We all have them. Little sheets of plastic tether made to corrupt our very souls. I’m referring to credit cards. The evil unleashed upon the masses in the 1980’s from places like Delaware and South Dakota to make purchasing goods easily affordable and accessible to the general public.
It is my honest opinion concerning credit cards, the world would be a far better and healthier place if they did not exist, or at least had realistic applications. Once upon a time in America having a revolving credit line of $1000 -$100,000 or more on your person hidden in a little coded piece of plastic, was unheard of and simply crazy, a thing for the rich.
I can actually remember my first “Credit Card”, my mother applied for a credit card for Mervyn’s department store in my name Taylor, Michigan. She sure did, thanks MA! The credit line was maybe $500. This little action was the start of my addiction to plastic credit and slow demise for several decades.
Ya see, before the early 1980’s you had to be well off to even own a credit card. Which means they were A) Not Easy to obtain and B) not available to the masses. Then the credit card political lobby persuaded several states to loosen thing up a bit with the usury rates.
The interest rates credit card companies and banks provide is out of control. Imagine paying 19%-35% APR on $40,000. Yes this can happen to you, because it did to me. They start with a small allotment and work their way in like a virus, is what credit cards and lines of are made to do.
I have had them all except American Express:
- Visa Platinum
- Appliance store card
- Audio Chain Card
- Best Buy
- Open lines or revolving credit.
You name a credit card, I had it. I still have a few, but they play a different role in my life. At one point in my history while making less than $50k I had approximately $35,000 – $70,000 of credit open, WTF was I thinking. No More, No, No, No,No, No!
Here is a quote from a PBS Frontline article from Bill Janklow was governor of South Dakota from 1979 to 1987 and from 1994 to 2003. He and his state played a key role in helping the credit card industry take off in the 1980s:
” It was called the Marquette Bank decision [Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Services Corp. (1978)]. The Marquette Bank decision was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said forget where the bank is chartered; wherever the credit decision is made, in whatever state locality the credit decision is made — the “lex loci” rule — that’s the place where you can apply interest wherever you make the loan. In other words, let’s just say that if South Dakota had a 5 percent ceiling on interest, and that’s where the decision was made, the bank couldn’t charge more than 5 percent, even if they loaned the money to somebody in Florida. But if South Dakota had a 25 percent ceiling, then you could charge 25 percent, even to a loan in Florida.
There is a great PBS Frontline televised show related to the quote The Secret History of the Credit Card ,
The credit card is the Devil, El Diablo, Satan and we are kind of stuck with it unless you have cash. Many places will not do business with you if you don’t have a credit card on file with them, or doing business is really difficult.
Due to the ease of issued credit cards and credit line to the American public we are suffering and borrowing against our future and well being, yes there are some positive aspects to credit, but how it has been presented is a Pandora’s box upon those who don’t understand how the system works.
Banks and lending institutions offer Credit cards that prey on the weak and unsuspecting, promising everything will be great you have nothing to worry about. You have nothing to worry about as long as you can make the minimum payments. If you know how the banking money system works ( Later Post FYI) you would be shocked. If you or I would loan money in the same method as banks we would be put in jail for loan shark activities, racketeering and about five other crimes.
Here is where the evil come into play. Bank provide you with a credit card and a manageable limit let say $500.00. You immediately or within a short time span use said card because you don’t have the cash. Soon you make a few small payments and think that’s not so bad. Then something happens in you life where you need more money than you have in the bank and you think to your self “Self why don’t I use the line of Credit”. Which of course you can’t pay off at the end of the month. Now the banks have got you if your close to your credit limit. Why do they have you by the short hairs? They have you because, the interest will put you over the limit and maybe cause a spiral of debt.
The second scenario is you make the grand purchase or purchases and are close to your limit, then ask for more credit or a Credit limit increase. That increased credit limit will make you a slave for years to come because credit is addictive and easy. Honestly most credit card owners are not versed enough concerning these little creations of evil to manage them responsibly.
I have witnessed more than a few people in my life go to bankruptcy not once,but several times because of the access to credit card, and lines of credit. The little buggers have even cause me some problems in my own life until I made the decision, Credit Cards will be tamed and used for my benefit. It is my driving force to never pay interest charges on Credit Card again.
Credit cards have become a staple in modern society along with their kissing cousins the Debit Card. It’s a really simple equation, banks and lending institutions are here to separate you from a very valuable resource, your future earnings.
There are very responsible method to use these little demons for your benefit, which I will describe in an upcoming post, but we all must be very careful and diligent. I treat my credit cares a an enemy walking beside me with a gun, I never take my eye off of them and give pay constant attention.
It was so bad after the 2008 financial crash, it was mandated to make it harder for college student to obtain credit cards without the proper credit standing and method of repayment. The reason for the change was due to the easy with which a college student could get credit without having the proper qualification.
The reason its is or has been so easy to obtain credit is because these institutions of lending are making money from nothing. They loan you money they don’t actually have and everyone else is in on the scheme. It all play a part in the Rational Reserve system.
Maybe you can tell Credit Card are not my favorite financial vehicle, but we should hall be wary, because the devil of easy credit lurks very near at any moment, waiting for you weakened emotional state of temporary poverty.
My Rant is done.