My latest thoughts on the whole credit card thing

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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MemberSince99
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My latest thoughts on the whole credit card thing

Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:22 am

Last December I had no credit cards. I had no plans of getting any except that I checked my FICO scores and they just were not going up from around 750-760. I was a long time debit card user and fine with it - you just pay with the card and take the money from checking and away you go, no hassles with them holding payments back for weeks and trying to charge you late fees and all this. What could be easier.

I decided to get credit cards simply to boost my score at the time I wanted to get up from where I was (even though where I was, was absolutely fine and I SHOULDA left it alone!!!!!) I applied for cards and with time, as I got better ones, I replaced and closed my old accounts, because I didn't want to leave open lines I wasn't going to use. Once I got Amex again, I closed almost everything else, leaving only Discover and my bank's cards. Now that they are closed, I'm going to dream of the days I had 760 scores again, but I won't see those for a very long time.

In short, I was a fool. All I've done is lower my scores contrary to my original goals. I've seen how Mickey Mouse the Customer Service of many cards is. I've seen the "gotcha!!!!!" games many issuers play to try to roll you for fee income. I've spent WAY more time and energy religiously paying these cards than I ever did on my debit card and what do I have to show for it? Lower scores more hassle more stress a less happy life. To be frank, I have come to the conclusion that credit cards simply are not worth it.

My only concern with regards to debit cards is that thieves can drain your bank account. I think the solution is just keep the bulk of your money in a savings account and move money to your checking account as needed and watch like a hawk. That's still less work than credit cards have been, having to rotate their use, go online and pay, check for days if your payment cleared yet even though it cleared your bank, make sure you don't use it before the cut off date for fear the balance will hit, and all this insanity. IT REALLY IS NOT WORTH IT. I found myself a slave to the damn things, and maybe that's me and my bad, but all it is, is a way for these guys to make money off us. It isn't the meaning of life, it isn't a family relationship, it isn't squat really - it's a business. And in the end all it really brought me is negative things, and my score will be lower when the dust clears for a while to boot.

I'm just posting this in hopes of making others think before taking this plunge. I wish I had, because if I had this to do over, I wouldn't touch credit cards with a 10 foot pole.

I'm now going to call Discover to find out why the payments I posted to my cards with them yesterday didn't post. I made one payment on each card and apparently THAT also triggers them holding your payments for weeks. Another "gotcha baby!!!!!!" I just LOVE these guys.....

Anyway I have 2 Discover cards and 2 from my bank, and I consider every day closing more of them and getting them out of my life. I can't do it completely as my fiancee is working out of state now and needs the card, but once that is no longer true I've already talked with her about closing these things and getting them COMPLETELY out of our lives.

I can honestly say all they've brought me is grief and I've paid them all religiously never carried balances and been a 'good" user - imagine if I'd been a bad one how bad this experience woulda been. Just words for the wise here, hopefully. Do what's best for you but consider this.


jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:55 am

I've been using credit cards for more than 25 years and during that time have open and closed dozens of accounts. I've never paid late or missed a payment.

I got myself in debt up to my eyeballs and then got myself all the way out, all by myself.

Whenever I've had a legitimate error on a credit card statement, it's been swiftly corrected by the issuing bank. The few instances of fraud that I've experienced were detected immediately by the issuing bank and dealt with quickly at no cost and almost no inconvenience to myself.

When I used to carry a cc balance, I paid hundreds in interest (probably, maybe $1,000s), but I've never paid any kind of cc penalty. Now that I don't carry a balance and optimize cashback options, I've made back from the cc issuers more than I ever paid in interest.

The only cc "problems" I can recall experiencing are instances of bad customer service from telephone reps. When that's been a chronic issue in the past I've just closed the account and opened another.

I've never worried about my credit score or tried to do anything that would raise it. It's somewhere in the high 700s now and has been above 800 in the past. At no point has it ever been less than what would be considered "very good."

If you can manage a debit card account, there is no reason why you can't manage a credit card account. I think you might be over-thinking this and making it harder than it needs to be.
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MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:16 pm

I probably am over thinking it.

Still in looking at it, I have to honestly say I simply prefer the simplicity of my debit card. I don't need or care about rewards anymore. In fact, they could KEEP the rewards if they just made this process as simple as possible and got rid of the "gotchas". I realize it's pretty much the way of things to be slimy and screw everyone you can to make a buck and the CC companies are no different, but I would give them the rewards to just lose that kind of thing.

I also realize I'm delusional to think that's ever going to happen. It's probably best if I just start to go back to the debit card. Even as good as Discover has been I could see living without them. And the rest - I can't say I have EVER missed Cap one....not many would....

Still hopefully someone out there will at least carefully consider before doing what I did. It could be just me, but it never hurts to carefully look before you leap.

BTWalker
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Postby BTWalker » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:29 pm

There is an intangible benefit that comes with using credit cards that really needs to be factored in. It’s called peace of mind. When I was young I felt I could go without any cards. Then after a long hot miserable week, I’m on my way home from work and I run out of gas. I walk back to the closest gas station and request to borrow a gas can. I told the attendant I’d pay for the gas. Since I didn’t have a credit card to cover the deposit on the gas can, the attendant went into the back office to check it out with the station owner. I never saw the owner but will never forget what I heard him tell the attendant. It was short and to the point. He simply said, “End the conversation”.

Needless to say I was at my bank applying for cards within 24 hours. Now you’re thinking well if I had a debit card it would have been different. OK…Say you’re 400 miles away from home and you blow out the rear axle of your car. So now you’re looking at covering the cost of a repair and two to three days layover in a hotel along with the cost of meals while it’s being fixed. Will just a few hundred dollars you put in checking even cover the pre-authorization for this?Please don’t get me wrong here, I’m certainly not bashing you regarding your opinions but I am showing you another way of looking at credit cards. Credit cards are simply a tool. A valuable tool when you really need them.

Heck a few years ago after being tethered to my office with a cell phone I changed jobs and let my cell service go. Two weeks later I found myself on a dark highway in the middle of Iowa in the worst fog I had ever seen with a blown out tire. I was dressed in a suit. I struggled with the tire, drove home over 400 miles on the bike like spare tire in my trunk and somehow made it home in one piece. The next day I signed up for cell service.

Now I have credit cards, a cell phone and emergency road service. These are all tools available to help deal with the contingencies that life can throw at you.
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