Press "Enter" to skip to content

Credit cards users beware

Drop the plastic. Drop the shiny shoes. Back away slowly from the cash register.
 
If you’re anything like me, neckdeep in a sea of debt, then you know taking a stroll at the mall puts you on the plank of financial suicide. 
 
A year ago, the best thing about turning 18 was finally being able to own a credit card. I got lucky, or so I thought, and was instantly approved for a Visa card. Here’s a note of caution, if you’re a fresh face to the credit card world really know what you’re getting yourself into.
 
At first it seemed great, I could buy whatever I wanted with a credit limit of $1,000 and I would not have to pay it off for an entire month. No annual interest, loads of reward benefits and best of all … wait, let’s stop and rewind.
Did anyone ever mention the cons? That a few months later I’d be paying up my rear end in interest or that I’d be charged a whopping $35 for going over my credit card limit on a pack of gum? No. I was given the impression that I would be invincible with a credit card. In retrospect I should have taken the time to have carefully read the fine print. 
From my experience with a credit card, I’ve come to the conclusion all credit card companies are nothing but cutthroat crooks. 
 
You withdraw money from an ATM, there’s a withdrawal fee. You pay your bill late, there’s a late payment fee. You make a purchase online, even via telephone, and you’re charged by the retailer for simply using a credit card. 
If you ask me, it’s absolutely ridiculous. It seems everywhere you turn they’re bombarding you with fees of some sort.  
Whatever happened to having an equal, leveled playing field for both the credit card user and the credit card company? 
Personally, if the credit card companies want to play fair then it’s time for them to start making some changes. 
First off, it wouldn’t hurt for those companies to actually print their terms and policies in English, by that I mean language everyone can understand. I could care less about all the legal mumbo-jumbo. If you’re going to be making a profit off of my stupidity, I’d at least like a clear, simple explanation as to why there are seven additional fees on my monthly statement. 
Second, I would appreciate the removal of all false or misleading advertisement. Free rewards programs – please, that’s a lie. Nothing’s ever free. Take for example frequent flyer miles. Typically two miles are rewarded for every dollar spent on any purchase. The key word is “spent” and would I consider that free … I don’t think so.  
Third, I wouldn’t mind a notice before I actually overdraft my card. Oh I don’t know – a text to my phone or a small notification when I swipe my card warning me I’m about to make a huge mistake.
Yeah, I should be a little more careful when it comes to my own personal finances, but I don’t have the time or the patience to deal with oftentimes confused foreign operators and being left on hold for what seems like an eternity. 
As much as I would like credit card companies to play fair, it’ll never happen – they are businesses. It’s about time companies deliver what they promise instead of raising rates and fees. Until then, that shiny pair of shoes and everything else wonderful I can’t afford are going to have to wait.
Karina Garcia is a sophomore journalism and political science major from Gainesville, Ga. She is the Scout assistant copy editor.
Direct questions, comments and other responses to kvgarcia@mail.bradley.edu.