The truth about credit cards and credit card companies.
I always pay off my credit card balances each month. And I never pay credit card fees or interest. So, when I got my MasterCard bill this weekend, I knew something was very wrong.
They charged me a $25 fee. Wtf? Ugh
Which means I have to waste 10 minutes talking to them to reverse a fee that could never have even happened if I listened to Dave Ramsey and cut my credit cards up. Maybe he was right. Anyway.
Well, It was my fault. Somehow I sent the wrong amount to the credit card company … by $3.43. (Just Another sign I need glasses!) I paid on time, but I sent them the wrong amount. I was off by $3.43 And they pounced like a tiger to add late fees, interest charges, and who knows what else. This is their business. This is what we agree to when we use credit cards.
Of course, I called the credit card company and had it reversed.
And it happens every now and again, I’ll send them money and because of a holiday or whatever, they receive it a day later than the “due date” and they do the same thing: late fees and penalties. And that’s my fault, of course.
But, I really am struck by this feeling that they are ready to pounce: on anyone who falls behind on their payments, gets sick, loses a job, has a crisis etc … the credit card companies are not messing around.
And if you’re reading this and don’t have an emergency fund, read my post about it and do it, because they’re waiting and so are other companies that will take advantage of your situation: credit card companies, payday loans, auto leasing companies, etc … emergencies happen and it is essential to be able to handle them without taking a loan from these companies.
And I’m not saying credit card companies are not a perfectly legal business. I’m saying it’s a perfectly legal business where they make more money from fees and interest when you are most vulnerable. When you lose a job or have a crisis or someone gets sick.
Life happens. Be prepared. I’ve lost a job, had a family crisis, and gotten sick in the last 5 years. And I wish I had an emergency fund in place.
Anyway, I’m even more convinced of my financial plan: over the next couple years I only want to have a couple of debit cards and only two credit cards. Simple. Easy. And focus on living debt free, invest, and retire early.
Why not go cold turkey and close all my credit cards? Well, I get benefits from one of my credit cards when I travel like access to airport lounges etc… that I think is really worth it. It makes traveling easier. And I get value. But I’m not saying no, either. It’s possible. I may just decide to exclusively use debit cards. We’ll see.
I’m going to cancel the majority of my other credit cards. Just not worth it. The more of them I have open, the higher the possibility of something going wrong. What about you?
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