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Everything posted by Flashman

  1. "Maybe a leading indicator," eh? Well, that is one way of putting it, I suppose. Anyone who intends to read this particular article would be well advised to keep a fresh pair of trousers handy. I have been led to understand that roughly 3/4 of the people for whom working from home is not an option in America rely on a car to get them to work. No car, no job. Perhaps I am under a misapprehension, but this seems to me to be as serious as it gets. Thank you for posting that link. I found this article to be an absolute gobsmacker.
  2. Yes, that is true. However, for the use I have in mind, I am trying to be as concise as possible, hence my question. It is very kind of you to say so. Between ourselves, it drives me completely gaga when I see people use the wrong case (do not get me going on "Mac" vs. "MAC"), so it is an error I try to avoid. In any, er, case, thank you for taking the time to reply. I am afraid my orthography is very much like other aspects of my writing in that, while I can often tell when something looks right, I have difficulty articulating why it is right.
  3. I am trying to express the past-tense of "CLD" and cannot quite figure out how to do so. "CLD'd" seems right, but I am just not sure, and I cannot find any examples on the board to help guide me. Can anyone help?
  4. I am looking into the possibility of paying my CC online rather than on the blower. However, being the sort that reads terms and conditions thoroughly before agreeing to them, I was wondering if anyone could comment on what Citi asks cardholders to agree to before they submit their checking account information: The idea behind attaching my checking account information to my cc account online is to give Citi only the ability to process one-time payments that I contact Citi to authorise before they go through. The passage I have emphasised has me concerned because I do not understand why I cannot revoke Citi's authority to take funds from my account with a simple phone call as opposed to having to write them a letter that may take days for them to receive and process. My two questions are: Am I mistaken in thinking that my agreeing to the above will give Citi the ability to dip into my checking account at will vs. only when I instruct them to do so via their website? and Has anyone had problems in the past with Citi making unauthorised withdrawals from their checking account despite only signing up for one-time payment?
  5. While I am dismayed to hear this (heaven knows folk have been through quite enough already these past two years), I cannot say I am surprised. At the risk of mixing metaphors, the general impression I am under is that the wheels on the apple cart are beginning to loosen and we are on the cusp of a widespread tightening of the credit reins (though perhaps noose may be a better word). In essence, the West has been issuing credit like mad for some time, the giant hand is now on the handle of the credit spigot, and the fingers appear to be slowly rotating it towards the "trickle" position. With any luck, I am misreading things badly; this is the merely the feeling I get walking around, exchanging the odd word, and sniffing the air a bit. For all I know, the numbers may give a completely different picture and I am in the wrong, which would be an enormous relief. I know more than a few people who, by all appearances, are maxed out right now, even if they are too proud to say so. It is interesting you should choose the word "tsunami," as it coincides neatly with some wave-based imagery I am currently entertaining re the current highly interesting economic situation that appears to be developing slowly (but with gathering speed) as we speak. Picture...an immaculate beach with a lone, smiling figure (representing the economy) who has just turned to gaze seaward. We will ignore the zinc oxide on his nose and the large, not altogether flattering pair of shorts he is wearing because, at present, the sea is indeed worth a look. (I say this because a large and ominous wave is just starting to break onshore.) As luck would have it, the figure is pivoting to take a look at the water just as wave is collapsing and the crest of the wave is reaching his nose. And while the water may not imperil the zinc oxide the lone figure has carefully applied, it certainly threatens the lone figure itself. Alas, the lone figure is looking at the water straight on (rather than edgeways, as we are), and has no idea what is about to hit it. The particularly poignant thing is that in the brief glimpse we catch of it before it is engulfed in water, the face of the figure is wearing an expression that says, "Ah! Water! How cool and refreshing!" And while that may be true on a momentary basis, the size of the wave makes it likely that the "cool and refreshing" aspect of it will not last for long. Any road, that's just a mental image I have. It is, I suppose, the result of wandering about on beaches every chance I get. (Sans the stupid-looking shorts, of course.)
