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Monday, July 25, 2005

Capital One and Me

Capital One likes me, and, to this point, I’m pretty fond of them, too.

Our relationship started with a credit card, as these relationships so often do. I was careful with my card--more careful than I had been with other cards in the past. I charged conservatively, paid religiously, and generally treated the little guy right.

Last year they started sending me letters asking if I wanted to use one of their auto loans to go buy a car. I resisted the temptation until a few months ago when I finally used their “blank check” to go out and buy my 2001 Mazda Millenia--and my bond to Capital One grew with that purchase.

Sure, it benefited Cap One; I know that. But it was also a way for me to walk into a dealership knowing precisely what I could afford, how it would be financed, and what the cost of that financing would be. The only issue was finding a car that I like--and, having owned a few Mazdas before, I have to admit to being happy to be back in the Mazda fold.

It might not quite be “zoom zoom zoom,” but it’s a great car that makes me smile.

Last week, Capital One sent me a note asking if I wanted some money. It was a fairly large sum of money and they said I could do whatever I wanted to do with it--pay of my bills, buy something shiny for my girlfriend, build up my stash of Screaming Trees CDs, or whatever my tiny heart desired.

I used it to consolidate my older credit cards, putting them all on one manageable payment with a lower interest rate and no fees. It was a move I’ve been considering for some time now, and Cap One moved in to make it happen. I haven’t worked out all of the details, but I will be paying about $150 less per month on all of that outstanding debt and I will probably be saving, at very least, $400 this year with the lower interest rate and the end of annual fees on two of the cards.

Capital One, consider this my love letter to you. Thanks for helping me streamline my finances and save a little money in the process. Thanks for making it easy for me to buy a newer car (and for approving me for about three times the amount that I actually used). I would consider this to be a good relationship.

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