I had long hard painful learn period on credit card management over the years. Like most people it started in college and grew from there. Now, I manage it, pay to much in interest at times and think of credit cards as a necessary evil that you never trust. But are they necessary? A CNN post
talks about how some people have sworn credit cards off all together. And a fact I found interesting is they say 80% of American Families have at least one. I thought that number would be higher. I will say that I fell for the whole "You need credit" pitch along time ago and never looked back. So are credit cards necessary, probably not, but I don't think I am ready to try cutting them all up at this point in my life. Maybe when all the kids are out of school.
I spend a lot of time thinking about credit cards. I also think of them as a necessary evil and had my own training period during college. However, I'm now a credit card 'deadbeat' (Dunno if you ever saw the 60 minutes special with Ben Stein on credit cards). I use credit cards almost exclusively out of sheer convenience. However, I pay them in full at the end of each month; I never carry a balance. I won't let those credit card companies get an extra cent of my hard earned money. I shred counter checks.
From your post, I am also surprised at how few Americans have credit cards. On the other hand, there are a lot of Americans renting their residences as well. I was told having NO credit history can keep one from qualifying for larger loans. I tend to think that we really do need credit cards, so long as the American Dream is based on 'layaway' and not on cash purchases. They're just very dangerous. Don't cut your cards until the kids are out of school; you may need that good payment history to secure college loans!
I have two credit cards. I recently received a letter from one noting I hadn't used it for 4 months. They 'reminded' me of my great rate & increased my credit limit. So I went out and bought an Ipod. I paid it in full at the end of the month. That card is back in the desk drawer.
We have one cradit card, and it is for the business. Shawn has never paid a penny in interest on it. We are finding it to be an issue when looking into truck loans. It really makes us mad.
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