On the incredulous side, Sarah and I are both blown away by some of our respective ludicrous offers:
1. For a great reduction in interest to 9.9%, all you have to do is pay $1219! Yes, that's 1,219 dollars. 'Nuf said.
2. For a reduction in interest to 0% (now you're talkin'), your payment will be just $333 a month (um, that's MORE than I can't pay now).
3. Etc. - If you'll pay $XXXXXXX today, that will:
"Save your credit score!"
"Keep your account out of collections!"
"Enable you to continue using your card!"
"Stop the phone calls!" (Well, okay, gotta admit that one sounds nice)
On the positive side, I have accepted four plans so far. I'm not completely comfortable that the payments will be easy, but we will find a way to tend to them:
1. Bank card: Payment is now 68% of what it was with 2% interest (from 19.24) for 60 months, at which time the balance will be paid in full. The catch - I have to remember to call and renew in February. I will. Draft payment.
2. Department store bank card: Payment is now half of what it was with 3% interest (from 23.24), to be renewed every 12 months. Also a draft payment.
3. Department store bank card #2: Payment will be less than half what it was at 9.9% interest (from 23.24) for 6 months. It can be renewed for another 6 months at that time. At the end of 12 months, we'll see where we stand. The rep, who was very nice and sensible, assured me they would work with us. This plan begins in May; for April, we are to pay what we can. Because I have been paying online for a few years, this is not a draft payment. If I miss a payment, we will be unable to requalify. I won't miss.
4. 'Discount' department store: Payment will be 36% of what it was. The interest remains awful at 22.9%, but the finance charges will be halved. At the end of 6 months, if we are still having trouble, they will divide the remaining balance by 40 to get our monthly payment for the next 40 months... at which time the balance will be paid in full. Only the first payment is a draft.
I have opened a separate bank account for the draft payments and have reminder notes ("Put money in," "Draft on ___ day") on neon note cards placed in the appropriate spots in the bill stack. It seems a bit nervewracking to know we can't goof up, but the relief that we do have a plan - if only for four cards so far - helps offset the stress. That stress, anyway.
We have quite a few accounts without plans, but I'm confident that we'll be able to work out something acceptable. Maybe not easy, but doable. We'll make it work, as the alternative of bankruptcy sounds like even less fun.
Yep, let's make a deal.