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The Bank Transfer day was a huge success; tens of thousands of people moved their money from large multinational corporate banks to small local banks and credit unions.  Hooray.  

Now what?

Time to get rid of your credit cards.  

I've been living without credit cards for more than a decade.  I don't miss them at all.  People say to me:

But you can't rent a car or buy a plane ticket!  
Wrong.  I have a Visa-logo debit card and it works fine for both.  

But what about your credit rating?   In the mid-600's, thank you very much.  And that's with being poor as church mice.  

But I can't live without a credit card!   That is your problem.  You think you need one of those things to survive.  The buts and what-if's come at me all the time.  But I'll tell you what you don't know about living without a credit card:  

I know exactly how much money I have and how much I can spend every month.
I never worry about the interest going up.  
I don't worry about how not paying this bill will affect that account.  
Yes I have to live on what I make.  But that means I'm living in a reality-based personal economy which has lowered my financial stress more than any other decision I've ever made

Yes sometimes I have to go without or wait to get something that I want.  
But my total outstanding debts are less than $3000, all of them medical expenses.

Can you say that?

Cut them up.  Pay them off.  Get a logo'd debit card for a year that's tied to your actual checking account forcing you to live within your means.  The credit card companies are desperate for your business, if you ever change your minds they'll be glad to take your money.  But the more people who opt out of credit the more likely those companies will be to be willing to cut you a better deal.  

And believe me, living without the loan sharks breathing down your neck is so much better than being able to buy something you don't really need right now.

Originally posted to seetreeme on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.


I'll do it! I'll get rid of my credit cards!

2%2 votes
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37%34 votes
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| 91 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the way you think. nt (4+ / 0-)

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 10:22:21 PM PST

  •  I think (3+ / 0-)

    You've got something there.

    Better get back to the web. The internet isn't going to surf itself.

    by RodSerling on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 10:55:12 PM PST

  •  I have a total of one credit card, which I keep (5+ / 0-)

    and use for regular symbolic  small purchases so as to help mend a battered credit rating, and one debit card as soon as my direct payment transfer to the CU goes through so I can close my other accouts at Big Bank. I treat the debit card as cash, and account for it that way, and it works just fine. If I didn't need to patch the credit rating, I would not have the one card.

  •  I say we do the opposite (5+ / 0-)

    I put everything I buy on credit cards that get me frequent flyer miles, various points towards gift certificates, etc.  Next month my wife and I are flying to Bangkok business class with the points we earned.  A few months ago we stayed in a $500/night hotel suite for two nights for free.  A few years ago we flew to Tokyo business class using miles.

    Credit card companies hate me.   I have a lot of credit cards.  And no debt.  Every month I pay off my various credit cards in full.  I paid an interest charge once about eight years ago when we had a short term cash flow problem and I couldn't pay off one bill in full.  That cost me a few bucks.  In the meantime, I've made so much off the credit card companies it's just plain silly.

    If you really want to hurt the credit card companies, get their card, take their giveaways, then pay off the bill in full and don't pay fees or interest charges.

    •  nice work, if you've already got the funds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and are using your cards to fly rather than tread water.

    •  The problem is it's not the bank paying for those (10+ / 0-)

      perks, it's the merchant you bought from. Corporate / rewards cards cost twice as much for the merchant as regular cards. I refuse to accept Discover cards because the cost is so high. And I'm really starting to frown on American Express. I had one guy charge 350 bucks and A/E subtracted 8.50 from my account. A/E thinks 3.5% off the top is just grand. I don't.

      "We're here to start a dialog, nothing more. We keep quiet and let the press, the politicians, and the Wall Streeters hang themselves." From a veteran protester in the civil rights days at Liberty Park. h/t to pistols at dawn.

      by mrsgoo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 06:04:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  interesting to hear what they cost the merchant (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrsgoo, DRo, lgmcp, glorificus

        A regular consumer doesn't really know this, and might think twice about using one.  Do you have the percentages for all of them?  I'd be sure to use the lowest one if I knew which one it is.  I guess I could always ask the merchant, too.

        "Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." --J. Steinbeck

        by livjack on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 06:22:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Credit card processing is a huge racket and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo, lgmcp

          profitable. Generally speaking regular swiped cards are about 1.5% Corporate and reward cards are about 2-3.5%. Same for keypayd transactions (phone orders).
          The sonosabitches have more fees than you can even believe. On average we get clipped 2.5%.

