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Everything posted by Flashman

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Well, it's nice to know what other people make of all of this in any case. Unlike the old days, I rarely broach these sorts of subjects in public for fear of generating a reaction of I know not what. Perhaps my experience is unique (with any luck it is), but everyone I talk to seems to be on their last nerve; all I want to do is get in and get out without any undue fuss. TheVig's earlier observation: ...made me uneasy because I found myself nodding my head and murmuring "spot on" as I read it. To my own mind, this inflation business (i.e. printing money like mad) is all about creating the illusion of prosperity without creating any actual prosperity. People sense this, even if they cannot articulate it, and that is where the anxiety and tension stem from. (Put another way: if you are familiar with The KIng in Yellow, it seems as though everyone around me me has just finished reading Act II.)
  11. I wonder what the average American pays in interest and fees each year in order to service the debt?
  12. After I read the details of the Equifax settlement a few years back, I lost what little faith I had that the CRAs can be compelled to do much of anything, by anyone, no matter how much in the wrong they might be. The paltry $125 payout was a slap in the face as it was. Except then Equifax removed the $125 claim payout option after millions of people submitted claims. Then they offered credit monitoring after giving assurances that it was a "much better value." If there were any lingering doubts remaining about who takes orders from whom, that joke of a settlement laid them to rest.
  13. If a sticky does not already exist for this, would someone be good enough to start one?
  14. That could well be, but wouldn't a FICO model that required people to carry debt to maintain a high score be considered ideal by the financial sector? Consider: how much money do they currently lose to people who PIF every month? And how much money would they stand to make off of these same people if they could, somehow, be compelled to carry debt in order to maintain a good score? If they perceive that they are losing money under the current FICO models, is it just possible that the card companies/CRAs may move to adopt FICO 10 quickly rather than delaying their adoption of it? I get that credit unions are the good guys (in relative terms), but I cannot see greedy, multi-billion dollar corporations leaving money on the table like that.
  15. Indeed. The article says: So the premise is that folks can pay their phone and utility bills on time, but cannot contrive to apply this same sense of discipline to paying, say, a secured credit card on time and going from there? What am I missing? I heard about this scheme (or something very similar) long ago and was bemused by all the excitement it seemed to generate. Frankly, the only thing I am seeing here is yet another way for a CRA to take advantage of people under the guise of benefiting them. (With any luck, I am entirely mistaken, as few things are more expensive than being poor.) From the article: I am going to take an awful risk and go so far as to predict that these "suggested" cards are going to be of the fee-intensive variety. It seems that sixteenth century German bishop was right after all when he said the poor are a goldmine.
  16. Apologies. What I had meant to say was, "Are most card companies good about letting a prospective applicant know whether they discount/ignore AU accounts if they call and ask in advance?" (There isn't much point in signing up for a lot of AU accounts only to discover after the fact that the cards you fancy getting under your own name do not play a blind bit of attention to UAs.) I ask because I am not certain about how issuers react to this question when contacted out of the blue vs. their explaining to someone who has already applied why their application was rejected. In the latter case, they may feel an obligation to explain what happened.
  17. As it happens, I do make a statement...of sorts...when I hand over my card. It may not be the sort of statement you are likely to see in any credit card commercials, however. After fumbling through several pockets for the wretched thing (which may take some time), a quick, furtive glance about is followed by my handing the card du jour to the clerk in a diffident, near-apologetic manner. Any last vestiges of goodwill on the part of the clerk toward me are swiftly destroyed by my directing my gaze floorward, ceilingward, back at the queue of now-mystified people, etc. Anywhere but at the clerk. In short, I have a marked tendency to hand over my card in such a way as to give the person to whom I am handing it every reason to believe the card has been stolen. I realise this thread is about the best-looking card, but the most impressive card to my mind, at least, is one that would render the bearer invisible. (I expect it would impress a fair number of other people, too.)
  18. Are most card companies good about letting a prospective applicant know whether they discount/ignore AU accounts if they call and ask?
