I’m Living in China and Having Problems With Capital One. What Should I Do? – Christina

“Dear Steve,

I opened a Capital One card in September 2005 in order to have an emergency card while I was on a trip to China. The card never arrived in time and from December 2005 onward (before I even used any charges on the card!) I repeatedly asked to close the account. After much a struggle to try to close the account and getting fees racked up from it still being open (annual fee, etc) I resigned myself to having this card. I used it and I was making payments but always there was some other fee that they would charge and even when I tried to pay it off it would have another ‘charge’ that prevented me from closing it.

I did a balance transfer in order to try to close the account again. Now I have about 1,900 USD in debt from this card, even when I make payments they say it is past due and I’m living out of the country so its difficult for me to call them and they do not respond to my requests to call my China phone number.

I wanted to do a debt consolidation loan but I don’t owe enough money. When I was in the States for February, I reached an agreement with them that I could make a lump sum payment of 441 dollars in March and they would take 100 USD off the total balance owed. I made this payment, the money was debited from my checking account and then now, in May they say the payment was returned and my ‘minimum payment’ which was 55 USD (I was paying 76 USD for last two months) is now over 500 USD! I don’t even get paid that much in one month!

They sent a letter saying that I was over six months past due (which is not true, although I had been past due before, I have paid for the last three months, payments that were to bring my account (according to them) back in good standing and that were above the min. payment amount.

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What should my next move be? Keep the payments being sent to them of 76 USD per month? Or just stop paying all together and ask for debt forgiveness?


Dear Christina,

Since there is no such thing as debt forgiveness if you want the balance to go away we’ll have to think about a different approach.

To aid in communications with Capital One you might want to consider using the email option once you login to your Capital One account online.

In your situation, good communication is critical.

If you plan to return to the United States to live in the future you are better off reaching an agreement that keeps you current and repaying the debt. This will improve your credit report rather than leaving it with a bad debt, defaulted account and years of collection calls.

If you would like to try to get the interest rate reduced and bring the account current then think about enrolling the debt with a credit counseling agency. You can click here for credit counseling information.

Please update me on your progress by

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Steve Rhode

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