Pre Approved Visa: Merrick Bank

The other day I received a pre-approved credit card offer from Merrick Bank that promised to double my initial credit limit of $600 to $1200 provided that I hold up my end of the bargain and make at least the minimum payment due for 7 months straight.

It sounded like a great deal and I was ready to jump all over it, even at an APR of 24.99 percent. That is until I read the small print that said I would be charged a $72 annual fee for as long as I owned the card. I would be billed $6 per month for the entire year.

This means that even if I carry a zero balance, I would still be forced to make a $6 payment each month. $6 may not seem like a lot but if you should ever be late making that $6 payment, you'd be charged an outrageous $35 late fee. So, your $6 payment turns into a $41 payment in the blink of an eye. No thank you!

My guess is that once they see that I didn't respond to the initial offer, they'll up the ante with a sweeter counter offer minus the monthly fee and most likely at a lower interest rate. If not, oh well... I have plenty of new credit cards as of late and I'll be just fine.

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You Know It's a SCAM When...

I get hundreds of questions every month from people saying they received a call from some random debt collector stating that they needed to hear from "either you or your attorney" by a certain deadline or else they'd commence with legal proceedings against them. If you ever get that call then you can safely assume that it is just a scam.

How do I know it's a scam? It's simple. The last person a debt collector wants snooping around in their shady business is an attorney! It's because 9 times out of 10 the debt collector is using illegal collection tactics to shake people down of their money.

The ONLY reason why they'd tell you to have your attorney or legal representative call them back is because when the word "attorney" is mentioned in a live conversation or voicemail it makes the matter sound serious. If you actually did have an attorney call them back they'd freaking crap their pants!!!

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The Payday Loan Honor System

Let's face it. Payday loans are based almost completely on the honor system. Their entire business model relies upon the assumption that the borrower will be honorable enough and or disciplined enough to pay back the loan month after month after month.

It sounds crazy when you actually think about it but in reality, the majority of people have every intention of paying back the loan. Borrowers generally repay loans for the first three to six months until things inevitably get out of hand and they start looking for a way out.

Something always comes up...This leads to late payments, a missed payment or two and finally a flat out default and refusal to pay. I know because I've been there way too many times. Most people don't take out a loan with the sole intention of defaulting on it. The majority of us are just not wired that way...but "shit happens".

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When The Devil Calls Your Job ll

So I'm sitting at work today and I get a call from a woman with a stern authoritative voice asking to speak to an unknown coworker. Upon further questioning she reveals that she's calling from Credit Management. Immediately, my spider senses start tingling and I knew right away that she had to be a bill collector calling to harass one of my coworkers.

Having been in this situation before, all I wanted to do was "cover his 6". In laymen's terms, I wanted to protect my coworkers backside from the enemy. After all, if a bill collector called my job looking for me I would want someone to cover my 6 too! I didn't even know the wanted guy but I refused to divulge any information about him.

The bill collector asked if I knew him and I told her that I didn't. She then asked if we had a company directory and I stalled by telling her that I was looking through it but I really wasn't. Caught off guard, I put the caller on hold and asked my supervisor what to do and she advised me to tell the caller that we don't accept bill collector calls...I love my job!!!

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Why Don't You Just Pay Them?

I remember when bill collectors used to call my parents home all the time and my father used to ask my mother "Why doesn't he just pay them?" Well, it sounded easy enough because I certainly had the means, but what my parents couldn't wrap their heads around was why I didn't?

Well, it's not about having the ability to pay as much as it's about the statute of limitations. What I mean by this is that if a debt is close to falling off your credit report organically, as well as being past the point of being legitimately sued for the debt, then it makes no logical sense for me to pay it back.

Sure, there's the moral aspect of the fact that I did borrow the money and therefore I should pay it but the reality is that over time, things change and sometimes it's simply not in my best interest to pay back the debt. Sometimes it's just better to let the bad debt fall off your credit report naturally once seven years has passed and no one's the wiser!

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Ghost Protocol

So here's the deal. If you think that you're the only person with mounting bills to pay, then let me be the first to tell you that you are not alone. We all run into tight financial situations that we think none of our friends are going through but more times than not, we are wrong.

Anyone can put on a front of having money to burn but that doesn't make it so. I've never been one to play that game because if I did, I would have never created this blog. If you've followed my blog at all, you'd know that I'm all about full disclosure.

I do keep my identity private to all but a few friends but that's only due to the subject matter of my blog. My anonymity keeps bill collectors from launching an all out assault on me as retaliation for the assault that I've launched against them. All is fair in love and war, I guess!

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When The Devil Calls Your Job!

Debt Collectors calling your home is one thing, but when the calls start coming to your job and embarrassing you in front of coworkers and disrupting normal business flow, the harassment has reached critical mass. Now, beyond the embarrassment, depending on where you work, you could be at serious risk of losing your job.

Fortunately for me, I've always worked at places that either had a switchboard where I personally knew the operator fielding the calls and was nice enough to send the callers elsewhere...Thanks, Sue! Or, I worked at places where my phone extension was so far off the grid that I was basically untouchable.

I realize that most people are not this fortunate. Luckily for me, most bill collectors have given up chasing me. It just takes up too much of their time and resources when it's clear that they can't get me to answer the phone or return a message. I am immune to fear and intimidation and they know it, so they move on to easier prey.

As for everyone else, you must keep your wits about you. The person with the money has all the power. You have the money that they want so make debt collectors play by your rules and not theirs. If you can only pay X amount of money per month then stick to that amount. If they tell you that's not acceptable, then tell them you'll pay someone else if they don't play ball.

They'll play hard ball at first but if you stand your ground, most will eventually relent and accept something rather than nothing. It's simple math. For those who don't accept your payment offer, that's fine. Move on to the next and pay someone else.

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