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Do you have a credit card?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 11, 2008

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Photo of Martez Trotter

“No, that’s trouble. A lot of my friends have them, and they’re all in debt. Every time I get a preapproved offer in the mail, I throw it away.”

Photo of Jill Williams

“No, I don’t. I don’t need one. It just seems unnecessary at this point.”

Photo of Quinn Wasson

“I’m getting one soon because I’m moving to New York in a couple of weeks, so I’m getting one to make essential purchases, like plane tickets home.”

Photo of Kendra Verhage

“I have a debit card, but no credit card. I’m afraid I might go crazy with it if I had one. I’m not all that good with money, so I don’t need any more trouble.”

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nobody1793 9 years ago

You bet. I pay it off every month, have built up a good credit history, and am soon flying for free to a nice tropical location using the credit card miles I racked up. Yup, a credit card is a lot of trouble.

Ceallach 9 years ago

Aye, I do, but I no longer carry them with me. Many must have items become less important if I have to drive home to get the card and then drive back to the store.inatux, my daughter just had a terrible experience with Enterprise (Olathe location). She too used her debit card. As allowed, she returned the car on Sunday and went back to their office after work on Monday. Due to what they called "entry errors" they had drawn an additional $280 dollars from her checking account. No one there at the time could change it. She now has the money back but it took almost a week (and a conversation with the branch manager) to get the job done.

woodenfleaeater 9 years ago

I may use my rewards for Wakarusa next year!!!

PapaB 9 years ago

"Yep. All credit gets paid off at the end of the month. It makes monthly book keeping much easier than writing tons of checks."I agree 100%. I never carry a blance and use my credit card for all my purchases. I also make about $400-500/yr off it in rewards and I've never paid any interest.

inatux 9 years ago

Sigmund,Student and auto loans do the same thing without having to give in to the credit card industry.

jonas 9 years ago

"LOLLL"Laughing out loud loud loud? Laughing out loud laughing loudly? Laughing out loud like lunatics?Or did you actually say Lowellll?

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

I'll echo the other sensible people here: I have one, but I don't carry a balance. Credit cards themselves aren't evil, but they allow for a bit more trouble if you don't have the restraint and discipline not to spend more than you have.

inatux 9 years ago

diminear60 (and Quinn) don't know what they're talking about.I get hotel rooms and plane tickets all the time with my Visa debit card. "almost impossible" is incorrect.However, I'll say that renting a car is a bit harder. Not "impossible," but more difficult. Been credit card free for two years now and couldn't be happier!

kujayhawk 9 years ago

Absolutely, and I get 5% back on all gas, grocery and dining purchases.

guesswho 9 years ago

Sigmund-Credit card companies charge merchants a percentage of each transaction - I don't know what it is (between 2-6%?) maybe more, it may depend on the volume of business. The consumers don't pay (except maybe in terms of higher prices). But, it is a cost of doing business - merchants have to either pay these fees, or a certain percentage of bad checks, or extra security in guarding cash transactions.I, too, pay off my card each month in full and use rewards for trips, etc. Do I spend a bit more then if I were paying cash for everything; probably.

inatux 9 years ago

A credit card history, or a credit history? Two very different things.

dminear60 9 years ago

Yes of course. It is almost impossible to book a flight, rent a car, or reserve a hotel room without a credit card. But, we do not use our credit cards for every day purchases.

trinity 9 years ago

nope, not any more....they got tired of givin' them to me&me never paying them off. ;) haven't had a credit card for a very long time! :)

Sigmund 9 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ms_canada 9 years ago

You bet! and I use for every purchase I make. Even theatre tickets. Why? because I get those wonderful reward points. I have traveled to California to see my sister three times and only paid about $100 in taxes. I do not carry any money with me, well only a wee bit. I pay if off every month on line. I have even used my card to pay part of a car purchase for my husband and I pay the grandsons university tuition and books. I always pay the restaurant bill when we eat out. So I wrack up quite a total in reward points. Actually, it is my husband who pays it off each month via checki to me. But I am a cautious buyer, I only buy what I need. I have never been a spendthrift. so it works out good for me. But I believe they can be a hazard for some folk.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Jill is so sweet, if she were cereal I would eat her straight out of the box.

inatux 9 years ago

Or, there are banks that still do manual underwriting which look at your actual financial health rather than your credit history.From the fallout of the housing crisis, I'll wager we see more traditional lending practices in the years to come.

