It’s true that credit card companies and issuers engage in practices that many consider predatory. Happily, it’s also true that credit card rules changes are coming, one way or another. But in the end even forcing credit card issuers to behave in a more *ahem* ethical manner isn’t likely to completely change the way people use credit cards. After all, in the end we have to take responsibility for our financial decisions — perhaps even especially if we’ve made poor decisions.
Why are your credit card bills so high, anyway?
Today, Free From Broke pointed out that many of the problems we face with credit cards are results of poor financial habits. Sure, credit card issuers work hard to trick you into getting cards at low rates, only to jack them up. However, no one forced you to get the credit card. And, certainly, no one forced you to spend money and neglect to pay the balance off each month. Yeah, credit card minimum payments are meant to be low — to keep you paying for as long as possible and squeeze the maximum interest out of you. But you can choose to pay more than the minimum each month.
When I finished college with three nearly maxed out credit cards, I at first blamed the credit card issuers. What were they thinking, issuing cards to a freshman college student? Well, I know what they were thinking. My question should have been this: What was I thinking, using credit cards to buy things I couldn’t afford?
Yes, credit card tactics are sneaky and underhanded. And I really hate that they can just change the terms of the agreement on a whim, even if you are responsible. Those types of practices should be stopped. But, even more important to your personal finances, is taking responsibility for your credit card mistakes, fixing them and then moving forward as a more discerning spender.
image source: sxc.hu via Wikimedia Commons