WARNINGS ON THE CREDIT CARD TRAP

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The intent of this article is to encourage carefulness in the use of credit cards, which has become a way of life in our era. Some businesses will only accept payment for goods or services by a credit card. Most of us carry these little plastic wonder cards. The banking industry has devised plans whereby they play on people’s wants and induce them to buy goods on credit. Many gullible people have fallen for this ruse. This has enabled the banks to skim billions of dollars in interest from an uninformed and unsuspecting public.

To stay out of this trap, the credit card statement balance must be paid in full every month. If only the minimum payment is made and purchases are continued, interest charges will be added to the account, and soon interest is being paid on interest. Credit ratings can drop, and interest rates can escalate to as high as 30 percent. This scenario snowballs very rapidly out of control. There have been incidents of multiple credit cards spent to the limit. When this happens, even minimum payments can be impossible to meet. This can lead to late payment fees and charges for exceeding the credit limit, which only add to the agony.

If you are not paying your credit card balances in full every month, you must open your problem to your deacons or someone for help. It is also very important to keep a good set of financial records. Without records, you have no clue as to your financial position or where it is heading in the future. If record keeping is difficult for you, seeking help would be beneficial.

If you do not have the funds or financial backing at the time you are considering a purchase, do not make it. The old advice holds so true, “Spend a little less than you make.” Budgeting your expenses to meet your income or having a cash flow projection is a must for any viable enterprise. God cannot and will not bless a mess. If we cannot be faithful in the material things of life, how can the Lord bless us spiritually? Let’s look at Luke 16:10,11, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Our honesty, ethics, and integrity come into question if we cannot properly manage our financial affairs. May we ever remember to be wise and good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to our care.

Another warning is about the credit card telemarketers that try to sell their plans, such as, Identity Theft Protection, Payment Protection, Account Care, Credit Score Tracker, Wallet Protection, and many others. These plans are not necessary!

What is the root cause of the above problems? Is it a lack of spirituality or a covetous spirit? Could it be ignorance or a lack of teaching or peer pressure? We must be willing to face our problems and deal with them. If not, our witness can easily be destroyed. If we find ourselves in a problem, let us avail ourselves of the grace of God and the help of our brethren before the problem is so large it becomes unmanageable and a dark spot on the church.

From Messenger of Truth, 2011, No. 19