  6. That is true, and a fascinating subject, hence my question. However, I am afraid that, in my case, the real fascination lies in what the credit companies suddenly consider a poor risk once panic sets in and they start belatedly closing the metaphorical barn door when a downturn hits (à la 2008). Someone else may recall the exact details, but my all-time favourite was a chap who resided in Beverly Hills (an area not known for its abject poverty) and had an Amex account. After being told he was now a former Amex customer, he went back through his credit report to try to work out just why it was Amex ended their relationship with him so abruptly. It seems the only thing he could come up with was a single late payment roughly 28 pages ago in his credit report. According to him, that single late payment from so long ago was enough to frighten Amex into giving him the heave-ho. While I am not sure I believe the story entirely, it would not surprise me to learn that his guess was correct and Amex really did close his tradeline for that exact reason.
  7. Ah, I had quite forgotten that credit card information is printed rather than embossed on some cards. Now that you mention it, I recall getting some printed Slate cards a decade or so ago and seeing, much to my dismay, that all the information was printed. My initial impression was, "How cheap can you get?" Having said that, I imagine saving even, say 3 cents per printed card vs. an embossed one adds up when a card company issues millions of them each year. I cannot say for certain, but according to this brief thread, PayPal may use the term "knucklebuster" for payments that are manually keyed in rather than swiped: https://www.paypal-community.com/t5/About-Payments/What-s-a-quot-KnuckleBuster-quot/td-p/1145627 It would be an interesting case of the old meeting the new if that did prove to be so. Unfortunately, there isn't enough information in the thread to definitively say one way or the other.
  8. Would you care to conjecture what caused the credit companies to extend you more credit at such a time? (Was it as straightforward as, say, your having particularly low utilisation on your tradelines?)
  9. Perhaps you may want to consider trying this: Rather than paying on the due dates for all three accounts, pay off two completely just before the statement cuts on each respective account so that the balances on the two accounts show as zero when the statements are issued. Then pay off almost all of the third account before the statement cuts, leaving a balance of $5, then pay that off in full after the statement cuts with the $5 balance. I realise that you have three accounts with no more than 15% utilisation on them and that is good. However, if these tradelines are unsecured credit, even relatively low utilisation on 3 different accounts may be costing you points on your credit score. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but having just the one account show with a small balance may make a difference. (The idea is to show credit companies that you do not need their credit, whilst still showing them you can use credit responsibly, hence the tiny "cup of coffee" balance on a single tradeline.) Tomorrow is the halfway mark for the month, so you still have the other half of the month to try this out for the first time. I cannot say exactly how many points this will add to your score (and it may take a month or two for the changes to take effect), but it may be worth a try, and it will not cost you anything to give it a go.
  10. Speaking of The Bad Old Days, I am wondering if we are going to start seeing card issuers chasing balances again. I do not know about anyone else, but that is one practice from 2008 I will not soon forget. (Go ahead, laugh, but I could swear I still hear the echoing screams of luckless consumers who were being balanced-chased during the Great Recession.) To my mind, more than anything else, balance-chasing and other forms of CLDs are going to be the incontrovertible signs we are knee-deep in the manure.
  11. To clarify: when you say, "a few," do you mean 2-3 accounts? Or closer to a half-dozen? Also, are you PIF'ing on the accounts before each respective statement cuts, or after?
  12. I found this particular passage to be of interest: Has anyone seen a credit card imprinter (aka knuckle-buster) in action in the past decade? I suspect they have gone the way of the dodo, but I would be delighted to be mistaken about this. (I realise they invite fraud, but perhaps merchants could impose some sort of spending limit and still find a use for them during network outages?)
  13. Has anyone closely monitored how their AAoA has affected their FICO credit score over a period of decades? I ask because I am wondering if AAoA works: A) On a strictly linear basis (e.g. a consumer with an AAoA of 20 years has twice the score of a consumer with an AAoA of 10 years.) or If there is a point of diminishing returns (e.g. an AAoA of 15 years yields the maximum benefit and the benefit of additional age declines sharply after that.) Does anyone know?
