Can’t Afford Your Credit Card Minimum Payment? Call!

Today is Pay Day! We made it! We did not incur any new debt during the week of Christmas. It’s a Christmas miracle, I tell ya! My husband and I sat down together and paid the bills today. We have a roof over our heads, money for gas and groceries, our utilities are paid. Life is good. We already knew ahead of time that we would not be able to pay the minimums on the two credit cards that we have. I’ll be the first to admit that I was terrified to contact them. The credit card bills are not even due yet, but I have read in more than one book that it is important to contact the credit card companies first if you are having trouble paying. I have also heard the credit card horror stories of really rude collectors calling, and it scares me. I knew the right thing to do was to call, so I took a deep breath. . . and made my husband do it first! Well, one of the cards is in his name.

I was very surprised at how nice they were on the phone. For our first card with Bank of America, we owe over $11k and the minimum payment is $214. We are only able to pay $65 this month. We (well, my husband!) explained our situation and they were willing to accept this amount for this month. My husband explained that I am currently looking for a job and that we will hopefully be able to pay the minimum next month. Bank of America even offered us a repayment plan in which we would pay $240 per month at a significantly lower interest rate and our account would be closed immediately. Once we can pay that amount, it sounds like a good deal to me.

Our second card with Citi has a balance of over $24k. Half of this is at a 0% interest rate, due to a balance transfer from the other card. Of course, we charged up that Bank of America card again. More about that later. The minimum payment on the Citi card is $458 and we are only able to pay $95 this month. I had to make the call this time, since the card is in my name. I was scared to death, but even the guy on the other line (most likely in India) was very nice and transferred me to the department that could help me. I was told that since I have a perfect record with my past payments, they cannot help me. They only can create a repayment plan for people who have less than perfect records. That was pretty frustrating. However, they told me to call back in a few weeks and they will attempt to waive the $40 late fee. They also said that they may be able to come up with a repayment plan at that time. Whew! It was not as bad as I thought. I am still healthy, alive and breathing! The bills are taken care of for the month of January. Nice!

As far as racking up the Bank of America card charges after paying it off with the Citi card. . . Well, this is why we cut up the cards. My husband and I decided that we will no longer use credit cards. We have tried for ten years to get our credit card spending under control with no success. So, away they go! Goodbye credit cards! You will NOT be missed!


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