I now and then miss my payment due date. Yes, the bank will be fast enough to slap a fee on me. I usually call them and they reverse it for me as they can see from my history that I am good with payments and mistakes happen. But I just realized how out of control credit cards and other loans can get in the era of technology and fine prints.
In the era of technology, people who are not comfortable with online banking, people who don’t have any alerts (phone or email) set up for “fee slapping” will miss out on the action and their credit report will start reflecting this fee even before these people know that there was a missed payment. This is also the era of lack of self-control from the end of customer and the era of art of manipulation from the end of the banks. Every bank wants to give you a credit card so that you lose track of your shopping habits and payment deadlines. The sooner and more often this happens, better it is for the bank, as they can start preying on us. A legislation should protect people from being manipulated. Even the constitution should be amended to say that “bankers will not manipulate people”. Manipulative banking is violence.
I have eight credit cards. I am going to bring them down to four by this month end – one Visa, one Master, one Discover and one American Express. I am extremely good at keeping track of payments and even then I miss deadlines once in a year or two as I get busy with other things in life. I am now thinking of what old people, people who are not good with technology endure in this era of predation. Mint.com has been extremely helpful in tracking my expenditures and incomes. I strongly recommend using mint.
I have realized that the best way to cut down on debt is to keep all my cards locked away. I carry one card with me. I use mint and go through my transactions everyday to keep myself aware of my transactions. This has considerably reduced my expenditures.