I’ve made up my mind to get rid of my credit cards. I’ve had the two cards for years. I’m going to pay them off and use debit forever after.

We’re all sold on the idea we need credit cards. I have used them for emergencies now and then. But for me, with a basic income I can live on, and by taking care, I don’t need them. I once failed to pay my taxes out of the money I received as a freelance writer that year. I thought I was getting money later to cover it and it didn’t pan out. So suddenly I had a 4000 dollar tax bill. Not wanting that hanging over my head, I paid it with a credit card. I still have that owing on my card–a debt that gathers interest. I pay the minimum (automatically) plus whatever I think I can afford to pay that off–same with my other card. But I can tell you between the two cards I pay about 2 grand a year total in interest. And while the interest rate is higher than it should be, these are not particularly high interest cards in today’s market, compared to some of the outrageous¬† rates out there.

I entered into a contractual relationship with the credit card companies making me responsible for their use and the interest. That’s true. But the tendency is to never be in a position, unless you really work on it, to pay them off. The banks count on that. So you end up with endless interest. Every week they mail me entreaties for more credit cards, from the same companies and others. They make enticing offers tingling with opportunity and illusory “freedom to enjoy life”. But each card has fees–and even if it doesn’t, it charges substantial interest for every purchase. There are other scammy elements in the accounting I’m not qualified to explain. But basically, ending up paying a couple hundred a month (for my particular debt) as well as paying off the principal, feels like a rip-off to me. The interest is just too high, and the theater of credit card use, the ease, the delusory glory of it, keeps nudging us into debt–and yet with every purchase you add to your debt and to the interest on your debt.

And we DON’T need credit cards, usually. Sometimes early in adult life they’re useful (they’ve forced their way into the economy in that role) to “establish credit” so you can buy a house or a car. But if you don’t have to do those things through credit–and be careful about it if you do–then you don’t need the damn things. I have a house, my mortgage deal is long-term and established. I own my car. I’m not going to buy another on credit. I’m not going to buy anything on credit–more and more I use only debit directly from my bank account for purchases. The whole “build up your credit report” thing is essentially for the benefit of credit card companies. “My report says I’m rated low! I’m screwed!” Why?

The idea that we’re sold on that we need credit cards–that’s where it feels like a con to me. They do far more harm than good. “A growing number of Americans have more credit-card debt than savings” says the marketwatch article I’m linking to below…

It’s hurting people–it’s one of the factors that leads to homelessness. Overwhelming debt will eventually catch up to you. Much of it is credit card debt.And they’ve worked through their cronies in congress to make sure that it’s much harder to declare bankruptcy now.

If you don’t need the cards, the hell with it. I’ve got a plan to pay off my cards and then I’ll do without them. If you can, go thou and do likewise.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.