Hello all here at Creditnet,
This is a great board with a lot of good people and good info. I've been wondering how to improve my credit and budget and I appreciate any help you all may have.
Now to my questions...I have half a dozen CCs, am current on all accounts, and have had no trouble paying on time every month. Trouble is, I have a Cap 1 Visa, a Cap 1 MC and a Sears charge card. The balances are high, about 72% utilization between these 3 cards. Visa balance is $1544.00 at 9.9% interest; MC balance is $2,900.00 at 14.9%; and Sears is $578.00 at about 23%. Between these 3 cards, I pay about $225.00 each month. I have been with Cap 1 for about 4 years and always paid on time; I would imagine I am exactly the type of customer they want to keep. My other cards are Discover Direct Rewards (PIF each month), Discover Platinum (PIF each month) and Chevron/Texaco (PIF every month). I have a GEMB card with a local tire store, but it's paid off as of last month.
I always pay more than the minimum payment on my Cap 1 and Sears accounts, even if it's just $5.00 more than the minimum. Only God knows how long it'll take to pay these cards off at that rate, so I responded to a loan offer I got from CitiFinancial. They approved me for a loan of $7,500.00 at about 22% interest; the monthly payment would be about $225.00. I don't need that much, so they said I can get $5,000.00 with a payment of about $150.00 if I want. The terms of the CitiFinancial loan are 22% over 5 years.
My questions are:
1. Does anyone here have any experience with CitiFinancial Loans, good/bad/indifferent?
2. Would it be wise to take the $5k loan & pay both Cap 1 cards & Sears off and wind up paying less on a monthly basis, or would it be smarter in the long run to keep paying my CC bills as I have all along?
In my current financial situation/budget, I am having trouble saving anything. Every penny I earn goes right back out again. If I did accept this loan offer, it would free up money in my budget that would be better spent elsewhere or saved.
I'd like to get the utilization monkey off my back if I can. Thanks for any help or ideas you all may have...