Ceallach 9 years ago

inatux, I was commenting on the time involved and trouble she had to go through before her money was returned. Many young people are not able to carry a hefty "pad" in their checking account as protection against business fraud. In processing her contract they accidently entered the wrong pick up day, then accidently entered the wrong return day, and just for good measure - - accidently charged more for the extra days than the amount in her agreement. She had to battle her way through 2 assistant managers (each promising to check it out and call her back) and only reached the manager when she threatened to come into the office and wait for the corrections while discussing the errors in front of other customers.

dminear60 9 years ago

Ceallach: I had a similar experience and it was a mess getting it straight. The hotel put a hold for the total amount of my stay plus an additional $200 on my checking account. Inatux: when you have to wait to be reimbursed for business travel, a credit card is the only way to go.

guesswho 9 years ago

Credit card companies really don't hate you -they win either way - either in interest and/or a percentage of sales that you charge each month. It is amazing how now some vending machines will take credit cards as do most fast food places; that was unheard of 10 years ago.

Sigmund 9 years ago

inatux (Anonymous) says: "A credit card history, or a credit history? Two very different things."Very very true, still credit cards and their history is a large part of most peoples total credit history. If you already bought a home or bought a car on credit you might be fine. Everyone else should get ONE credit card (with no annual fee) charge on it occasionally and pay it off in the first month. Do that for a year and if you have the income to support it you will likely qualify for a decent home loan. Have the income but no credit history, forget about it.

jonas 9 years ago

Hmmm. . . . . wonder if tomorrow's question will be: "If you answered yes to Monday's question, then what's the account number and security code on the back?"

Sigmund 9 years ago

Try getting a home loan without having a credit card history, really try.

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

I wish I was as perfect as ontheotherhand....bummer.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

I didn't for a while, but I do now. Hope to pay it off soon.

woodenfleaeater 9 years ago

ontheotherhand: Can you give us some more insightful info?

Fangorn 9 years ago

Too bloody many of them. Overuse during a 19-mo. period of unemployment put us in a (deeper) hole. We're currently moving in the right direction, though. :)btw, what did I miss this morning?! Two comments removed? Must have been a contentious morning. Maybe they should switch to decaf?

BigPrune 9 years ago

Yes, but cash is much better. If you can't afford something then don't buy it, I always say.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) says:"Like Ben Stein..he has lots of cards, uses them for everything and pays them all off each month. He states, The credit card companies Hate Me!"Lots of cards doesn't begin to touch it, several hundreds if I remember.

woodenfleaeater 9 years ago

Of course I do. How else would I get all the other stuff I can't afford? And I'm not worried, if I get in over my head I'll just file bankruptcy and start the process over again. Isn't that what they want you to do?

inatux 9 years ago

@Cellach and @dminear60,In both cases, if you had the money in your bank account, then there would be no reason to sweat it, right?Personally, I refuse to support the credit card industry because of their unfair and predatory practices. If you want to, knock yourself out.For some more great info on this topic, check out the documentary "Maxed Out," and the PBS/Frontline show "The Secret History of the Credit Card."And check out this nifty story in U.S. News last week:

Alison Roberts 9 years ago

I dont have a credit card and its not hard to rent a car at all... youre just going to the wrong place. Rent from Avis, they are great. The guy here in town is super nice. And I havent had a CC in a long time either... too many problems--that were my own fault and Im still paying them off. But yeah.. I have a visa debit card from my bank (linked to my checking) as many other people do. Never had a problem using that for my rentals.

