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Balance Transfers/ID Theft

November 18th, 2007 at 03:58 pm

Well, I got it in writing that all those cards were fraudulent, except one. Still waiting on Macy's. I will call them, but I figure the second I call them is the second it shows up in the mail. So I am biding my time before I make the effort.

So pretty much all cleared. My credit report seems cleared up enough so I figure I would ask for a credit increase on my balance transfer card. I have around $5k borrowed and dh has $10k. But his will have to be paid off in a few months, and we get 5.7% until end of 2008. Definitely taking advantage. So I would like to borrow $10k when we pay off his. Or heck, might as well get it now... Before interest rates decrease more. I guess I could earn 4.5% in the interim, and then once dh's is paid I would figure I would be earning 5.7%.

Anyway I haven't borrowed on one card and I should also take advantage before they retract it, but they only have me $5k limit - "until I was a customer for 6 months." Blech. I was filing paperwork yesterday and saw they sent me that note 6 months ago.

So I popped online and applied for a credit increase. They asked me a gazillion questions - hard credit pull - small price to pay to make another $50/month without lifting another finger after applying.

So the card company called about 1/2 hour later. They are obnoxious and call all the time about buying their payment protection plans and all that and usually dh tells them to buzz off. BUT ever since my ID theft I have to take the calls, in case it is important. IT never is.

I grumbled as dh handed me the phone. Getting ready to say if they called me on more flipping time I am closing my card or something.

But alas, they were calling because they pulled my credit report and saw the fraud alert. Just checking to see if it was indeed me. I thanked them profusely. Yes, Citi paid attention. Glad to know.

Also when I applied online they said 7-10 days, but the guy was like, um yeah, you'll be approved within the hour... So yay credit report.

I should log online and check. Might as well do that balance transfer. Make sure the terms haven't changed.

I also shared all this to say I was really happy with the balance transfer process.

I was worried about universal default with the ID theft and was going to talk to WAMU about it, but then WAMU sent notice they are no longer doing universal default. Phew. It's been the only real hiccup. I worried how my bad credit report in the interim could affect well standing accounts. But I Was able to clean it up quickly enough.

But overall I have been really happy. I haven't even set up to pay everything automatically. I just pay the minimum balance the day I get the bill. I keep so on top of my bills it seems to work.

If I could do over again I would have made better notes when I took the BTs and when they were due. I know dh's is 9 months and I can see in Quicken when I got the check, but I didn't write all this down. Duh. As time passes, I am thinking, when is this one due? I went back and documented best I could in Quicken. As the time gets closer I need to pay more attention. I figure I will pay it a month or 2 early to avoid issue. I have no idea how the credit card company measures 9 months, and I am sure it is in their favor. Wink So um yeah. I will be paying off dh's in February or so, and mine in June (Expires in July?). & I believe this new one is for a year but I will have to go refresh my memory. If it is for a year and I do it now, I can take full advantage of my 5.7% CD.

If I paid all these back it would leave me with about $11k in a CD and $1k in cash. My emergency fund anyway - we have some other cash... So I would like to string these out until my CD expires.

Once my CD expires and we pay all these back. That's it. Closing all the cards. Checking our credit. Laying low for a while... If when all was said and done and our credit scores weren't affected, I would do it again. But I am not going to have 10 open cards. I always close my unused cards. I just find it easier that way. My credit score is better for it I find.

I expect a bit of a blip on the score with all this borrowed money. PArticularly when I borrow $15k in my name through next summer. I don't mind taking the hit temporarily. But I would take the time to clean it up before I considered doing another balance transfer. I care less about it in the short term. But I care enough about it in the long run to not just do BT after BT after BT.

I think if dh and I both just borrowed $10k it was a good plan. Vs. one of us borrowing a large sum. So far neither of our scores have taken a hit. Maybe a hit, but they are still well over 750 so who cares. But I can't say borrowing another $10k will help my score any. But the cash has been really helpful in building back up our efund, and we'll take advantage for one more year.

I would be happy enough with the balance transfer process without the CD. But I always knew there was a risk interest rates would go down. BUT I just happened to have this 5.7% CD offer from my credit union right after I did my first balance transfer. Talk about luck. I can renew it at 5.7% for another 8 months comes March or so. Until my last BT expires. Just "perfect."

So yeah, my strategy until then is just save more cash. Then I will have to come up with a new plan for the efund. I am certainly not going to tie most of it up in a 8-month CD again. Was strictly for the balance transfers. Will have to evaluate some CD laddering options and such going forward. Who knows how things will be in a year.

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