops where the staff did their best to make the wares presentable, that the smell never really goes away. However, it has been rather a long time since my lurking days and my memory may be playing me false. Is there anyone here who can set me straight when it comes to this sort of thing?
  8. I rarely, if ever, deal with debit cards (something which may become apparent shortly) and someone recently related a tale regarding these that has me baffled. The story, from what I gather, is that a debit card holder bought something that did not suit and applied for a refund from the merchant. Rather than simply crediting their account for the amount in question, the merchant issued the cardholder an eCheck instead. Is there a reason a merchant would do this? I thought, at first, that the cardholder might have closed their account between the time they made the purchase and the time they called the merchant to whinge about their purchase. However, the cardholder insisted this was not the case. The only thing that leaps to mind is that this eCheck business is a variant on the "rebate" racket, whereby the firm offering the rebate is banking on most people not bothering to redeem the rebate. Likewise, I can sort-of see why a merchant might wish to issue an eCheck rather than simply crediting a cardholder's account: because there is a chance the person receiving the check might fail to cash it. However, the more I consider this, the more unsatisfactory an explanation it seems. Any ideas? I am truly intrigued by this phenomenon and welcome any explanation you may have.
  9. Thank you for confirming this. Ah, I was mistaken, then. I thought an in-person visit would be necessary, but it is nice to hear this is not required. This seems to be one of the better secured CCs. Thank you for suggesting it. I am afraid that, in my near-total ignorance regarding secured CCs, I was under the impression that dealing with them would be far more straightforward than grappling with standard-issue, unsecured cards. Not having messed about with my own CCs in some time, I had quite forgotten that anything related to credit has a great many moving parts and that a wise consumer cannot handle these things in a ramshackle, half-hearted sort of way. I see now that I should have steered this person to CB from the very beginning; I had initially thought that asking the board for suggestions and passing them on would be a good idea. However, it has become plain that, if she is seriously interested in acquiring and maintaining her credit, she ought to be the one asking all the questions and doing all the legwork herself. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who made suggestions regarding secured CCs in this thread. With any luck, someone seeking a secured CC at present will find it useful. I tried poring over old secured CC threads before asking any questions, but there do not seem to be many of these on CB (er, perhaps I missed something)?
  10. Thank you for this suggestion; this card seems designed for those with a) atrocious credit or b) nonexistent credit. And while I am not sure which of these applies in this case, exactly, I do know that one of them does apply. The OpenSky card appears to be a potentially useful card, but my impression is that it is likely to take an OpenSky cardholder longer to obtain results. Having said that, I think it might make a good alternative card if Discover/BoA secured cards turn out to be unobtainable and an in-person visit is necessary for an SDFCU account.
  11. From what I have been able to find so far, it does appear that BoA and Discover offer two of the better deals for people looking for a secured CC and who have between $100 and $300 to put down to secure the account. Yes, but I am guessing an in-person visit would be necessary to open an account. If so, that would make it a non-starter in this particular case.
  12. It is useful to know that additional funds could come in handy to help get things underway faster. Alas, this is not likely to be an option. Rather, this potential CC holder would be starting out with a deposit of from $100 to $300 and working her way up from there. The one advantage this person has is that the tradeline she is seeking is relatively small (< $3,,000). So while she does not have much to start with, she isn't looking for much, either.
  13. Yes, I understand this and am trying to develop a better understand of which specific issuers allow their cards to graduate within a reasonable timeframe vs. those issuers given to keeping their hapless secured cardholders on the hook for as long as possible. My guess is that an in-person visit would be required to open an account with SDFCU, is this correct? I ask because an in-person visit to a branch is likely out of the question. However, if it is possible to apply for an account over the phone and mail in a money order to get things started then this may be doable for the party in question. To clarify, is this: ...the thread to which you are referring? Yes, I understand that opening two account to start with would be the ideal way to go. The problem is that I do not know whether managing two accounts is within the realm of this person's capabilities. In the interest of practicality, I am trying to come up with the name of a single secured card issuer to recommend in order to get this person off the ground. If she can successfully learn to manage the one account, she can then take it from there. (On the plus side, from what I can gather, a tradeline of $2,000 to $3,000 would suffice for her needs.)
  14. Could you please tell me who the issuer was for this particular card? And did the card ever graduate on its own to an unsecured line of credit, or was its only real use that of a "springboard" to allow you to apply for other, better cards? Also: am I right in thinking that cards that require a $100 - $300 security deposit are in the relative minority? My rudimentary knowledge of secured CCs has given me the impression that $500 is the typical amount an issuer requires a would-be cardholder to put up in order to qualify, but perhaps $100 - $300 really is what most issuers are asking in 2022?
  15. May I ask what sum WF (Wells Fargo, yes?) required in the way of a security deposit? To recap: you are saying that maintaining 2 secured CC accounts would boost a FICO score both sooner and much higher than maintaining a single card?
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