Sigmund 9 years ago

inatux (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund, Student and auto loans do the same thing without having to give in to the credit card industry."Giving in? Never paid a dime of interest, never paid a annual fee, and I use it on big purchases to get cash back and protection against unscrupulous retailers who won't honor their agreement or who send me a defective product. Excuse me but the credit card company is MY bitch!They can be your bitch as well. Use them and abuse them. They know they deserve it."The Secret History of Credit Cards," PBS, Frontline

ontheotherhand 9 years ago

inatux is correct that you can establish credit with bank, student, and auto loans. I have paid off all three several times (lots of cars and student loans) and let me tell you: your credit score soars when you pay off things. The trouble is, paying off these types of loans takes a long time so in the meantime, making monthly payments to credit cards shows that you know how to pay your debts.Based on my experience (which has worked well for me because my credit score is 839, which is highly unusual), I would never ever ever ever ever use my debit card for online payments or restaurants or plane tickets or any place where a desperate person can lift and then anonymously use my debit card number. You are much more protected by using credit cards. The secret is to pay them off each month. In this case, it seems to me like I am screwing them instead of them screwing me since they do not make a penny off me. If someone uses my credit card illegally, I can refuse to pay it. If my bank account get wipes out, I will have to expend more energy than I want in order to get my money back. Totally not worth it.In these days of credit cards getting stolen at a constant rate, I try to use only one card to prevent a lot of headaches. When you have good credit, your credit limits soar to crazy amounts so you only need one card. Again, I would rather have a credit card number stolen than a debit card number. Good luck with your credit, everyone!

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Yep. All credit gets paid off at the end of the month. It makes monthly book keeping much easier than writing tons of checks. I'm glad to see that the young people up top do not have credit cards (yet). I personally think it should be illegal for credit card pushers to be on campus. It really sets a lot of kids up for trouble.

Sigmund 9 years ago

guesswho (Anonymous) says:"Credit card companies really don't hate you -they win either way - either in interest and/or a percentage of sales that you charge each month. ?"I don't pay interest or annual fee and yet get the convenience (try and rent a car without one), I win. I don't pay more for a purchase to use my card, but get an extended warranty and the credit card company will reverse the charge if I return defective products as opposed to trying to get money back from the seller, I win. I get cash back on large purchases, I win.Yeah the credit card companies love me that is why they call me and those that DON'T use the revolving credit and DON'T pay interest, "Dead Beats!" But don't trust me, I know nothing really. Seriously, I don't have a penny to my name.

gphawk89 9 years ago

Yes. I pay off the entire bill each month. Bills (gas, electricity, phone, cable, trash, water, cellphone, sewer) are linked to the card and paid automatically each month. Personal property taxes, real estate taxes, and insurance are paid online using the card. Most electronics purchases are made online using the card. All airline, hotel, and car rental reservations are made online using the card. All gasoline purchases are paid at the pump using the card. All grocery and department store purchases are made with the card. All prescription drugs are purchased online using the card. I rarely write a check nowadays, maybe one every three months. And I just got a $500 air compressor using rewards points from said purchases.

Sigmund 9 years ago

guesswho (Anonymous) says:"Sigmund- Credit card companies charge merchants a percentage of each transaction - I don't know what it is (between 2-6%?) maybe more, it may depend on the volume of business."Yes I know. My having a card or not does not impact that relationship.guesswho (Anonymous) says: "The consumers don't pay (except maybe in terms of higher prices). But, it is a cost of doing business - merchants have to either pay these fees, or a certain percentage of bad checks, or extra security in guarding cash transactions."Which is my point and very few businesses offer discounts for cash. Those that do I certainly will take advantage of. Still most businesses choose to pay that fee and charge the same amount regardless if I use a credit card or not. That relationship and the prices and margins of retailers are out of my control. Using a credit card and never using the revolving credit line and never paying interest does me no harm and in many ways benefits me. See my posts above.Credit cards are not evil, they can be a great tool. People's misuse of credit cards is the problem, too easy to blame the companies and not the individual who abuses them.

George_Braziller 9 years ago

Had one about 20 years ago until I got a $30 penalty because I underpaid by $1.50 on a $45 charge. Then got charged another $30 the next month because I didn't pay off the 65 cent balance. Cut that sucker up really fast. Haven't had a credit card since.

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