Photo: Phoebe Stein
Angry consumers have been fleeing big banks in droves and calling for change to Obama’s CARD act for some time now. And with good reason: Last November, Chase and Bank of America ate their fair share of crow for rolling out $5 monthly debit fees, spurring a National Bank Transfer Day.
Plus just last week, stay-at-home parents petitioned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to review a clause in the CARD making it hard for them to get credit.
But despite all this, one expert says the real reason our finances are headed South has little to do with demonic big banks and everything to do with us. Our spending habits are to blame, said John Ulzheimer of SmartCredit.com, and it’s on us to get them on track.
“A lot of people have denounced the credit lifestyle because they couldn’t handle the lifestyle,” Ulzheimer said in an interview.
“You have tens of millions of people who manage their credit cards perfectly fine, then look at the others and are confused about why they’re against credit cards. The fact is, the ones who are against them can’t handle them properly.”
As much as banks have had a hand in our debt and the recession at large, some people just can’t seem to put the blame where it belongs.
Here are a few reasons why:
-We carry a revolving balance and can’t commit to paying off more than the minimum each month
-We don’t budget for one-time events like New Year’s Eve dinner and charge them
-We don’t take the time to research which products are good and bad
“We focus on the bad stuff in the news—when it bleeds, it leads—but we forget to talk about all the good things that can happen because we use credit cards,” Ulzheimer continued.
Don’t forget that little piece of plastic builds a history so you can take out a mortgage, finance a car, fund a dream trip to Tahiti, and get rewarded for flying on top of it.
“There’s a cost involved with doing business with people who are risky,” he added. “So if it seems like you’re being jerked around by the bank, remember you have higher interest rates and more fees because your score’s not so hot.”
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