Fast, easy, and effective. It’s the ongoing chant of our culture that feeds the monster of “your way, right away.” Essentially, credit cards have become the ultimate “fast pass” of our generation. But rather than moving us ahead on life’s great adventure ride, credit cards often put us on the fast track to debt, delinquency, and destruction. So before you swipe and go, consider these four reasons credit cards are a bad idea.
Whose Money Is It, Anyway?
Spending money is easy — especially when it’s not yours. Before submitting to the temptation of that new credit card offer, keep in mind that credit card purchases do, in fact, have to be paid back. And you’ll always end up paying more than you bargained for. Use your own money; use cash or a debit card instead.
Fees Don’t Please
What’s worse than having to pay bills? Paying extra fees on those bills. Most credit card companies impose interest fees at varying rates on your purchases. It’s a must that you not only have a strong awareness but also a solid understanding of interest rates when it comes to owning credit cards. In addition, some credit cards charge annual fees just for owning the card, not to mention late fees for missing your payment due date.
Identity theft is a growing concern in our world today. If you own credit cards, thieves can not only steal and max out your accounts, but they can swipe your entire identity with just one card number. While they don’t necessarily need access to a credit card to get your personal information, the availability of circulating cards can make the theft process much easier.
Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop
Using a credit card for the first time can be a lot like gambling — it’s hard to stop once you get started. You may start off small, but as you accumulate more “stuff,” the temptation to keep spending (or signing up for new cards) will eventually feed an unwanted addiction. There’s a lot of wisdom in the old saying, “Just say no!”
Fast and easy isn’t always effective, and credit cards are proof. True financial effectiveness happens within the boundaries of budget management, eliminating debt, smart spending, and saving for the future.
For more tips and resources regarding credit cards, spending habits, and financial freedom, visit daveramsey.com. To learn more about how to be a better steward of all God has entrusted to you, check out Manage, a Bible study by Threads.
Adam York is a writer and editor based in Franklin, Tenn. In college, Adam fell victim to the credit sharks. Thankfully, he was rescued along the way by the financial principles of Dave Ramsey, in which he now lives by daily.