We cannot live without our credit cards, true. But still, don’t they drive you crazy sometimes? I personally have a list of four credit card gripes. Check them out and see if any of them rise to the level of full-fledged grievances for you too.
Credit Card Gripe 1: Unwanted Solicitations for More Cards
Stop! Stop in the name of love or at the very least, my hard-earned creditworthiness. I do not need or desire another credit card. Visa. Master Card. American Express. Leave me alone. I don’t care if it’s pre-approved! I don’t care about the benefits and perks! Thanks, but no thanks. Just go away!
And while you’re at it: Don’t send another credit card offer to Olga Wellinghoff. Yes, she resides at my house. But my five-year-old Labrador Retriever is decidedly not creditworthy. I won’t trust her with an unattended steak on the dining room table, no less a credit or debit card. Give her a charge card and she’ll soon be barking orders for Omaha steak deliveries like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, she’s probably already got Petco on speed paw dial!
Credit Card Factoid: there were 374 million open credit card accounts in the U.S. as of mid-2019, according to the American Bankers Association.
Credit Card Gripe 2: Unrequested Increases
Again, I shout “Stop.” The first few times this happened — in my way distant youth — I was flattered. “See,” I thought to myself, “I’m so cool.” I immediately went out and shopped ‘til I dropped. Then the credit card statement came and truly I did drop! I realized it was a version of a scam. I quickly learned that if you can’t pay for something right away, you shouldn’t buy it. Those first, unasked-for-credit-limit increases and spending sprees were painful, costly lessons. Thankfully, I learned my lesson and I’ve lived long enough to become credit card debt savvy.
Credit Card Gripe 3: Too Long Numbers
Quiz me and I can tell you my phone number from when I was 10-years-old. But my credit card number? Forget about it! That number is impossibly long and way too hard to remember. Each time I need to copy it down or recite it for a purchase, I go blank. I guess three times and then have to hoist myself up from the desk or couch to get it.
And usually, finding my card entails a mad, multi-minute hunt for my pocketbook and wallet. By the time I straighten up random out-of-place items along the way and find my glasses (on the top of my head, of course), I’ve forgotten why I’ve gotten up and so, …
I can always remember the expiration date of my card and that other little number, but that blasted long number itself? No way. Even when I was young and my mind was nimble, I couldn’t remember it. Now that I’m older, it is even more of a lost — and frustrating — cause.
The number is not only too long to remember, but it’s also too long to fit in that teeny-tiny “memo” space on a check. So, writing it in there frequently spills over to the signature line, which makes for heedless worry about whether my check will be signature rejected.
Credit Card Gripe 4: Long, but also Small
The number’s not just long, but it’s also printed in such small lettering on the monthly credit card statement that I cannot read it. Each month, I strain and squint, curse, and cry trying to read the number — and that’s with my reading glasses on! I frequently need to pull out a magnifying glass. That’s a lot of effort just to have the “privilege” of paying my bill!
Oh, and all that happens after I’ve played the “Where’s Waldo” game of finding the number, which is a challenge because the number is often displayed in some random place on the bill, a practice whose logic I have yet to understand.
Still, where would we be without our credit cards? Writing checks? Don’t get me started about how I feel about checks!
OK. Ask Me About Checks
As you might have already surmised, I am math-challenged. When I was younger, I struggled to balance my checkbook. As a workaround, I always rounded purchase amounts off and crossed my fingers there was enough money in my account to cover my bills. Lucky for me, the bank manager was a friend of my father’s. If I was in danger of running low on funds, Mr. M. would call me and in a warm, but stern avuncular voice, say, “Little Karen, you need to transfer money from your savings account to checking, pronto!” And believe you me, when a man with a British accent says “pronto,” you know there’s an urgency that cannot be ignored!
So, Does This Mean the Problem is ME?
Hum, laments about credit cards. Laments about checking accounts. Maybe the problem isn’t the systems or “the man.” Egads, it seems the problem is me. I guess it doesn’t take a math genius to figure that out, although in my case it took an entire lifetime and this blog to do so!