Credit: A Necessary Evil

Lately, I’ve been researching credit cards and companies because my credit file is nearly non-existent. As much as that sucks because it makes some things harder, I think I’d rather put up with the lack of credit than deal with a credit card.

From what I’ve found, most of these companies are terrible, especially big ones like Capital One, which was full of reviews about how their customer service sucks and they’re terrible at handling fraud. I’ve had my debit card receive fraudulent charges before, so knowing how that would be handled is very important. Thankfully, it’s only happened twice, and each time, I was not held accountable for the charges and the matter was rectified immediately. Hell will freeze over before I do business with any company that would hold me responsible for something that isn’t my fault.

Aside from bad experiences, some of the requirements for these cards sound dangerous. Since my credit is close to none, I could only ever have a secured credit card, which apparently requires a deposit of up to $300. Which does make sense, but worries me for the sole fact that money is no longer mine. Apparently, if you miss even one payment, no matter how small, the company will run off with your deposit. That means the only way to ensure I don’t ever forget the bill is to use automatic payment, and I am not by any means allowing a company I have no trust in at the moment into my bank accounts (if they haven’t already gotten into them, considering a social security number is required to apply for these cards). The only company I have auto-pay set up with is my cell phone provider, and I didn’t even permit that until I’d been with them for at least two years. Also, the only way you get your deposit back (if they don’t run off with it, that is) is if you cancel the card… which will badly affect your credit score. How does that not sound like a trap? “You have to give us your money, but if you leave us, we’ll still damage you.” In short, either way, I’d be backed into a corner and screwed. The choices are stay with this credit company for life, even if I’m not satisfied with them, or take a hit because I dare to leave them. Sounds like an abusive relationship. At this point, I wouldn’t even want an unsecured one, though it’s not like the difference matters to me anyway.

The newest thing I’ve read is spending too much of your credit limit will harm your credit score. I have no intention of making large purchases on credit, but that’s besides the point. The point is you’ll be penalized for spending outside of your credit limit, but also penalized just for getting close to it. Why even have the limit? The point of a limit is “you can’t cross this line”, not “you can’t get this close to this line”. Yet on the flip side, I read about experiences where the credit company unknowingly closed the user’s card for spending too little. So, let’s get this straight. You can’t overspend (which makes perfect sense), you can’t spend too much within the limit, and you can’t spend too far away from the limit. I repeat: How does this not sound like a trap?

On top of that, those negative hits remain on your credit history for seven years. So, if I cancel one credit card to go to another, that first card is still badly affecting my score for over half of a decade later, no matter how well I’m doing with my current card. Or I miss one payment, but never miss another, and that one missed payment is still biting me in the behind for years to come. No times one thousand. Even my job isn’t that unforgiving, and they pay me!

The bottom line is I’d rather continue what I’m doing and stay as far away from credit cards as possible. Yes, I know having no credit history will make some things harder, but I’m not sure making a few things easier is worth trapping myself.

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