Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paper or plastic?

Oh, those little pieces of plastic. So convenient, so reliable.

I have a debit card I take with me everywhere. I buy almost everything with my debit card, considering checks are expensive, and cash doesn't stay in my wallet too long.

And in keeping with this debit card world I live in, it was somewhat disturbing to read that using a card at a thrift store could decrease my credit score.

Get a load of this. Apparently credit card companies look at where a cardholder shops, and they determine interest rates based on shopping history.

Some credit card companies are prone to tracking purchases made at bargain stores to determine if a potential cardholder may pose a credit risk - because of where they shop.

How crappy is that?

Credit card companies should be pleased that their current or potential cardholder shops at thrift stores. That means they're thrifty, for the love of god.

The action speaks to the attitude - that thrift store shoppers are financially incapable of paying full price for their merchandise. Ergo, they must be punished with a higher interest rate, or denial altogether.

That's just stupid.

I was originally going to write about credit cards and thrifting from a different perspective.

I'd heard a segment on the news that thrift stores wanted to encourage their customers to use cash or checks as opposed to credit cards, because the merchant pays a fee with every credit card purchase.

That got me steamed.

Because thrift stores are big business. They get their inventory for free, from donations. Many hide under the umbrella of a non-profit. Many members of their work force are working off some community service time, gratis to the thrift store. So the 3 percent give or take that they have to pay when I use my debit card is nothing to them. They, like all companies in these troubled times, should be grateful to have my business.

But then I got to thinking - maybe the thrift stores are encouraging customers to use cash or checks because they know their customers' credit scores may go down as a result of the record that's created by shopping thriftily.

I'd like to think the thrift stores have my back.

And I'll keep whipping out my card in deference to cash or check, because I really don't care. It's insane to think a credit card company may reject me because of where I spend my money.

But it's odd to think that companies have the capacity to pull at the credit score strings of my personal financial marionette.

Oh, these little pieces of plastic.

1 comment:

  1. I learned that when a card is used as a credit card, the establishment has to pay a certain percentage back to the lending institution (fancy talk for big-fat-criminals-in-suits), whereas if your card is used in a debit purchase, the transaction is FREE to the retailer. That is why Wal*Mart, Dollar tree and many other swanky joints discourage the use of credit purchases. My advice: CHOKE THOSE BANKER F*CKS BY GOING DEBIT WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Just a thought.
    Love, kathy