  19. I was listening to a credit repair consultant (well, a self-titled one, anyway) recently and they mentioned something about FICO 10 that I found rather unsettling. Briefly, this person made the claim that, under the FICO 8 model, a consumer could borrow up to 30% of their total available credit and their credit score would not be negatively affected; so far so good. The disturbing bit was that she then went on to claim that under the FICO 10 model, a consumer could now borrow up to 50% of their total tradelines without any adverse effects. Sounds good, yes? Well, the catch is that if the consumer does not borrow 50% of their tradelines, their credit score under FICO 10 can be expected to go down. This person then went on to lament that a fair number of her clients were now going into debt in order to maintain a high score. Is there anything to this? Or were they talking rot? I am not sure how seriously to take this claim myself, but I am sure someone here does.
  20. Wasn't there a running joke on CB at one time that went something like: 1) Get a cash advance 2) At a Walmart 3) In Las Vegas (the closer to the Strip, the better) ...and you need not fret over renewing your card because Amex would almost certainly cancel it?
  21. From the article: Interesting. I was led to understand that consumer exposure for debit cards was greater than that for credit cards. That is, banks have less incentive to react to debit card fraud because it is the consumer's money that is at stake when fraud takes place rather than the issuing bank's Perhaps that has changed and I simply have not kept up with the times. I certainly hope that is the case, as a nearly twenty percent jump in spending in the past year might mean a great deal of unpleasantness for the unsuspecting should fraud take place.
  22. Perhaps a more likely possibility is that C1 works both ends of the spectrum? Once upon a time, there was a running joke around here that large issuers like C1 had an ultra-modern glass and steel skyscraper to serve prime customers...and a tin shanty 'round the back for their subprime ones. As TheVig suggested earlier, it sounds like C1 and their algorithms could probably do with an update. If it were me, I would probably give the company a call, ask to speak with a credit analyst, and politely quiz them on why it was I was getting the short end of the stick from them. I don't know if that would do any practical good in your own case, but I have always felt the need for person-to-person contact in credit matters. It is all-too-easy for an algorithm to give you the short end of the stick whereas a human being might work with you if you are polite and act a bit mystified.
  23. Hi There! And welcome back to CB! I can't speak to what Chase will hammer you in interest for using their balance transfer checks (perhaps someone else here can?), but the ones that Citi sent me have a very exciting interest rate of 23.240% per annum that kicks in after 15 months. Meaning that, unless you pay the money back in full before 15 months have elapsed, your cheap house will become a very expensive house in a relatively short time. While I can understand the temptation that presents itself when credit card companies issue those checks, paying 23.240% a year to borrow money probably isn't best deal out there. And getting the best deal is the "CB way," even if we have to wait a while in order to be eligible for it. I, too, am fond of numbers, and the more hard-and-fast they are, the better I like them. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of voodoo involved in credit scoring. So while I wish I had some sort of hard-and-fast number to give you, the only advice I feel comfortable giving would be: sit back for six months, then see what your credit scores are like at that point. I'll be the first to agree with you that waiting six months is a long time to wait, but try not to think of it as waiting; view it, instead, as cultivating patience.
  24. Hello Everyone, I am a newly-minted Citi DC cardholder. However, a couple of burning questions have already cropped up concerning the timing of my payments and I am hoping that a few long-time DC cardholders will see this and, using their experience with the card, can school me on how things actually work versus my perception of how they might work. Part one: Does anyone know whether Citi looks at statement balances when they are trying to work out how much money I typically run through the card every month? Or do they look, instead, at my spending day-by-day and average that out when they are trying to ascertain how much money I typically run through the card? (I am assuming that how much money I run through the card will be a factor if/when I apply for a CLI in the future, which is why I ask. Of course, I could be mistaken in this belief.) Part two: has anyone ever run into any problems with collecting the 1% cash back that DC cardholders are supposed to get when they pay off their purchases by paying off the card entirely/in large part before the statement cut? Part two came up because, in the course of seeking an answer to part one, I ended up being transferred from a CSR over to a so-called "account manager" (versus a "credit specialist," which is who I really wanted to talk to). For reasons that are unclear (even after follow-up calls to Citi), this account manager advised me not to make payments on the card until after the statement cuts because making payments before the statements cuts might "confuse the tracker" (her phrase). (By "tracker," I am guessing she meant the software Citi uses to keep track of purchases and when those purchases are paid off so cardholders can collect their 1% on each event. However, by then we had strayed so far from my original question that I did not have the presence of mind ask a follow-up question as to what the deuce she was talking about.) Any insights you could share would be greatly appreciated.
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