So I didn't do enough research before randomly applying for cards to help rebuild my credit and ended up with (among others) a Continental Finance Gold card with a limit of $300. I understood the fees and that there would be a balance of $225 on the card upon activation. I though that was the price I had to pay for my poor credit.
My account was opened 2/27/08. I got the card and used it for a meal, mainly to see if it worked (I then froze the card, literally, in ice in the freezer). That was a charge of $33.43 on 3/6/08. They told me upon activating my card that I already had a payment due ($50 was due 3/24/08), so I registered online where my account information appeared to be accurate and I made the payment.
This is where it gets bad. I logged on after the payment was deducted from my checking account and was very surprised to see that I had a current balance of $212.43 and an available credit of $8. This is out of a $300 credit limit and the card had only been used the one time. So, slightly panicked about having such a low available credit I made another online payment (stupid, I know) for $40 plus the $4 online payment fee. So after a $50 and a $44 payment my account currently shows a balance of $172.43 and available credit of $4. So I'm freaking out that they'll charge me some kind of crap fee and send my account overlimit.
I've done the research that I should have done beforehand now and I see that Continental are basically scam artists but I'm stuck with the account now.
Charges on the card
$300 credit limit
-$25 annual fee (2/28/08)
-$200 account processing fee (2/28/08)
-$33.43 dinner charge (3/4/08)
+$50 internet payment (3/6/08)
-$4 internet payment fee (3/6/08)
+$44 internet payment (3/11/08)
-$4 internet payment fee (3/11/08)
After all that I have available credit of $4 and a balance of $172.43. I cannot make their math make sense and really need to know where I should go from here. (BTW, I am trying to reach their customer service too, but with the reports I've read I'm not hopeful).
Thanks so much to anyone who made it this far and has any advice for me.
I've heard bad things about them, but I don't think they've done anything wrong. The upfront fees are what they are, and it looks like they're "holding" your last payment for a few days before releasing your credit. Fairly typical with some of the sub-prime lenders, but I suspect your balance is right and in a few days you'll have the correct amount of corresponding credit.Hang in there and just always pay on time (or ideally at least one week in advance)...