Confused Over Credit Card Choices?
Today’s mail brought more opportunities from credit card companies. I open them and I’m not just confused but curious, too. It isn’t long before I question whether the cards I already have are perhaps not quite good enough; maybe they aren’t offering the best perks. Should I switch? Or, is it better to tell myself these are mere temptations tugging at my emotions in hopes that I give in and open up more lines of credit? That depends.
What’s the deal? Why are we confused over credit card choices?
US Bank uses a catchy phrase: Life, Elevated
Discover card draws me in with its catchphrase: it is different and it’s here for you
Bank of America invites me to have: Prestige without the price
This is a small sampling of the mailings that come to me and most likely to you, too. The marketing idea is to capture a quick emotional response from potential cardholders. Credit lenders look to profit from our credit choices. They are fully aware that credit cards make life’s needs and wants more accessible. There’s no longer a need to wait for pay day or save for a major purchase. This is premeditated tempting at its best. People can find themselves mired in debt if they aren’t careful. Easy credit provides only a temporary way to live without want. Will we think through these offers or take the bait?
Will we let emotions rule our credit card spending?
It won’t do any harm to compare facts between cards. Is there an annual fee, or not? How long is the introductory interest (APR) rate in place? What is the cost of making a balance transfer? What penalty fees apply? Is there a foreign transaction fee? Always do the homework before opting in. Weigh both the upside and the downside carefully.
What would God have us do?
The question: What would God have us do with all those confusing credit card offers that fill our mailboxes? This is one question all of us should consider. I can’t answer for you. Many Bible verses lead me to believe God’s best for His people is to keep ourselves as free of debt as possible. I realize that some things, like a medical emergency or a sudden job loss, can arise and credit provides a way forward. But that’s not the same as choosing to live above our means because of easy access to credit cards.
Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
As for me, I fed all those confusing, tempting, credit card offers to my shredder. The credit cards I’m using right now are the same ones I’ve used for years. They are serving my needs just fine. For now I choose to be content with the perks I already enjoy and pass up the new marketing strategies of added bonus points, special offers, and TSA pre-check. I’ve made up my mind not to let the lenders get rich off of me by making sure I pay the bill monthly and don’t accumulate debt. The credit card purchases I make are made for convenience and not as a way to finance our lifestyle. In the long run, I think that is what God wants me to do.
Those confusing credit cards don’t have to lure us in
Just because the credit card offers come to our mailboxes doesn’t mean we need to lured into accepting them. We can choose wisely. Will we challenge ourselves to fight the temptation to go deeper into debt? For some, the best choice might be to shred before opening the envelope. For others, it might make sense to do the math and make a change. Pray for guidance, seek wise counsel, and be wary lest emotional decisions win out.