Friday, October 19, 2007

It's hard to know exactly how I feel about credit cards at this point in the year. 0% purchase credit cards seem all well and good, but I've known too many people get into too much trouble to truly trust it. I think it gets handed out too freely to people who really can't afford to get stuck in it; college kids, young adults, high school students who don't even have an income of their own! And how will they learn to manage it responsibly without digging themselves into a deep hole? One card gets maxed out and past due, so they get another card to work with balance transfers, and before they know it they will need to work the next thirty years to pay it off.

And then on the flip side of that equation, there are the responsible ones who need a convenient safety net. They may be uber-responsible with their finances, pay full balances every month, never get over their heads. And when they need to replace their brakes, they can just put a piece of plastic on the counter and know that it's good. Online transactions are made marginally safer by using credit cards instead of giving out bank account info at every turn.

I don't know. Really. I could go either way on this issue. I guess it all depends on the person using the card, and unfortunately that's still not a criteria used in judging who gets offered a card in the first place.

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