15 September 2010

that plastic card

Up to this day, I’ve never really owned a credit card that I could freely use whenever I wanted.
I remember when I had just graduated from university, I received a credit card in the mail with a letter stating that since I was an alumni from this reputable school, I was automatically eligible to have this prestigious credit card; no joining fees, no annual fees, and so and so credit limit. All I had to do was call the call center and activate it. I never did.
There was also a time when I worked for a credit card company in Makati. After the probationary period, all the employees are entitled to have a credit card; again no joining fees, no annual fees, and so and so credit limit (depending on the rank/category). I never bothered to get one. Even when my colleagues and friends were saying that I should get one so that I have something in case of an emergency, I wasn’t convinced.
When my older sister started working in Dubai, she got a credit card and made me and Mama her supplementaries (or whatever you call it), so automatically we got credit cards as well. Since she was the one who was going to settle the bills, we only used our cards if she wanted us to buy something for her or if she told us to withdraw money and use that for our expenses. Mama and I never used our cards for anything else.
Now, I’m here in Dubai and from time to time, I get calls from all these banks offering me credit cards with all these perks and benefits. Usually as soon as they say that they’re from so and so bank, I immediately cut them off and tell them that if they’re offering their credit card, I’m not interested. That ends the conversation short right away.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the card has its advantages: you don’t have to carry large amounts of money, it’s very helpful especially during emergencies, and nowadays bookings or reservations have to be guaranteed through this piece of plastic. I remember when hubby (who was still my fiancĂ©e then) and I checked-in at the hotel for our wedding preps. The hotel required a security deposit and they didn’t accept cash. I thought this was silly but since this was the rule, Guchi presented his credit card and my sister presented hers. When we checked out 2 days later, we settled the bill in cash.
The thing is, I’ve never really liked credit cards. I’ve heard stories and seen so many people practically drowning in debt because they lost control and overspent. There are those who, just because they know they have this card which is easily accessible to them, immediately purchase or pay for things without even stopping to think if they really need them. Then after a day or two, that’s when they regret making the wrong decision and there’s no way to get the money back.
Between the two of us, only hubby has a credit card. During the rare occasions that he does use it, I always make sure that the full amount is paid before the due date. This way, we won’t have to settle any more payments with unnecessary interests.
Because I don’t have a card, I’ve disciplined myself to save money if I really want to buy something...even if I know it will take some time. At least this way, I make sure to think things through, whether I need it or whether I want it bad enough, and if I’ll be getting my money’s worth.
I know one day I will have to get a card (especially since it’s becoming a necessity to own one), but for now I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about any card payments I still have to settle.

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