Lets face it, there is a real need to have a credit card these days. If for nothing else, we can use them to help establish our credit so that later we can make larger purchase such as a home, car, boat... Whatever. Credit can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use it.
Several years ago I was laid off from my current job. I got handed a pretty good deal on afterwards when I was given $10K to put towards a college education. After deciding what I wanted to go to college for (computer engineering) I spent the next couple of years in school. My wife worked various low paying jobs to support the family while I tried to better myself. I also worked part time at the school I was attending. Our combined income was very low. We often used the few credit cards we had to get us through rough times. We had no insurance on ourselves although the children did get medical insurance through the government during this time period. My wife got really ill a few times and we ended up with some medical bills that we were slowly paying off.
Once I got my degree, I ended up taking a full time job working at a local computer store. The pay wasn't great but it was better than what I had made in the past so I wasn't complaining. The company however, did not offer any form of health insurance. We had a couple more medical problems with bills develop and we could no longer keep our heads above water. With no where to turn (or so we thought) and no other options, we files chapter 7 bankruptcy. I vowed that from that point on I would pay all my bills on time. That I wouldn't take on more debt than I could handle. Within 3 months we got a couple of credit card offers and we thought it would be a good opportunity to start rebuilding our credit. They were mostly cards that required a savings account to be opened with the issuing credit card company. We got a few cards.
Fast forward a few years. I took a better paying job. The increased income and excellent payment history since the bankruptcy allowed us to purchase our first home. We even got a good rate for the time. Things were looking up. Three months after buying the house, one of the cars we had been driving for many years finally died. We decided to buy a newer-used car. We got our first actual car loan and bought a 4 year old car that was in good shape. We also got some more credit cards.
Fast forward a couple more years. The house is need of some repair. The car is in good shape and the cards are all at about 90% charged up. Still never made a late payment. In fact, the credit report shows a perfect history other than the bankruptcy. We are still able to make our monthly payments on time but we are unable to pay much more than the minimum due. This is where we are at present.
Now that I have learned from my experience of twice getting in over my head. I decide to fix the problem. Since I can't really increase what I am earning at the moment. Obviously, the house and the car are a must have as well as the payments that come with them. So I start looking at my credit cards. These are the most expensive debt that we have. With nine credit cards between us and the lowest interest rate being 16.05% and highest being 24.70% it's pretty easy to see why we can't get ahead.
While I blame myself for getting into this debt, I blame the credit card companies for KEEPING my down. For instance:
PROVIDIAN: Providian was the first company to give us a card after our bankruptcy. Over a year they gave us three of them. The rates varied between 21%-23.99% I realized that this was really high at the time but I wanted to start rebuilding my credit so we took them. Let's face it, 23.99% represents an enormous amount a greed by Providian. To make matters worse, about six months ago, for absolutely no reason other than their own greed, Providian tried to raise the rates on all three cards to 29%. This after a PERFECT payment history with them. I tried to argue with them but they didn't care about anything except raping me for more money. I told them to close the accounts so my rate would get locked at the old rate. I now owe them a ton of money and no way out.
CAPITAL ONE: We also have three cards with Capital One. Our Capital One rates when we got them varied between 16.05%-17.90% While these rates are still not very good, they are much better than the rates Providian gave us. We have been with Capital One for several years now. All of the sudden, they decide that they are not greedy enough and that they too are going to raise my rate. They want to make it 25.9% Once again, we have a PERFECT payment history. I will be closing these account the same way I did with the Providian accounts. What's funny about Capital One is that they are the ones running commercials on TV talking about how they don't do this kind of crap. Capital One is full of shit, they WILL screw you if you give them the chance.
So, what do Providian & Capital One have in common. It's the fact that they are ruthlessly greedy. The fact that they have NO loyalty to their customers. The fact that they don't give a damn if you have never missed a payment or made a late payment, they are going to rape you financially with guilt or care. If you are thinking about doing business with one of these companies, do yourself and your pocketbook a favor and look elsewhere.