DIANE PHILLIPS: Stuck in the spider web of the great credit card machine

If you ever want to waste a morning, try canceling a credit card. In life there are challenges and then there is the challenge of not wanting and giving up, whether online or over the phone, a four inch plastic card that has the power to buy anything. you want with an insert, scan or scan.

Don’t worry about baseless chatter about the importance of managing your finances carefully, saving money, limiting your debt, or balancing your budget. The banking system, including the fee-hungry card provider, is clearly rigged against any meager attempt at prudent management of your personal financial affairs. If the fee addicts really had your best interests at heart (as opposed to the interest you pay), they would have created an online option, one only, to say goodbye to that piece of plastic. Instead, they give you dozens more that let you increase your limit, add users who are eligible to spend on your behalf, charge a cash advance, and more. But look for a line to click on the online form that says cancel and you might as well order Slovakia conch salad.

How do you know how much easier it is to get a card than to cancel one? Because I did both. And the former outweighed the latter in terms of the ease of doing business 100 to 1, both over the phone and online.

It’s not just in the Bahamas. It’s no wonder that more than 189 million Americans – or 128 million households – have more than $ 13.5 trillion in debt, including mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards. How to escape when every time you buy a stick of gum or wood the gentle cashier rushes to inform you that you can save 10 percent off today’s purchase if you just take a minute to fill the form to obtain a target, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Bass Pro Shop or Macy’s card.

Explain that you don’t live in the US and wouldn’t qualify and she says it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter? Would you offer credit to someone who is about to fade into the far sun-drenched Tropic of Cancer, never file a tax return, and have no way of proving income or intent to refund ?

Getting a card is so easy that in the United States, Millennials – who can’t instantly remember how many world wars we’ve had – manage to qualify for an average of three cards per person. The average debt per person under 35 in the United States is just over $ 5,800. No wonder there is a whole foundation dedicated to credit counseling. Debt has destroyed marriages, destroyed lives and contributed to a nation of shopaholic zombies.

If there’s one serious side besides the stress it must cause the conscientious, it’s the way the system is designed to make entry much easier than exit.

On a site in a category mistakenly called Help and Support, you can do anything except cancel a card even if your balance is zero and cancel is all you want to do. You can request a balance transfer, arrange direct deposit from your credit card, add an authorized user, activate the card, manage the PIN code, request a credit limit increase, set a travel advisory, view or change overdraft protection, dispute a transaction, check the status of the dispute, request your consent, view paperless settings, print statements, order a paper statement, order copies of access checks, request a letter credit reference, see account fees. You get the point. All options except goodbye. Maybe the credit card facilities, which are really little revolving loans with high interest rates, should come with a separation agreement and when it’s over, baby, it’s just over.

Although it’s not really anyone’s business, I went through this process on behalf of a close relative and it was really eye-opening. I now know better. Laugh if you want. I’m an AmEx fan and have been since BOB introduced the Platinum card with tennis star Mark Knowles – back in the spotlight – as a brand. I pay it back in full every month. Of no interest. No penalty. No pain.

Again, I haven’t tried to undo it yet.


Brothers who grew up with Lover’s Lane as their backyard

In last week’s column, we asked who had the idea of ​​naming a street that ran between a cemetery and a parsonage Lover’s Lane?

It was one of those rhetorical questions like why the Moon is called full instead of big. We didn’t really expect an answer. Lo and behold, we received a hand-delivered letter – an incredible rarity in this post-less country.

There were pictures of younger brothers John and Stephen Knowles who grew up with Lover’s Lane as their personal backyard and St Matthew’s Church, Shirley Street, their playground. “The Old Rectory”.

Stephen wrote: “Where I was taken after I was born at the General Hospital (now known as Princess Margaret) was my home for my first two or three years until my father built the new one. rectory down the hill where I grew up. “

The man who let his boys get away in those days of innocence was Donald R Knowles. Posted in Acklins, Andros, Eleuthera, he has spent the last 15 years of his active religious service as the head of St Matthew’s, the magnificent work of architecture that adorns the wide crossroads of Shirley and Church streets. He later became the first native Bahamian bishop of the Anglican Diocese and one of his other sons, Donald, Jr, became the first principal of the College of the Bahamas.

Next to the rectory and what was part of the complex at the time is now Genesis Academy. As for the rectory, it has become a seminary for nuns and these days of free play next to Lover’s Lane – they have become a memory to be shared.

Darcy J. Skinner

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