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Loyalty and credit cards
Posted on Sunday, December 2 2007 @ 01:11:23 PST

Loyalty cards, credit cards, I'm sure you've all heard of them. They're the little plastic things inside almost every wallet or purse on the planet, some of them have pictures on them, some have patterns, many have a chip and I'm sure all have that annoying magnetic strip. They come from all sorts of places, banks, credit companies, game shops, book shops, music shops, frigging everywhere. Really, the subjects of loyalty and credit cards are separate but I'll be damned if I do two blogs on these things. Loyalty cards, in my view, aren't that bad, in fact they can be pretty useful. In my wallet right now I have a GAME loyalty card and I'd have a Gamestation loyalty card if they did one. The GAME card is passive, it simply accumulates points every time you buy something from GAME and once you've reached enough it gives you money off your next purchase. Pretty good right? Right, but it's quite a transparent appeal to get people to shop at that store and the amount of money actually delivered is probably horrendously small based on the amount of money pumped in for it. Still, if it doesn't cost anything what's the problem? So loyalty cards are ok, I wouldn't get one just because I decided to go into that weird looking shop on the corner one time just to try it out and actually ended up buying the freaky fake blood for Halloween, but if I frequented a shop quite a lot then I'd probably get one.

Credit cards are a whole different ball game, sure they give you insurance in that if you lose the card your money's protected but only because it's not really 'your' money. It's that of the credit company's and they don't like you, they like your money. You can spend to your heart's content but don't lose track of the amount because you'll have to pay it back! See that's my main gripe, it's not money you're using, it's 'credit', a mystical substance that isn't yours but you're still throwing it at anyone who will accept it. Do you think they did that in days of yore? Farmers who want their horses' hooves redone would offer the blacksmith their neighbour's pigs as payment, they wouldn't pay their neighbour back in time so their neighbour goes round and roughs them up, then goes back home and kicks back with a cold beer... because some things never change.

I've seen people buy their way into a financial rut because of credit cards, there's no restraint of the sort bank accounts give so the retail type can just spend away guilt for free until the monthly bill plops on the floor. I'm sure credit cards are great for those with self control but personally I'd prefer not to be paying 8% more than anything I buy, even if it means cutting back on those expensive trips to Starbucks and 1st class flights to Monaco and Hong Kong.
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