Thursday, July 8, 2010

Card #2

#2 is my fairly new USAA card. I nearly cried when I got this card.

It has been my habit for some time to shuffle around my credit card balances (a sure sign that you have a credit card debt problem!). Well, some months back, right around the time I needed to engage in my shuffle, I called one of my cards to ask them to increase my credit line. Instead, they canceled my card. Canceled! Did not see that coming. I was agonizing: What's so different about me? Is it the economy? Is it me?

The next day, I got a letter in the mail from yet another credit card company informing me that they were reducing my balance! That was another first. And coming right on the heels of the cancellation, it really wigged me out.

A few days later, I got an offer in the mail from USAA. Now, if you've never heard of USAA, let me fill you in. They are the MILITARY credit card company. One of my mother's military ex-husbands had many years ago slapped my name on his list of dependents. (During the application process, I had to identify both him and his birth date; that took some serious guesswork.) Anyway, unlike the other credit card companies, they're not in business to rip you off. I mean, to make a profit. They are in business to help the military. The usual banking, loans, all that stuff.

Anyway, I filled out an application over the phone with them. I fully expected to get turned down. Instead, they offered me a credit line in excess of $12,000 with 0% interest on balance transfers until February of 2011. I couldn't jump on that fast enough! So I am carrying a balance of $12,322 on this card as of today. At 0% interest.

The beauty of a 0% interest rate on a credit card with a hefty balance (in addition to the obvious) is that it automatically forces you to pay down your balance. Since I am paying NO interest, my entire minimum payment (1% of the balance) each month goes straight off of my principal. So if I do nothing else, at the end of a year I will have paid off around $1,500 of the balance just by making the minimum payments!

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