  14. When you act in the world of credit, you may choose to act quickly or act wisely. Ask yourself: "Which way of acting is more important to me?" While there is such a thing as fast results, there is rarely such a thing as fast, worthwhile results. Sure, you can easily apply for a bunch of crappy cards that may give you a boost now, but these cards can quickly become a liability and a source of regret. I would urge you to put away the videos and read this board thoroughly; navigating the world of credit is not about doing things quickly, impulsively, and off the cuff. Rather, it is about taking the time and trouble to read everything you can find, sitting back to consider what you have read, then reading some more. (Sound tedious? It is. However, being patient is a key part of using credit cards wisely.) When you read some of the threads here, you will soon discover that board members are prepared to wait months, sometimes years, to apply for a specific card they want. As everyone here has learned at one time or another, acting quickly without planning carefully is inviting disaster. The good news is that you have gotten off to a positive start by choosing to come here. Credit card companies make their money by encouraging impulsiveness and thoughtlessness. Learn to beat them by stopping to gather information, taking the time to consider that information, and making your decision only after careful deliberation. Offhand, I would say the best thing you could do is promise yourself, "I will not apply for a credit card for at least 90 days." If you do not develop the patience to hold off on making theses types of decisions, you will end up at the mercy of the card companies and money lenders in no time. Please do not let that happen to you. I hope you will take the time and trouble to learn how the credit game works before you jump into it; that's up to you. However, it encompasses far more than can be covered in a single thread and, if you are serious about doing this correctly, you have a lot of reading ahead of you. Your enthusiasm is marvelous. All you need to do is couple it with patience and it can work in your favour. I am writing this in the hopes that you will give yourself the time it takes to develop that patience.
  15. Perhaps it might help to think of The Waiting Game this way: patience is a tool that tends to work in your favour and against the card companies. CC firms rely on presentation and excitement to make their products more appealing in much the same way casinos do. (For example, I have yet to see a card company offer The Turd Card despite the fact that there are credit cards that reveal themselves to be perfect lumps of excrement after a few months of use.) As hapless consumers stuck on a playing field created entirely by others, you and I need every edge we can get and patience is often key to getting what we want. "Instant Gratification" is a wonderful phrase and, indeed, is the very product the card companies are trying to sell you. However, the longer you wait to acquire something (whatever it may be) the greater the opportunity you have to step back and ask yourself, "Why do I want this in the first place? Is this something I need, or merely something I have become convinced I need?" If you have to sit tight until next year, perhaps you can fill in the time by keeping an eye out for what other card companies have to offer? I understand that you are excited about the Flex and the CSP at present, but card companies constantly change their offerings. It is possible that, if you keep your eye out in the meantime, you may come across something as good or better than what you currently have in mind by the time you are ready to emerge from the garden.
  16. As a point of interest, when a consumer makes a payment to the Truliant bunch, are they given a confirmation number (or other data point) to retain for their own records? Now you have got me wondering if there are banks/credit unions that do not furnish the consumer with some form of "receipt" as a matter of course.
  17. It sounds like you have learned firsthand that rebuilding credit is a painstaking, time-consuming matter. Is it fair to say that along with that knowledge came an appreciation of the fact that good things come to those who work for them? Sometimes we all need a bit of a hand and I know what it is like when a family member is in trouble and Dad makes a "request" that someone help him. And while helping a family member fix his finances is great, it might be worthwhile to ask yourself: if I do all the heavy lifting for him, what incentive will he have to maintain his own finances? I ask because you may want to consider the possibility that the best way to get your brother to fix his credit...is to have your brother fix his credit. The bottom line is that it is your time and energy at stake and you know best how you want to spend them. However, speaking as someone who has spent a great deal of time getting other people out of messes only to find those same people returning to the same situations once my back was turned, I have learned firsthand that sometimes the hardest thing to do is also, ultimately, the kindest. I hope you will consider steering him over to CB and giving him the opportunity to take it from there. Doing so would make things easier on you and would also afford your brother the chance to show that he is serious about taking care of his own finances.
  18. I am sorry to hear of your difficulty. The grossly disproportionate penalty one pays as the result of making the simplest of mistakes in the credit game has always intrigued (not to say disturbed) me. At the risk of sounding silly, I remember a rather vivid dream I once had about making a late payment. While the dream occurred some time ago, and I cannot summon forth many specifics, I do recall it had the overall feel of the 1974 film Earthquake. (Sadly, Ava Gardner did not choose to put in an appearance, which might have helped cheer things up a bit.)
  19. For some time, it always seemed that every time I would purchase some $10 trinket from eBay, PayPal would feel obligated to shove their credit products at me so I could spread out the payments. (I need to spread out the payments on a $10 gimcrack plastic ornament? Really, PayPal?) It wasn't until I read the following that the penny finally dropped: In essence, PayPal was trying to work both the prime and subprime markets until they belatedly realised their exposure was too great, then they sought to offload it to a firm that is thoroughly experienced in dealing with subprime customers. When you view it in that light, Synchrony is the perfect partner for PayPal. In any event, PayPal did have some nice incentives back when they began to offer credit; I seem to recall that one of the early offers was a $200 eBay credit as a signup bonus. The problem? The PayPal Credit Ts and Cs made it clear that the account holder had to close the account "in writing," and, frankly, any time a firm says that a phone call or email from me is not sufficient to close my account with them, it raises an insurmountable red flag with me. Rightly or wrongly, PayPal has always impressed me as being a decidedly dodgy bunch. While one is more or less forced to use it as a consequence of dealing with eBay, I would never dream of allowing PayPal to do anything critical for me. Their past record indicates they fall into some sort of legal grey area and, worse, their behaviour indicates that they are both aware of this and intend to take every advantage of it.
