I’m looking more for generalized advice than anything else.
I have debt. Quite a lot actually. It started out when I was fresh out of college, unemployed, and didn’t quite grasp the whole “plastic is not fake money” thing. I got in over my head. I finally got employed and learned how to live within my means. Shitty job that it was, I could only pay the minimums. I got into a car accident at work. Worker’s Comp company went bankrupt, and they came after me with the medical bills. I foolishly put some on my credit cards, until it was pointed out to me that them dogging me was illegal. They responded by sending these bills (thousands of dollars) into collections, and I’ve been battling with them to get them to stop (and to get them off my credit report) for years now. My credit card company took it upon themselves to use this to raise my interest rate. My minimum’s doubled.
I lost my job at the worst time, and got to experience the ever-exciting unemployed+uninsured+sick. I paid what I could, which wasn’t enough. My interest rate when through the roof. Collections people called me all the time. I considered bankruptcy.
That was over a year ago. I have a good job now, an excellent budget, and cut up my cards during the crisis. All of those outstanding bills have been paid in full (Just did the last one in April and, man, did that feel good). The only thing I have left is my one 5-figure credit card bill, towards which I pay about half my monthly income. I am on track to be debt free by Nov. 2007. My interest rate is 27%. I have not missed or been late with a payment in 14 months, and have been paying more than double the minimum for the past 6 months. Today I called my credit card company to discuss an interest rate reduction. They said no. The woman actually lectured me about how I did this to myself (yes, thank you, I know).
I’ve talked to some of those credit counseling places, but it seems like I am in too good a shape for them to help me (only one card, not past-due, nothing in collections etc.). They told me to call my credit card company. But, it’s going to be a couple of years (and possibly legal action about the workers comp thing) before my credit doesn’t look like a train wreck, so a bank loan is out. I have nothing to borrow against. But that interest rate just kills me. Is there any other way for me to get that lowered? Even a small reduction would save me a lot of money, and have me out of debt sooner.