          "We're here to start a dialog, nothing more. We keep quiet and let the press, the politicians, and the Wall Streeters hang themselves." From a veteran protester in the civil rights days at Liberty Park. h/t to pistols at dawn.

          by mrsgoo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 07:49:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've been thinking of going right back to cash (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for most daily transactions.  It's been years since I've done that, but it seems like maybe it's time.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 09:04:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I took a trip with a travel agent friend. (0+ / 0-)

            She allowed me to charge it, but also charged me the 3% fee she would have been charged. I know the merchants pay for the privilege, but I think Target can absorb the loss easily.

      •  Why would I care what merchants pay banks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrsgoo, glorificus

        especially when we are talking about big ones like Target? If you as a small merchant refuse to accept some or all credit cards or have a minimum purchase requirement to use them, sure, I'll find another way to pay you.

        •  I use my a/e costco business card only at costco (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo, mygreekamphora, glorificus

          and big box chains. I pay cash at mom and pops. I've got the vast majority of my regular customers paying by check now. What kills me is when somebody comes in and buys 2-3 bucks of stuff and flips out a card. It's .35 off the top and the % after that. I might as well just give them the merchandise.

          "We're here to start a dialog, nothing more. We keep quiet and let the press, the politicians, and the Wall Streeters hang themselves." From a veteran protester in the civil rights days at Liberty Park. h/t to pistols at dawn.

          by mrsgoo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 07:54:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Somebody pays for those rewards (4+ / 0-)

      and it's not the banks.

      The bourgeoisie had better watch out for me, all throughout this so called nation. We don't want your filthy money, we don't need your innocent bloodshed, we just want to end your world. ~H.R.

      by chipmo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 06:21:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm old enough to remember when credit cards were not common...they just weren't an issue.

    Since then we have been trained to consider them an absolutely necessity but only because its a "necessity" that benefits the Credit Card companies.

    No one benefits from ours in the financial sense because we pay ours off each month...and we are finding ourselves using them less and less as we our now in the habit of using our debit cards.

    I'm going to have to do some exploring on this proposal but I certainly can't dismiss it out of hand. Thank you.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 01:59:21 AM PST

  •  Great idea. (13+ / 0-)

    Banks have trained us very well to think plastic is better than cash.  By that clever training they have gained a cut off the top of most all commerce for the nation.  They now get a cut of groceries, clothing, medical costs and     automotive costs, not to mention they have worked their way in to t cut of unemployment payments and food stamps.

    Even if there is no direct cost to users there are hidden costs that are passed on to us and that are gravy off the top to them.

    Think before you swipe! Do you really want to give them a cut?

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 02:21:43 AM PST

  •  Can I say that? (3+ / 0-)
    Yes sometimes I have to go without or wait to get something that I want.

    Sometimes that expensive thing that we would have to go without or wait to get would be... a car repair, which is very much a necessity up here in the rural wilds of New England.

    In fact those are USUALLY the predominant items that end up on our credit card statements.

    But my total outstanding debts are less than $3000, all of them medical expenses.

    Can you say that?

    Well, no. No I can't.

    My wife still has a sizable chunk of student loans that we're paying off.

    And we have two vehicles that we still owe on.

    And we have a mortgage.

    But apart from that? No other debt, including debt owed on credit cards. Strategic credit use is what allows us to do that.

    That's not to say that everyone has the leverage for strategic credit use. I'm sure our credit score and household salary is what keeps us in a constant flow of 0% card offers.

    And it's our household salary that gives us enough clearance every month to tighten our belts, make the payments, and maintain discipline, so that when the year-long 0% interest offer is up, we don't owe a thing on the card.

    But in the end, I'm using the credit card company's money for free, and they keep letting me do it. So why wouldn't I?

    Corporate Dog

    We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

    by Corporate Dog on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 02:45:40 AM PST

    •  I tipped, but one quibble. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corporate Dog, terabytes, DRo, lgmcp

      It just seems like you're using their money for free.  In reality, the merchants you use are upping their cost of goods sold to cover the various fees they have to pay to accept credit card purchases.  Even tiny shops that accept credit cards are likely paying $35 a month for a merchant account, then a small set fee and a few percent on top of that for everything purchased by card.  (Caveat to my caveat - they probably have some sort of merchant account anyway, I just don't know if they get charged less if it doesn't accept credit card transactions.  I do know that fees are higher on accounts that take credit card transactions that don't require a human being working for the company to physically handle the card, such as those that process web transactions.)  They're not, out of the goodness of their hearts, merely eating that cost.  They lump it into overhead and raise rates on everything they sell accordingly.

      So you don't directly pay to use their credit to manage your cash flow, but you sure as heck do indirectly, as does everyone else shopping at those places.