  20. Sticky notes on a calendar? Smart device? Sheer memory? How do you keep track of all of the important dates associated with managing multiple credit cards?
  21. For the next month or two (possibly longer), I plan to carry a slight (less than $5) credit balance (i.e. they owe me money) on one of my CC accounts. Do the credit scoring firms view a credit balance the same as a $0 balance? Or am I doing myself a mischief by having a credit balance of any kind?
  22. Whoa! Hey, big spender, spend a little time on me! (Can you tell us if they were decent enough to play a laugh track for you when they produced that result? It seems only fair.)
  23. The good old days. Perhaps a CBer could put together an update of that commercial for 2022? Picture: a Platinum cardholder lurching into a Walmart to purchase a bag of crisps, only to have the card declined. (I suspect the editor could insert footage from the cantina scene in Star Wars to reflect the Walmart shopping experience and no one would be the wiser.)
  24. You may be doing yourself a disservice by viewing the credit game in a "win/lose" sense. The rules for maintaining good credit change all the time and even the most knowledgeable member of CB is operating by educated guesses at best. Rather than viewing things in a "win/lose" sense, it might prove more useful to ask yourself, "Am I doing the best I can for this point in time?" If you bear in mind that the rules change constantly, and that even the most astute credit consumer is going a take a kick in the shins every now and then, it might help to put things into perspective. It is counter-intuitive, I know, but you function at your best when you are relaxed, not when you are worked up about something. You've got the right idea by coming here, but few things happen overnight, and it will take some time for you to absorb what the forum has to offer and put it into practice. Give yourself that time. That is exactly the way the people who run the credit game want you and I to think, but consider: how hard would you feel obligated to work to please someone if you knew he/she did not have your best interest at heart? The CRAs et al. are not your friends and they are not gathering information about you in order to help you. Rather, they gather it to sell to other people which makes you, in effect, their product. Should you put some work into learning the system and how it works? Certainly; that's why we are all here. However when it comes to making someone happy, I hope you will choose to make yourself happy, first, and give the banks, card companies, and CRAs anything left over. (After all, they would do the same for you.) If it is any help, it sounds as though you are doing things correctly for the most part. All you need are a few fine adjustments (e.g. the $2 trick) and you will be using the CRAs et al. like a cheap bog roll in no time.
  25. I don't know if this is a widespread perception on CB, but when Amex was exclusively a charge card operation, they seemed a wholly different company. My own impression, at least, is that Amex began a long, slow slide toward the "Look! Shiny Things!" end of the card issuer spectrum when they began offering credit cards sometime in the early noughties. This is not to say that Amex is a bad card company, only that they have been on a slow-motion descent toward becoming merely another credit card company. Yes, I was thrilled when I first got mine some years ago; there's no denying that. However, I have noticed Amex cards clutched in some rather sweaty, grimy paws in the years since then. More importantly, I have watched as other card companies have largely matched (and in some cases surpassed) what Amex has to offer. Speaking for myself, the Walmart deal served merely as the final, unmistakable confirmation that the cachet once associated with Amex is now largely gone. Offhand, I can't think of many upmarket firms anxious to ally themselves with a decidedly downmarket outfit like Walmart. In a way, Amex reminds me of Sony, which once produced world-beating products for which I was only too happy to pay a premium price. In the present-day, however, Sony seems to produce largely mediocre products for which they are only too glad to charge a premium, but for which I, as a consumer, can no longer muster the sort of enthusiasm necessary to pay with a glad heart. Any road, it will be interesting to see if this deal has a negative impact on Amex's cardholder numbers. If Amex can continue to convince people to shell out $700 a year for the dubious distinction of using their card in the retail equivalent of Blade Runner, frankly, I'm going to be hard-pressed to see it as anything other than a triumph of marketing over good sense.
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