That’s right. Old faithful, my one remaining credit card has been axed and cancelled. (Can you tell I like cutting up plastic?) While this wasn’t my first credit card, I have had the thing since my sophomore year in college, and I haven’t been without an active credit card account in my entire adult life.
So, I wanted to talk a little bit about why I made the decision and how I’m addressing any concerns that I may have because of it.
*ahem* It was a dark and stormy night here in the hills of Tennessee. 🙂 As rain pelted my windows, I sat at my desk reading articles on LearnVest.com. A few of them had to do with credit scores and why it was so SOO important, and as I was reading these stories about people obsessed with having the highest credit score possible, as someone who has had a high credit score, I just found myself overwhelming annoyed.
They want to pay off their credit card debt so they can improve their scores and get (hold on to your pants)….approved for more debt. Car loans. Personal loans. “Better” credit cards. In fact, that’s THE reason these articles were telling people to suck face with Fico: “How are you going to get approved for a car loan with good terms,” the articles said. “It’s super important to have a high Fico score so you can get favorable terms on another credit card or a line of credit one day.”
And why are people taking out lines of credit and financing cars? Because they’re broke.
You know who needs a high Fico Score? Freaking broke people.
Sure, I’m not swimming in cash, but being debt-free except for my house has one big huge advantage: I’m not broke. Why did I need to worry about my credit score for? I didn’t want another credit card. I didn’t want a loan. I don’t finance cars. I already have a mortgage – not only is that good enough to get another one, even if I didn’t, I could get a mortgage without a credit score. Why did I freaking care?!
Turns out, I don’t care – I just like obsessing about stuff. o_O
I don’t think credit cards are evil incarnate, and I’m not mad at Citi Card – the purveyor of the late Old Faithful. There is just no reason to have it. I hear Dave Ramsey saying to people on his radio show sometimes, “Cancel the card! Why do you care if your credit score goes down?” And I would think, “Sure, that’s easy for you to say, you can afford to pay for things. What are us regular people supposed to do?”
That night though, something about those articles really rubbed me the wrong way. And this, folks, is where I had a realization: As long as I play around with credit cards, I’m supporting a system that pushes debt on people and rewards you for being in debt. And I don’t want to support that. Debt is for broke people, and since I don’t ever want to be broke people again, I have to stop doing broke people stuff. Playing with debt and credit scores is not a path to success. It only creates dependency on a product that helps people ruin their lives. The sooner I break the chains and free myself, the better.
Turns out, Dave Ramsey is right. And I only need to look to my own experience for further proof. While I was confident that would never happen again, the only way to guarantee it is to get rid of the card.
So, here I was sitting, reading these stupid articles, and I thought to myself, “Why on earth do I still have that credit card?”
The only things I was really concerned about was renting a car, my insurance going up, and what I would do if there is fraud on my debit card and I have to wait 5 to 10 days for a replacement.
When it comes to renting a car, people rent cars with their debit cards all the time, for one. And for two, when do I ever freaking rent a car? Once in my life so far. After doing some research on it, I’m sure it won’t be a problem, but I’ll deal with that bridge when I cross it.
As far as insurance is concerned, insurance companies have their own score, based some on your regular credit report, but also on your claim history. That isn’t a reason to keep a credit card. It’s true my insurance premiums with my old company went up when I first axed the bulk of my credit cards. I did worry about it for a time, but that is exactly what makes me so sick about the credit scoring system. I was being punished for being more responsible with money because that doesn’t profit the bank. The company I’m with now isn’t supposed to do stuff like this, but if for some reason it does happen again, I can afford to absorb the blow. That or I can leave. I pay my entire premiums off in full. I’ve never made a claim or missed a payment or paid late. If they go up on me because my credit score drops and I can’t talk them back down, it’s not hard to find a replacement.
Finally, as to waiting for a replacement debit card – for starters, I have an ATM card. I think I can survive a few days without buying something online (said with much sarcasm). Second, I decided to open a backup account online, and it comes with its very own debit card so I have plastic to buy things with if I can’t wait 5 freaking days.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make. I went back and forth on it for about 6 months, and the only reason I wanted to keep it was for my credit score. The truth is, I hadn’t been using it, and if you don’t use it, it doesn’t help your score anyway. Also, I don’t like charging stuff and then having to pay it off. It seems silly when I have the money to pay for it right in front of my face. Cut out the middle man.
So…there’s that. The cord is severed. I feel rather breezy and relieved – not at all anxious like I thought I would be. I’ve been waiting to feel comfortable enough to cut the cord, but perhaps what I’ve been needing is just to take the plunge. If anything exciting or terrible happens as a result of living without a credit card, I’ll let you know. 🙂