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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Plastic-A Substitute For Cash: The American Credit Card Disaster

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In today’s America, as a result of minimal cash flow, unemployment and what seem to be quick ways to solve the such predicaments, people are using credit cards more than ever. No wonder: credit cards are a convenient way to pay for just about everything, the perfect temporary fix. This “buy now, pay later” mentality has made it too easy for impulsive buyers to purchase more than they can afford, digging themselves a ditch that will take years to fill in.

For many, using a credit-card possesses a certain “psychological éclat.” Just having a wallet full of plastic money clearly signifies that the individual qualifies as a financially stable person. It satisfies customers’ wants and needs, making them “feel happy” about purchases they otherwise couldn’t afford. And their eventual loss is big business’s gain. As a result of Americans charging billions of dollars on bank cards, lenders have reaped massive profits, earned from fees, penalties and other hidden charges.

New credit-card laws or not, creditors still manage to find legal loopholes. In fact, you could call many plastic credit lenders “Unscrupulous,” or better yet, “Sophisticated Loan Sharks.” But it isn’t the lenders that make us spend money we don’t have; it’s that “feel good” mentality that leads to too many plastic credit purchases, and that eventually leads us to financial enslavement. Most of us whine and complain every time we get hit with excessive charges or when the “Unscrupulous” raise the minimum required payment. Some even blame the bankers and bank card companies for our own financial troubles, invoking the famous blame-shifting expression: “they made me do it.” In all fairness, let’s put this in its proper perspective. Whose decision was it in the first place to accept the loan which the banks liberally gave out? Who used the credit card? It was up to us to accept or reject tempting but potentially dangerous offers. So it’s OUR fault we are in this predicament. Most Americans don’t want to wait, ever. We want that perfect house, that car, that cruise, all those impressive, comfortable things, RIGHT NOW, not 5 or 10 years down the road when we can afford it. This mess is the price we have to pay for that slice of the American Dream that we purchased too early, the financial indigestion we pay for ordering desert before dinner was even prepared.

Getting out from beneath plastic card debt is difficult, but it must be done, NOW, RIGHT NOW, or we leave a debt to our children and grandchildren that they didn’t ask for and do not deserve.

So, if you are an habitual late payer, or for some reason have defaulted on your bank cards, remember, such mistakes not only affect your credit score, they can also subject you to collections, court judgments, repossessions and liens, not to mention the fact they it can affect the future for us all, tainting your credit for years to come, making you a credit risk to all, creating hardship for financial institutions and our children as well. It’s time we pay our bill, late fees included.