Credit Cards are Not EvilI wrote a post over at Sprout Wealth today titled “Why Credit Cards are Not Evil.”  I really do believe this statement.  Though everyone is surely entitled to their opinion, I have lived through credit card debt.  I have played the game, yet I don’t blame the credit card for any of my problems.  I got into the credit card game and I played the game wrong.  I used my credit cards in ways that they weren’t supposed to be used and I paid the price.  My credit card debt cost me four years of hard work and cutting back, but I got out of it.  I never once blamed my credit card debt on anyone else, but myself.  It wasn’t the credit card companies fault for giving me the credit limit they did.  It was my fault for using all they gave me.  I am just asking people to stop blaming credit cards for your debt!

I have always been honest here on Debt Roundup. That is what I am all about.  My readers have seen what my life is about and how I handle things.  I have been reading stories here and there and talking to people about credit card debt.  One main sticking point that I hear is typically how the credit card company screwed this person or that person.  How the credit card allowed them to rack up enormous amounts of debt.  This deflecting of blame onto an object just irritates me.  You can’t blame a credit card for your problems.  It didn’t do it.  It doesn’t just jump out of your wallet and scan itself at the cash register.  It doesn’t just decide to not pay itself off each month and float balances.  A credit card is just a tool in your financial toolbox. It is entirely up to you on how you use it.



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  1. I really hate it when people blame credit cards because of their huge debt amount! This would only show how irresponsible they are, credit card owners are responsible how they would handle what they purchases.

  2. While I totally agree with you that the credit cards are not evil, I do think that they change my own thinking about my money when I’m using them. I took a year off from using credit cards and my finances were much easier to accurately track. I’m using them again now (for the rewards) and there’s definitely a difference in my mindset!

    1. That is good that you see that. They can change people’s mindsets about money, but that is just a personal thing. They used to do that to me. Now I understand how to use them and understand my spending. I don’t make the same decisions with them as I used to. I don’t use them anymore than I would my debit card or cash.

  3. I’m all for the individual making good micro choices; however, credit card companies have spent years and billions to understand human behavior and to exploit it. To lay blame on just the individual may be a little unrealistic. The credit card companies want customers who carry balances. They will work to create these customers.

    1. You comment makes me sad Sam. You are now saying that it should be unrealistic that we think people should be responsible for their choices? Really? No one makes you use a credit card. No one makes you get a credit card. Yes, a credit card company does send you an offer, but who makes the choice to apply for the card? You! You make the choice to get into a relationship with a credit card company. We have now been reduced to just accepting that the average consumer can’t make good choices and shouldn’t be responsible for those choices? I don’t buy it!

  4. Are credit cards evil? Nope. Are they misunderstood and overused? YES.

    Using a rewards card and paying the balance promptly can be a great way to get a little extra out of your money. But they should never, NEVER be used as an emergency fund, which a startling amount of “experts” merrily advise.

    Why not? Because of the interest rates. If you are unemployed and looking for work, the last thing you need is for your groceries to cost an additional 19%.

    I think that is mostly why you’ll see the “Credit Cards are evil” comments out there. Someone like you or your readers, who have their ducks in a row and are very financially literate will obviously use a credit card to their advantage. Someone who hasn’t had it explained (or found it out the hard way) has a much higher chance of using a credit card in the way that the credit card companies encourage – pay the minimum and carry a balance. Credit Cards are a product that is designed to take advantage of the user’s ignorance; certainly not illegal, but not very kind.

    While I have a credit card and use it (cash back is a lovely thing!), I can understand the sentiment.

    1. I agree they are misunderstood and overused. I am one that does not advocate using a credit card as an emergency fund. That is crazy. Since I used to be in a lot of credit card debt, I know how people feel. The one thing I didn’t do was blame the credit card. I didn’t blame the tool for my problem. I was not always financially literate. It took me falling on my face and then figuring out how to get back up. I know why credit cards are around, but the individual is still responsible for if they use them and how they use them.

  5. You’re right–there’s nothing inherently good or bad about that little plastic rectangle. Some people though need to recognize that, for whatever reason, they’re not able to handle a credit card account without getting into financial trouble. Those folks I think should work to understand why they run up credit card balances and do their best to become a responsible user. But in the meantime might be best for these people to have one card with a $500 limit.

