I just received a letter with a generous offer from my credit card company. Yeah, right. Here's how it starts out:
"You can earn an additional 2% cashback on purchases you make in any month you choose to carry a balance of $500 or more."
Some people may view credit cards as a blessing. A tool that helps the economy chug along by giving consumers the freedom to spend any time anywhere. I look at them with disdain. Sure they have helped the flow of commerce to some degree, but they have also contributed to the pain and suffering of so many. Who knows how many bankruptcies, divorces, and foreclosures have been caused by easy access to unsecured credit.
But the pain doesn't stop there. Merchants are charged fees every time they accept a credit card, and guess who pays for it. We probably pay an extra 5% for everything because the credit card quietly inserted itself into commerce and is skimming off the top. It's a perfect racket, and it's lucrative beyond belief.
Now, the consumer obliviously comforts itself by signing up for cashback and mileage cards. It's like choosing to be robbed by the thief that returns a tiny part of your stolen money. But here comes the next scam, the letter I received. Let us charge you 20% on your balances and we'll give you 2% back. Shameless.
Cash-paying consumers should have the right to ask for a rebate from credit card companies, on the grounds that credit cards have inflated prices even for those who do not or can not benefit from credit cards. A class action lawsuit would be a good start.