Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I hate credit cards!

We're getting rid of most of our credit cards, hanging on to an American Express (which gets paid off every month) and the Lowe's card for those interest-free projects. My husband also has a card that he uses mostly for gas because walking in to pay cash is a PITA.

His statement arrived yesterday and since I do all the bookkeeping at my house, I opened it. The expected gas charges were there and my son's membership at a gaming site and something else I didn't recognize. It was called and they charged us $39.44. I asked my husband what that was and he had no idea. So I went back and found the same charge under other names ( and with similar but different phone numbers. The "GAS" charge for a couple of months wouldn't have set off any alarms in me, but the one month of Cennethelp and two of TatumHelp with the exact same charge did. Sounds like a fraud to me, especially since they keep changing names and phone numbers.

Darling Man had to call in though, since it was his card, and he proceeded to spend the next couple of hours in a very unpleasant way, talking to people with accents so thick he couldn't understand them and listening to the most horrendous hold music ever. Eventually he wound up with someone he could understand and got the charges cancelled and hopefully a refund (5 months worth!) of those bogus charges. And never did find out what exactly the charges were for.

The credit card company closed that account and will open a new one for Darling Man who really wavered on opening a new one at all. I felt the same way about my credit company that jerked me around and left me with NO MONEY when I went to Korea.

The sad fact is that if you want to rent a car or a hotel room or make a trip by plane, you almost have to have one these days. I know a bunch of you are saying "what about a debit card?" As far as I'm concerned, that's even more dangerous. Someone can clone it and drain your bank account of funds before you even know there's a problem. And you have to remember to save the chits and write them down so you don't wind up bouncing checks (like we did way back when).

As much as I like doing my banking online and paying bills like that, I'm considering going back to paper statements and paying each bill by check. At least then there's a hard copy and it won't be so easy to miss stuff.

Word to the wise... check your statements every month - and question every charge you don't recognize!!!


Faye said...

Good advice, Sayre. I'm old fashioned in that I like to "wool" my money--write checks and keep the carbons, keep my little handwritten bank book and compare it to monthly bank statements and online account info. Like the convenience of credit cards, but treat them like a bill that must be paid in full monthly. Didn't always do that until I realized how much of my retirement income was going to interest.

Karmyn R said...

Yikes. I will have to look more closely at ours.

We only have one credit card and my husband uses it for business travel and entertainment expenses....there are always bizarre purchases on there from restaurants with weird names. So, I have to be extra vigilent.

Sandcastle Momma said...

We got rid of all but one of ours several years ago. We were always getting weird charges like yours and spent WAY too much time trying to have them removed. Now I pay everything by check and we haven't used the card in over 2 years. We have it for hotels, rental cars, etc but nothing else. And in the end it's so nice not to have credit card debt!

Pamela said...

that's a tough one. Sometimes I think cash will be non existent in the future.

apricoco said...

That's why I'm with you and basically only use our AmEx. We have a Discover card that I used once to book travel and it was a big mess. I tried booking a ticket and it got cancelled after the transaction wehn through and then Discover doubled the 'hold' on part of my available credit for over a week even after they said it would expire within 2 business days. AmEx never pulls that crap on me. I learned my lesson and AmEx is the only way to go. Plus, I've NEVER been transferred to someone who didn't speak less than perfect English.

Anonymous said...

Ya i have the same charges on my card from the exact same companys. Banks are supposed to keep my money safe not give it away to fuckin strangers

Anonymous said...

I don't think people will ever trust banks again, but the question is can we live in world without banks. Maybe they are a necessary evil in this world, but I think the banks them selves need to be held accountable for their own credit. There are some websites who rank and grades banks and issuers, but most of them, I found to be ran by the banks themselves. However, there are some sites like that really shows honest opinions from people while helping you sort out through the bullshit which is credit cards.