Friday, 25 May 2007

$20K at 0% for 9 Months


Who would have thought that it would be that difficult to close down a credit card account, it took me three attempts to close down one of my credit cards today.

When I was young and stupid, I applied for a credit card from Citibank. Over the years, with automatic credit limit increase and prestige level promotion, I have reached a credit limit of more than $20K with a Platinum level credit card.

Again, when I was young and stupid, I was quite amaze as to how fast I was able to go from a person with no history with the bank to someone carrying a Platinum credit card.

Don't get me wrong, the card gave me some really nice perks when we were stationed Singapore. Imagine, getting a 60% discount at the restaurant just because we are paying with a Citibank Platinum credit card. It was only for a bill for about $50, but a discount is a discount.

Now that we don't use it as much and the perks aren't as good in Australia as they are in Asia, we want to cancel it. Furthermore, the annual fee for it is $245 and the interest rate is around the 18%. Not too appealing.

When I tried to cancel it, they started to put a dangle a few carrots in front of me. In my situation, I was not able to take advantage of the offers. Some of the offers were
  1. Balance transfer to the Platinum card for 6 mths at 4.9%. This is not such a bad deal, it is certainly similar to many of the balance tranfer deals that the other banks are doing. However, we don't really have that much owing with our other credit cards, so it doesn't make that much difference.
  2. Balance transfer to Platinum card for 9 mths at 0%. This is getting better. It was nine months because I have already pay the annual fee earlier and it had nine months left. Again, as we don't have much owing with our credit cards, it was not worth while.
  3. A bank cheque for $20K at 0% for 9 mths. I was amaze at this offer. But at this stage, we really need to get rid of this card as it will restrict us on how much we can borrow for the next house. So we decline this offer.
After I hung up the phone, if we weren't going to buy a new house, I would have try to use that $20K in several ways. The most obvious thought is to put into a high bearing interest bank account like the Bankwest TeleNet Account or an ING Saving Maximiser. At $20K, the interest would have been reasonable. We would just withdraw the minimum repayment amount from the internet bank account.

I wonder what else you could do with that money at low risk, what do you think?

3 comments:

Ben said...

Option #3 sounds pretty good but if you won't be able to get a home loan because of your open credit lines then it's worth it to close the card.

How long does it take for your closed credit card status to show up on your credit report? Hopefully it will show as an inactive credit line by the time you apply for a mortgage

tehnyit said...

The customer relation officer at Citibank claims that the closure has immediate effect, but can be reactivated within 6 mths of closure.

So I guess that if doesn't show up on the credit report, I could request for my loan bank to contact Citibank directly.

Thanks for the comment.

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