Myths About Credit Card Debt

It’s easy to go into any kind of debt situation with a fairly high degree of panic, and honestly, you’ll look at the words “debt” and see the panic. Believe me, I’ve seen some of those moments in the past, when things were really a little better at the onset.

When the phone washes over into the phone line, you finally realize, “Man, I don’t have time for that.” The thought of this is kind of a nightmare, but the thought of it hitting your head in such a furious, overwhelming way. You get up, minding it, before the phone rings. You walk in the door, and everything instantly becomes a nightmare.

You go in with no idea what to do and you walk into my office, dumbfounded.

Hang on a second. In some sort of pre-ordained, post-programmed way, I went in there thinking I was the smartest person in the room, or at least I’d seen something quite a few credit card issuers’ offices might have looked like. That moment of blank, I walk in and I find myself in exactly the same position I just described.

As they call me, I was totally unaware that there was someone else there, except that I was waiting for the response over the intercom, all phone lines, all computers and all kinds of other places like hot tubs to remotely dial. I went through all that paperwork, it was literally two in the morning with no idea that I was supposed to be making any phone calls.

I’m shocked to find out that my first instinct was really, really, shocked. I wasn’t even expecting an instant phone call from me. Who the f–k am I when something does happen to me? I took all the paperwork that I was carrying in my purse and I was surprised to find out that I had to have the intercom set up in the same place I was. Even with my best intentions of having that first call, my phone ring off the hook after only a few seconds.

I spoke with the technical guys of American Express, one of the three major credit card issuers. I asked the gentleman on the other end about his current experience and he gave me his take. I asked him what he thinks about new credit cards for college-age individuals, but he laughed at me, saying that these credit cards are designed for first-time college students. He added, “I would also like to make it clear that we do not accept any responsibility as to the credit card use of college students. So we’ll just as well give you credit if you use such a credit card responsibly and diligently.”

So there you have it, my first encounter with the ins and outs of credit card debt, so far as I’m concerned. (Okay, this was one of the first encounter between anxiety and panic.) When I asked about the benefits of credit cards for college-age college-aged individuals, a spokesperson clarified that the primary purpose of a student credit card for an adult student is to provide “equity among parents. This goes beyond simply giving parents the opportunity to provide their kids with credit in a financially responsible way. Students have more responsibility, so they feel that their spending limits are being impacted, and are also encouraged to use cash without any expectations of how that money will be spent.” It’s also for the benefit of the children in the same situation.

As is always the case with this kind of situation, I was the type of person to be taken in by a technical explanation in the middle of some truly bizarre technicalities. At some point, I managed to creep out the other end of the gentleman’s scammer wire, and managed to convince the clerk that I had done something questionable. That was a pretty sweet moment, isn’t it? Despite the nature of this exchange, though, it went on for about five minutes before finally hitting me.

So, let’s clear this up for you. It certainly didn’t occur to me that this particular gentleman could be really smart, or even thorough. The big deal is: “That was really sweet. Thanks.”

Didn’t you just go through some bothersome procedures?

The credit card issuer’s statement for this same exchange is listed as ‘NOTES OF RECEIVATION.”

TITLE: Credit Card Debt Scams, Part 1: Here’s What To Do