Question: My husband and I have accumulated very large credit card debt. We also have been late paying our mortgage because of employment issues. We are at a point where we can eliminate all of our credit card debt.
However, we are uncertain if paying it all off is a good idea because of the "balance chasing" that we have experienced from our credit card companies. If we pay off the credit cards, how likely is it that the credit card companies will close our accounts? We don't want to be without any credit. So, what's the best way to pay off the debt without losing our credit? Thanks.
Answer: Hello Nancy - That's a very common dilemma these days. The difference between you and millions of other Americans is you can pay off your debt. If the accounts are past due or otherwise delinquent then it's likely that they will close the account if they haven't done so already.
If the accounts are not past due then it's a roll of the dice. But, given your situation you can't keep the balance simply to keep your credit limit. It's not a smart financial move.
Trust me, credit card issuers have short memories and once you pay them all off you probably won't have much trouble opening new cards with new issuers. I'd think small and go to credit unions or local banks. They tend to be a little more understanding than the big banks.
Best of luck,
John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized credit expert, president of Consumer Education for Credit.com and contributor to On The Money. Learn more about him at CreditExpertWitness.com.