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Should You Get a Credit Card?

November 5, 2014

Credit Cards give you the ease of making purchases without having to shell out cash. It’ll make huge purchases pass like a fart in the breeze but, when the bill comes to you, you’ve realized that you’ve actually shit your pants.

I was at the bank, applying to access my account online, when I was told for the first time “Why not get a credit card, sir?” The banks usual marketing style is somewhere along the lines of “money during emergencies” and that “you can just not use it anyway”.

First-time users have to deal with the problem of balancing between how much they earn, how much they can spend, and how much they can borrow – forgetting that borrowing is similar to spending. However still, because banks can accept staggered payment, your purchasing power is not as heavy as paying for the everything at once. Virtually, if we use our credit card within our means and we pay full every month, we’re okay.

My First Purchase

Back in 2006, I bought a pair of shoes. It was about a third of my salary, and because I couldn’t afford to pay in full, I opted to use my credit card. More info here.

I felt like I still had some cash with me; as if I got the shoes for free. So I went on an impulsive buying rage and a cash advance, and thus started my life of debt, pretty much known as “normal”. Hey everyone’s doing it!

How long was I in debt?

There’s no end to it. Until now, I am still in debt. I still make purchases through my credit card when making transactions online i.e. book flights, pay for Steam Games, book hotels, buy from e-bay, etc.

I had 3 credit cards when I started. Two Visas and a Mastercard. Worst. Decision. Ever.

The Paradox

The “emergency” method they use for marketing? It’s bullshit. They employ this strategy so anyone who can make a sucker apply for a credit card can get a commission. They only sell you the illusion that emergencies are its sole purpose and plant you the fear that it can happen anytime. They don’t detail you the fine print agreement you’re signing your life to. Much like some insurance company ploys.

“What happened, you lovable oaf,” you ask?

Oh, stop it you.

I’ve gotten into a temporary emergency for a couple of months wherein I’ve insofar only missed one payment, and the 2nd due date was closing in. During that time, my cash on hand was about pocket size, and had to depend on freebies to get through the day. I couldn’t do anything mainly because the bank fucking SUSPENDED my account for missing that one month.

In my whole history, I’ve paid every month, and had very good credit history. Now that this “emergency” had happened, they suspend my account. The history didn’t matter! It probably only affected how the collections agents would talk to me. They weren’t in any way threatening, but any calls to their hotline yielded nothing but reminders that I have to pay or else I get a bad credit record.

I still lose, though

Even with this paradox, it’s only a paradox on its strategy to sell. I’m just one of those suckers who said yes believing that I’ll only use it during emergencies. I agreed to their terms by signing the contract and not finding out the details. In my head there was only one purpose.

Why do I still have the credit card?

Even though I know this had a large negative impact in my life, I am still keeping it for its convenience. Though I can make purchases through my debit card, or pay over-the-counter at a bank, I have in my mind the thoughts of “emergencies” and “convenience.” They’re engraved to my head like inscriptions are to the Ring of Power.

Am I recommending you get a credit card?

Remember that CREDIT means that you make a purchase with the promise to pay in the future. Banks require you to present factual information to prove that you are capable of paying them so that you can use their money. They’re allowing you to make mini-loans.

In truth, I’d recommend that you don’t. It just adds to the hassle. However, in essence, you CAN use it for an emergency, but that’s not the whole shebang. Your life will get harder with it, and will only provide you temporary relief.

If you are sure you can uphold the promise to pay, then I’m not going to stop you. Go for it. Just please don’t get suckered into any of their strategies. Get a credit card only because you need it.

I’m a noob in this, and I’m still learning along the way. If you have any similar experiences or would like to share your views, there’s a comment section below.

From → Advice, English, Thoughts

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