  6. Good point. The credit cards are just a tool. The debt problems come from the behavior of the person that used the cards to wrack up the debt. That behavior is what must be addressed to get out of that mess. Taking away the tools is not ‘the solution’

  7. Grayson…you rock! It really bothers me when people blame a small piece of plastic that can make no decisions on its own for their problems! I’m going to have to go check your post out!

  8. I got myself into credit card debt. The card, nor the issuer’s policies or rules had anything to do with it. It was my ignorant approach and attitude towards money and myself that did me in. Once I figured out how to fix the problem…which was me…I got to business and became debt free. I now use credit very responsibly and get to benefit from all the rewards/privileges that it offers without paying one penny of interest. So to put blame on the credit card issuers is wrong. Just because you’re offered a $25K line of credit does NOT mean you have to accept it and then go max it out without a plan to pay it off before the due date. The same argument can be made of mortgages.

  9. I agree with you 100% that we can’t blame credit cards for our debt. We all know what a credit card is and how to use it. Many people just make excuses as to why they need to use and how they will pay for that bill and continue to do it not realizing that you have to pay it in full or more than the itty bitty monthly payment which makes credit card companies rich. It’s time to take responsibility for our debt and trash the excuses. Mr.CBB 🙂

  10. It’s all about choices. Credit card companies don’t remove choices from your life. They just give you a tool to make more bad choices than you can with just straight cash. If you can’t handle it, don’t play the game. But everyone should get to a point when handling their money to be able to use a credit card responsibly, and even take advantage of the freebies. If you’re not there yet, don’t worry. Just keep rocking your budget and build good financial habits. You’ll get there 🙂

  11. Great post! When I was in credit card debt, I could have easily blamed the credit cards. But I took a look within and realized it was me that had the problem. I was depressed and buying things I couldn’t afford gave me a “high” that I liked. Unfortunately, the high wore off quickly which meant I had to buy more and more things, faster and faster.

    Once I had my “ah-ha” moment, I was able to take control of my spending and start digging myself out of debt.

  12. I think people blame credit cards for their debt problems because it’s always easier to place the blame on someone or in this case, something else, rather than yourself. People don’t want to admit they’ve made mistakes due to lack of foresight, planning, discipline, etc. However, we all make mistakes, myself included. The main thing is that we learn from them, move on and try not to make the same mistake again, if possible.

    With credit cards, you should use them, rather than abuse them or you end up dealing with the consequences.

  13. Grayson,
    I can’t agree with you more. Credit Cards and the associated companies, are not evil. They’re a business out to make money just like anyone else. But I view credit cards like a tool or perhaps even a vehicle to help you get somewhere financially. It’s like a car, which also is a tool to get you somewhere. But if you drive 100 miles an hour and are reckless and then wreck your car, it’s not the car’s fault or the manufacturer of the car. You were irresponsible. I sort of view credit cards like this, as long as you stay in control they’re a great asset to have. Anyway, thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.

  14. Credit cards can be used foolishly or wisely, but here’s a fact: Credit card companies profit from those who are stuck on the minimum payment treadmill. And their massive effort to market debt must be seen in light of this fact. I don’t see credit card companies as neutral businesses simply out to make an honest profit; I see them as having a negative impact on society.

  15. You ever notice on tv, every other commercial is credit cards or drug companies. Why? Because these 2 fields of business or so incredibly wealthy. Do you think they got this way by being honest and ethical? The message in credit card advertising is not “convenience”, they lead you to believe that you cant live a normal life without it. Why are college kids with no job and no income bombarded with credit card applications? The whole purpose of credit cards is to entice you to spend more money than what you really have.

    1. That is what advertising does. That is what ever ad does. It entices you to buy. Does it force you to buy? No! The consumer is still responsible for their own actions. While there are tools that allow you to overspend, it doesn’t matter. If you know how to manage your money, then credit cards are an incredible tool. Trust me, I have been on both sides of the coin. I see the matter from both perspectives. I have never said credit card companies are ethical, but they are within their legal right. If you want that to change, you have to go to the government.

  16. You know why people say credit cards are evil? Because people such as Dave Ramsey exist.

    1. True, but I can’t imagine Dave doesn’t use credit to fund his business. It’s so big, there is no way he (or someone in his organization) doesn’t use credit or debt in some form for business purposes.