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Goodwill Success with JCP/Chase/HSBC?


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I am going to pay off about $6,000 total of debt within the next 2 months and I'm looking for a few suggestions. The debt is spread over 4 credit cards, and once this is done, all my cards will be paid off.

One of my cards, JCP, currently shows as closed by issuer (closed to purchases), and has a couple of 30 days late within the last year. The current balance is $1,500.

Another, Chase, is open and has an available credit line, but shows one 30 days late within the last 2 years. The current balance is $1,000.

Finally, one with HSBC is also open and has an available credit line, shows one 30 days late within the last 2 years. Current balance is $1,000.

I do not plan to use any of these cards anymore, and will probably close all of them within the next year. Right now, we are looking to refi our 30 yr mortgage to 15 yr, and these accounts are driving the score down with the debt utilization and the late pays. Of course, will leave accounts open at least until after the refi is completed.

Anyone have any suggestions on a best approach for a GW letter, particularly with JCP? Ideally, I would love to have them change the closed reporting to either closed by consumer or reopen (although I don't think reopen is likely). The others, I would love to have them remove the late payments. Is it best to payoff the cards first, then send a GW letter after payment clears, or send the letter with notice of intent to pay to see if that gives any leverage?

I'm going to pay all this off, regardless of what I get out of it, and I know the late pays are legit - it happened while my hubby was temp. laid off. Any advice is much appreciated!

Thanks! :)

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