I try to be understanding of most phenomena and not take a strong black-and-white stance for or against anything. But, when it comes to credit cards, it’s clear that there are no redeeming qualities. Not even the rewards are worth the risks.
Why Are There Rewards?
When doing research for this post, I noticed it was hard for me to find the study that showed that rewards programs led to people taking on massive debt. I couldn’t find it because the credit card companies have used SEO wizardry to make sure their articles about the benefits of rewards programs show up higher in the search results. In fact, there are several dubious studies funded by the credit industry that provide “sciencey” evidence that rewards programs are beneficial.
The bottom line is credit card companies offer these programs so that they can trick you into thinking you are a savvy consumer for using their card to accumulate airline miles, cash back, or other rewards. They would not have these programs if they didn’t make A LOT of money off them. The evidence presented in books like The Index Card and The Total Money Makeover shows that people generally start to carry a balance on the credit card and eventually they end up relying on it and going into debt.
You may believe that you are financially stable now. You might even like the idea of having a credit card in case of emergencies, but really, what it does is prolong your emergency. Instead of preparing and having money on hand for an emergency, you turn to a credit card, which you spend the next few years paying off. This turns a $1,000 emergency into a $2,000+ fiasco. Even if there is a low annual fee on your card, you need to take risk into consideration when you do your cost/benefit analysis.
Do You Want to Support These Companies?
According to stats from ValuePenguin, the average household that has a balance on their credit card owes $16,048. That is suffocating. By using a credit card, you are contributing to this toxic culture. The credit card companies get richer and richer off of people down on their luck. And, they start by going after the barely legal 18-year-olds who don’t know any better and are hard-pressed for cash. Soon, they’re carrying debts for decades.
However, if we shun their marketing techniques and take a stand against credit cards, we will be healthier financially as a society. We will be more secure. And, hey, who wouldn’t like fewer of their landfill-filling offers arriving in the mail?
Are you ready to cut up your credit cards? Or, are we way off base? Let us know below.