Grace or Greed?

imagesYou may recently have received a change of terms notification from one or more of your credit card vendors. This comes as the result of recent changes in the law and “unprecedented market conditions” as one such notification put it. If you are like me you probably discard this type of information when received as it usually is written in a very complex and legalistic manner. However, if you are notified of a change in your card’s agreement I strongly suggest you take the time to try and understand the new terms. While this writing is not my usual fare, I felt duty bound to create some awareness of the potential pitfalls that may be awaiting credit card holders. If you are searching for the Biblical connection in this message you may certainly find under the heading of stewardship.

          First let me spout off regarding the “unprecedented market conditions”. I believe what is being referred to here is, (Rodger’s opinion) after decades of encouraging consumers to indulge in credit card spending up to eight times their ability to repay the debt (the principle) the recent downturn in the economy has caused an unprecedented amount of bankruptcy’s. The credit card lenders aren’t receiving their normal 18 to 24 percent interest from these people nor the repayment of the borrowed amount. While I don’t condone the overspending and ravenous consumer appetite of many of the people who now simply can’t pay, I find it hard to muster sympathy for the corporate greed mongers who have perpetuated this financial atrocity. The reason they allowed people to get in beyond their ability to repay in the first place is their usurious desire to collect loan shark type fees from consumers (again my opinion).

          Fear not but applaud the government and the banking industry for figuring out a way to make their world right once again. The new rates going into effect, for example in the case of Sears, is 25.24% plus prime rate. By today’s standard that would be approximately 28.49% APR. What a marvelous deal. (Let me throw out one more opinion.) Those who carry a balance on their credit card and have not gone down with the ship will have the privilege of paying more interest to make up for those who could no longer afford to stay in the game. Hold on, that’s not all. In most cases this is not the sole change in the terms. The additional new twist in some cases comes by charging interest as of the date of the purchase. (Previously, interest only began to accrue after the start of the new billing period.) If I read the new terms correctly some will not charge this immediate interest if you have paid the entire new balance by the previous due date. They refer to this as the “grace” period. If you carry forward a balance you will receive no grace.

          Words escape me for describing the employment of such lop-sided business practices mixed in with the word grace. There are much better methods for manging one’s finances at far less cost. Grace would best be defined as forgiveness extended by consumers toward those who devise such insidious methods of making money from the everyday consumer. After all we are called to forgive those who “trespass against us”.

          On the encouraging side the news reported a definite sign that the economy is recovering. The sale of men’s underwear is up! While it isn’t financial rocket science we need all the good news we can get. If you have been riding out the tough times wearing your well worn boxers and things are looking more positive, then by all means help build the good news and buy some undies. Just don’t charge them!

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3 Comments to “Grace or Greed?”

  1. joe thomson says:

    I heard once that a good way to measure how well you are living a Christian life it to look at your bank and credit card statements each month and see how you spent your money!

  2. Jeff Weese says:

    This one was worth reading just for the last paragraph! Nice!

  3. Tim York says:

    I agree with Jeff, the last paragraph was priceless.

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