Credit Card Slaves

Don’t let this happen to you.

I was a few days late on a payment or two on my Citibank MasterCard and am now paying 32.24% interest, up from about 11%. Out of a monthly payment of $280, roughly $200 is interest.

Reminds me of the lyrics from that great Credence Clearwater Revival song Born on a Bayou off the album Bayou Country.

My poppa said, “Son, don’t let the man get you
Do what he done to me.”
‘Cause he’ll get you,
‘Cause he’ll get you now, now.

I know, it’s my own damn fault, but really, which is worse, botching up a credit card payment or botching up a war?

My best friend Jim, who, unlike me, is single and smart with money, listens to my miserable stories, smiles a half-way Zen smile and says, “Well, you’re not alone.” (What does that mean?)

College kids. It starts before they can legally drink beer (can’t handle it; too immature). Here is an exerpt from a good article by Nicole Williams

When I was in sixth grade, I received my first warning about the dangers of credit cards from my home economics teacher. “I budgeted so well until my senior year of college,” she claimed. “Then I got a credit card and I am still paying off that bill.” I failed to heed this warning six years later when I arrived on my university campus. Suddenly, credit cards were everywhere and everyone had them. Walking to class, I would be stopped on the sidewalk and given flyers. Heading to lunch in the student union, I would pass tables manned by cheerful, attractive young people calling out to me to “apply now- it’s easy.” At the annual “college fair,” booths from every company imaginable collected stacks of credit applications from eager students.

I cut up two credit cards this morning, which gave some small satisfaction. The debt’s still intact, attached like a ball and chain.

Wishin’ I were a fast freight train,
Just a chooglin’ on down to New Orleans.

Cross-posted from Sustainable Middle Class Blog

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3 Responses to Credit Card Slaves

  1. John

    Call them and request they put your interest rate back down. Some card companies will do this if you otherwise have a good record with them.

  2. Pamela:

    I called as you suggested. Amazingly, it worked. They lowered the rate from 32 to 17, for a simple 5-minute phone call. What a crazy system. Are the rules posted somewhere I’m not looking?

    You saved me a lot of dough. I’m grateful.

  3. John

    I’m so glad that worked. I’ve had very good luck with them but not other card companies. Another tip is most companies will refund one late fee once a year for good reason, if you ask.