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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Credit Union Credit Cards--A Very Good Deal

I've had my problems with the aggressive (some might say predatory) practices of commercial credit card issuers. But just for the record, I would like to extend my appreciation to the folks at Members First Federal Credit Union. Despite my undoubtedly scary credit rating, they haven't jacked up my rates. They haven't charged me exhorbitant late fees. My rate has been hovering around 8-10% for years now.

As I've previously mentioned, my friends at the Amazon Chase Credit Card have somewhat sticky downward rates, and despite the number of times I have called to ask for a lower rate, I'm still paying TWENTY-SEVEN something percent. Twenty. Seven. Two-Seven. Sigh.

So I called up the folks at M1FCU. I haven't got much credit left, but I have some. I have two balance transfer options--one for 6 months at 3.99% APR. After 6 months it goes up to my normal purchase rate of 8.99 or whatever it is at the time.

The other is 4.74% APR for the life of transfer. Ding ding ding. I'll take door number 2, Bob. It's going to be a lot longer than six months before we've got this debt under control. But, hmmm, let's see 4.74% is, yes, better, than TWENTY-SEVEN PERCENT. (Shakes head). Twenty-seven. How IS it possible?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that if I hadn't opened the bleeping Amazon Chase card to begin with, I wouldn't be in this mess. At the time, they had a 0% balance transfer rate that seemed better than the 8.99% I was getting at the credit union. I was playing the arbitrage game. It never occurred to me that I'd get into a situation where I wouldn't be able to pay my bills.

Off to do the paperwork.

Polly's Pointer
Your local credit union may not always have the best credit care rates (although they might), but they are also unlikely to practice usury. Develop a relationship with one.

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