A couple of days back, I received a phone call from an old lady who introduced herself as representing HSBC bank, trying to convince me to sign up for a credit card. It’s just normal everyday marketing, but for some reason, I decided not to hang up immediately and say that I wasn’t interested. Instead, I politely challenged her to convince me why I should sign up for a credit card.
“If you sign up now, we will give you a free gift.” “You can spend now and pay later.” These were her response, typical ones. For some reason, it left a very deep impression on me. Firstly, does she even know how old I am, to be introducing credit cards to me? Is she aware of my financial status? Is she aware of my cash flow? In an attempt to make a little bit of commission from the sale of a credit card, she could possibly have caused someone who have no financial discipline and who is uptight in cash to sign up for the card and end up in a lifetime full of debt. Of course, I wasn’t convinced and didn’t sign up for the card, as usual.
Credit card, isn’t it the same as crediting your future cash away? It’s not like you don’t have to pay it back. What’s the point? If you cannot afford it, why borrow just to have it? Shouldn’t our mindset be more focused on “How can I make money to afford it?” Work for it or whatever, instead of borrowing just to have something to feel good for that few days. Instead of borrowing from our future cash flow, why not we stash cash away so that in future when we need to spend, we have a ready source of cash and do not need to borrow? In case I don’t have enough cash on me, there’s always the debit card/atm, so I didn’t get her argument on “Sometimes you not enough cash on you.” to justify the need for a credit card.
Along the way, somehow we have learnt to become needy for instant gratification. I don’t know how that happened or when it actually begun happening, but it has happened. To date, I haven’t been convinced for the need of a credit card. I believe there’s always a way to make do with not having something. Why do we need a ready source of credit line if proper planning will eliminate the need to borrow? Anyway they only lend to people who can afford to pay up, the bank isn’t so stupid to lend to people who have no income or people who they aren’t comfortable lending to. So you probably can afford whatever you need. Or is it time to re-define what a ‘need’ is?