Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Cellphone Card

The cellphone Card


Well it's not really a cellphone card in the sense of a prepaid calling card.


I was going to write about the other 2 credit cards I have but writing about the last one was really hard, so I had to write about one that I felt good about to keep me from giving up exposing all my stupidity to you.


I got this last credit card when I was already in NO mode last year. NO mode as in "Would you like one of our credit cards?" , I would say "NO". They would counter with their pre-packed list of benefits and I would just keep saying NO until they would give up on me an try to get me to give them names of some other poor saps that they could bother with the cards.


I was going thru my third NO when the guy on the phone line said "When you get this card you can subscribe your phones to a corporate plan. It gives you free calls between all the numbers you register for automatic debit from the card". That really sounded interesting! I call my mom, dad and wife a lot so I started hearing the guy.


Here in Honduras the phone companies charge you for calls even within their own networks, on both prepaid and monthly individual plans. Cellphone calls are expensive and even so there are almost 4 million cellphones active in a country with a population of 7 million. The basic rate is about 20 US cents/minute.


The only way to get a really good rate is to get on a corporate plan. Those are usually arranged by the cellphone companies with big corporations here like banks or similar sized companies (having your company pay your phone would be the best but rarely happens). The bigger the plan the better the rates.


My company had a really small plan, we got charged just a few cents less than the base rate and no free calls to anybody. It really sucked.


I asked for all the rates I would have if I took the card, and with a little math I figured I could AT LEAST shave 50% off my cellphone bills. They even gave me 150 free text messages, when most plans only have 50. Even my brother, who has a great corporate plan was amazed at the rates I was going to get.


So I did sign up for it, I signed my cellphone, my wife's, my oldest daughter's, my mom's and my dad's. My daughter and my dad talk the least. My mom and I talk about the same. And my wife is the one who talks the most on the phone (too much free time I think).


Another great advantage of signing up with this card is that I get free calls not only to the phones I sign up with my card but to all other numbers of all other cardholders. My other brother got himself this card and signed in his and his wife's cellphone and now him and I talk for free.


I did make the mistake of letting the card pay the cellphones for several months and soon I had it max out. However I got some money recently and did a big payment on it and now the balance is only $1589. Well I say only because I compare it with the other cards.


I'm going to try to pay off this card first of all because it's the easiest or so it would seem.


I recently added my cousin and his wife's cellphones to my card and they  are really happy with the much lower bills. I just have to keep them paying me for when I get charged on the card. Then I have to get myself to go ahead and pay the ENTIRE sum to the credit card. I know that's where I usually fail. I hope recognizing that fact will help me not make the same mistake.


I haven't seen the latest statement so I can't give you the interest rates or what is going to be my monthly payment on it. But I will write it up on the summary on the right when I get them.


Since this card is from the same company as my main card, If I ask for a payment plan they will probably cancel this card too. It's ok, once changed over to the corporate plan they can't sign me out. I've payed the phones in cash before and after I got this card maxed and I was never told I would be signed out of the plan. The only thing stopping me right now from requesting a payment plan for my main card is that I have a uncle and aunt that I love so much (parents of my cousin that is already on the plan). I already requested them to be signed up to my card. As soon as they get signed up and get their first bill on the new plan I'll make my move.


Tonight, please say a little pray for me. Actually pray for my wife so that she finds gets, and keeps a job.Any job. Thank you



La Gringa said...

Something to remember to help you to keep saying 'no' is that they aren't trying to sell you because it's good for you! They are counting on the fact that most customers won't pay their bill in full every month and they'll be making....what?....$4 dollars or more for every dollar that you spend.

Stores offer credit cards not for your convenience but because they are counting on the fact that customers will buy things that they couldn't otherwise afford and be paying 3 times as much for them to boot!

AJ said...

I've been approach so many other times being offered a credit card. Now it's easier to turn them down because I tell them I won't pass the credit check (which I know is true). Some of them stop there and some tell keep trying a bit more, with another "NO" they go away.

I have to laugh at my situation sometimes so it's a bit bearable.