Money has seen many makeovers— clinking coins to rustling paper notes and now the squeaking plastic cards… Each avatar has managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible—add value to money by improving accessibility, convenience, security and ease of transaction. Probably no one even remembers what paper notes did to currency… imagine carrying a thousand bucks in coins!
And then there is user smartness. A call to the issuing bank, and the payment cycle and interest charge on late payment can be easily altered. Good credit history can be leveraged while negotiating loans with banks too.
A tiny chip embedded in flashy plastic can literally access crores of rupees, quite a bit of which you don’t own. And too much money can be dangerous. As the critics of the ‘credit card society’ will tell you. They have long accused card users of succumbing to the seduction of easy money and raking up debt piles that last longer than their lives. Lately, the card issuing companies and banks have been put under the scanner for luring customers by zero annual fees, teaser rates and rewards for higher usage.
Almost everyone has heard of or knows someone who has struggled with credit card debt.
In reality, most credit card users are ignorant of the facilities, proper usage and costs of credit cards. This is not to say that card issuers do not make mistakes. But that is true for all service industries like telecom and hospitality. There is a fine print everywhere. However, if you have trouble reading and understanding it, we present the magnifying glass. Turn over for the complete story about credit cards—the good, the bad and the ugly. So that the next time you extract your card from your wallet, it is with flourish and intelligence.
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