Some Thoughts On Credit Card Addiction

I was doing some research into cash back credit cards one day and came across the myFico forums. For anyone who doesn’t know, myFico is site that will give your Fico Scores and Credit Reports across Transunion, Experian, and Equifax for a not so low monthly fee. The forums are full of people asking for advice, but the most interesting part of the forum, for me, are the people who are addicted to “apping.”

They seek approvals like earth worms seek out soil. And when they’re maxed out on approvals and wracked up 20+ inquiries across the board, they move on to getting the highest credit limits that they can. You have people bringing in 25k a year who have 100k+ in unsecured credit. These same people want a pat on the back for only carrying a 10% balance across their cards. That’s $10,000 in debt. THAT’S CRAZY!

There are people on there sporting a $10k limit on a JCPenney store card. Why on earth does someone need a $10k limit with JCPenney?!

I see now why people like Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard never run out of people to talk to. People are CLUELESS, and they pass this cluelessness on their children. It’s very, very sad.

Through lurking on the forums, I found out that our dear old Bank of America sometimes offers people “secured” credit cards who have 750+ Fico scores and other credit cards with $10k limits. And people, the stupid ones, accept that piece of crap product and not only thank Bank of America for insulting them, but they also let them hold $99 for a year AND pay them a non-refundable annual fee of $39 for the “privilege” of carrying around a card with a $500 limit.

It’s truly disgusting, and it reminds me of why I cancelled all of my cards in the first place. I don’t think using a credit card is dumb, if it’s paid in full every month. I also don’t think doing business with Bank of America in some capacity is dumb, if someone wants to put up with them. But taking a secured credit card when you have other options just so you can “get in” with a financial institution that gives you nothing you can’t get elsewhere? That is pure deep-fried stupid.

People post happy stories about getting their cards un-secured after 12 months, and the rep on the phone is all, “Congratulations on your rebuilding!” when the person never wrecked their credit to begin with. It’s insulting. It reminds me of why I stopped banking with them. Merrill Lynch (their investing affiliate) didn’t want anything to do with me until I was a “preferred customer.” I was offended. Not because I wanted to move my pitiful investments over – because they didn’t contact me when they were supposed to. Their timing was poor at best and suspect at worst.

I remember the time I had a credit card with a $15k limit. It freaked me out. I never went over $5k, but it still freaked me out. It wouldn’t freak me out now. Times have changed. But I don’t understand why so many people go out seeking a super high limit. The vast majority of people don’t even come close to charging that much on one a month, let alone several cards.

It’s almost like a “bragging” thing. “I have a credit card with a $25k limit, aren’t I a #boss?” Um, no.

No wonder we have a debt problem in this country. Student loans are passed out like candy, car loans aren’t treated like debt at all, and credit card companies are more than happy to “reward” “responsible users” with tens of thousands of dollars in unsecured credit. The number of people on the forum with more than 100k across 15+ credit cards is horrifying. Financial people say the average income in America is $48k. This is not healthy.

Now, most people in this country don’t have that many cards or that much credit. The myFico forums seem to breed a certain kind of crazy. And still, not everyone on the forums are crazy like that. But it’s so bad, some people actually have other people on the forum telling them to cool off and “sit on their hands and stop apping.”

The psychology behind this mindset is interesting.

Hi ^_^