Looking even beyond just the credit card companies, no company that “lends” you money is doing you a favor. That’s like saying the car salesman is doing you a favor by letting you buy a car.
The fact of the matter is that when you get a home loan, a credit card, a personal loan, or charge to an installment account, you are the customer.
People need to realize that, When you take out this kind of loan, you are buying money. You are the customer and the lender is the one who is selling you the money in order to make a profit. No lender does anyone a favor, even if it feels like that’s what’s happening. Just like with the car salesman, the idea is to make it feel like it’s a favor. But in reality, the profits are theirs. They do those things necessary to maximize their profits and minimize their losses, just like any other business.
Would you pay $100 in cash for $20 worth of groceries? If you put it on a card, that’s possibly what you’re doing, unless you pay your full balances within one or two months.
It used to be that credit cards were held and used for emergencies. Now people use them like they’re free money, without thinking. That’s too bad, because unless you happen to have a very astute credit mind and the ability to pay off everything you charge within the grace period, you’re borrowing from sharks.
I know two young guys, about 20 to 22 years old, both of whom got credit cards and immediately ran them up buying fancy new computer equipment. One of them talked to me about it before he did it, and I advised him against it, but he did it anyhow. The other acted on his own without advice. Now they’re both listening, after realizing how big a deal it is. I explained to both that it would take 30 years (or more with the high rates their cards had) to pay off a computer that would be outdated in one or two years if they made minimum payments. I told them about the virtues of saving and having cash on hand.
Pros and Cons of Credit Cards
Credit cards are evil for most things, but they can be a blessing for a few things: Purchase protection for big-ticket items is nice to have, and rental car coverage is a good benefit if you travel. But some of the check cards with a logo of the major companies on it will give you similar benefits.
Which brings me to my final point: If you like using credit cards just because they are convenient and because you can use them to buy things online, you’re probably using the wrong kind of card. Shop around for a ATM/Debit/Check/Visa-or-MasterCard type of card, and make sure you get one from a bank that offers the features you want.
Finally – a reminder
Whether it’s a credit-card loan or another kind, the APR of the loan is what determines how much you are paying for the money you are buying from the lender. Yes – I said *you are buying* money from a lender, and how much you pay depends on how long it takes you to pay it off. It’s as simple as that. Credit cards are a big-money business for lenders and are a big-loss pig of a deal for borrowers.
If you have to borrow, like for a car or home purchase, you should always shop for money the same way (or more diligently than) you shop for gas, cars, clothes, airline tickets, electronics, homes and whatnot. No lender is ever doing you a favor – they are selling you money, and they are doing so at a profit. Don’t ever forget that.