  •  I keep a credit card for 2 things- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, FlyingToaster, lgmcp, glorificus

    1.)  I still have my cat because the vet took plastic the day we had a major problem. And the same for when a relative without dental insurance
     [what's that?] needed emergency work. And we got our cards in the first place because we had a car break down out of town on a Sunday with no cash left as we were headed home from our planned trip.

    2.) dealing with gas pumps by cash has become a pain.

    So we also paid them off every time back then, because that was what you were supposed to do... but 2008 mortally wounded my husband's small business and it took him 10 months to find a job even with 35 years experience.

    So now we deal with gas by going to Sunoco, where the gas is from Canada and they are still a "service" station, so they come out to you and do debit for my hubby or cash with me.

    I'm busy throwing a chunk of money at the balances and trying not to use 'em any more. But I sure never expected us to be juggling like this on the high wire. Because we used our cards, one for the business, one for the household judiciously but often, we racked up a huge available line of credit that I see as a lifesaver, (g-d forbid) should we need it. And I never expected to need as much as we have. We worked hard, dammit!

    So although I put them away, I'm not ready to cut them up yet.

    •  I'm not advocating that (3+ / 0-)

      everyone give them up completely.  Just that they become conscious of the insidious impact they have made to our lives to the benefit of  the banking industry and hopefully they will think before they swipe.  Do I really need to do this?

      Sounds like you are moving in the right direction. Cheers!

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 04:34:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Running a Home Biz The Cards Have Been Very (5+ / 0-)

    helpful for payments. We don't do enough gross to justify them for accepting payments so we let customers use PayPal if they want, and pay the fees themselves.

    We virtually always pay off all the balance. We're switching to the CU cards though which have no fees and much better interest just in case.

    We've always been huge believers though in not using the cards to borrow when you can get better rates from the mafia.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 04:51:59 AM PST

  •  identity thieft in 2010 caused me to stop (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, DRo, lgmcp, glorificus

    using a credit card.  i got the habit of cash and will not go back.  the cash back bonus was about $400 when i turned in the change from the piggie bucket.

  •  I've got something like $750 left on my last (0+ / 0-)

    credit card.  Once that's done, I have no debt.  That is, to speak of.  I could surprise some folks who have written off a couple of medical expenses, but I can do that when I have enough money.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 05:21:09 AM PST

  •  rental car (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, paulitics, DRo, lgmcp, glorificus

    Until I get out of school I have to travel a bit - that requires renting a car each month for two days.  You can rent a car with a debit card but they don't have car insurance coverage like a credit card does.   I could get coverage through the rental car company but it would double the cost of the rental.  We maintain one cc for this.

    We also use the credit card with "unknown" online vendors.  
    If they don't scam subsequent purchases are with a debit card.  

    The best I can manage at this time is to move the balance to a credit union cc.  

  •  Credit card advantages (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, lgmcp, glorificus

    You have greater protection against fraud with a credit card than with a debit card:

    Many credit unions and community banks offer credit cards.  My credit union credit card offers 3% rebate on gasoline purchases--10~12¢ off per gallon doesn't hurt too much.

    A good friend is a small merchant who complains to me about people buying low-margin sale items then using a credit card to pay.  I understand, and I usually use cash to buy from small merchants and checks for professional services (dentist, veterinarian, etc.)

  •  I couldn't vote in your poll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have credit cards - no annual fee ones, but they never have any balance on them. I use my debit card for living. But until I have a good reason to get rid of my credit cards, I'm keeping them for a rainy day. It' hasn't rained in years, but a deluge could come, and I might need quick cash.

    Sometimes there is so much writing, you need a bigger wall.

    by pucklady on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 08:31:15 AM PST

  •  I'll keep a credit card, thankyouverymuch, (0+ / 0-)

    because there ARE times when an unexpected vet bill or car repair would really, really disrupt things.   We never carry a balance for more than a few months, and it is a massive, massive convenience which we are well able to use without abusing.  


    I do plan to close the ones I have, and take out a new one offered by our full-service credit union.   Keep the money I occasionally pay for this convenience, right here in my own community.

    Yeah, we did Bank Transfer day, and within another month or two we'll have Mortgage Transfer and Credit Transfer too.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 09:02:59 AM PST

  •  My credit cards (0+ / 0-)

    are used for purchases where I would rather not use a pin, or have the money hold affect the debit account (like a hotel.)

    And since they're paid off every month, the card companies don't love me that much.

  •  On my list of things to do . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am planning on writing a letter to Marriott this week urging them to change banks on their credit card, and will share here when I do.

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