…this time, about credit cards and why they suck. According to Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN.com, the UK recently told its credit card companies that they couldn’t charge ridiculous late fees, or otherwise act like snakes, anymore. She asked why US companies don’t do the same thing. I’m with her. I mean, if I owe money, charge me interest. Making it harder and harder to pay, though, is extortion and just makes you, the company, look like a jerk.
Something really evil and obvious that I’ve noticed (and I’m shocked that more people haven’t complained) is the shortened grace period. No, not just shortened…. suspiciously and specifically truncated. My credit card bill used to be due on the 18th every month. Some amoeba at MBNA must have looked at when I was most likely to pay – usually the 15th of the month, because that’s payday – and changed my due date to the 14th. Oh ho ho, MBNA. Clever. So not only do I not get thirty days any more, I also have to pay them before I get paid myself or face their inflated charges. I mean, come on.
She’s also written an article specifically about dirty tricks the credit card companies play on you, again simply because they freaking can.
I’m not sure how exactly we go about enacting Weston’s “credit card revolution.” People aren’t going to stop using their Visas, so it’s not like “the market will work everything out,” and every time someone in the government raises the point that maybe big corporations are acting kind of mean they get shouted down in the name of the “free market.” Personally, I don’t get how a market can really be free when the game is obviously rigged. Deregulation is like the NFL letting the Patriots get away with changing the shape of the football field because, hey, they win a lot. But that’s another story.