Credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, checks, and cash are a convenient way to purchase things. However, Credit cards are against my religion. Why? Credit cards aren’t evil and God didn’t forbid us to take from the credit card tree. How can this be a religious argument?
NOTE: This is in no way a condemnation of your credit card usage. This is my own personal belief. It is my hope and prayer that it will answer some of the questions you didn’t realize you had and will help you make an informed decision for yourself.
Credit Cards Cause Overspending
Dr. Jason Cabler says that using credit cards “allows people to spend money they don’t have”. If you don’t have money but buy something on a credit card then then you are overspending. The end result is debt, and debt steals opportunities from our future! We could say “credit cards don’t cause overspending, people do” but credit cards take over-expending ourselves to a whole new level.
Credit Cards Fuel the Divorce Rate
Money fights and money problems are the #1 cause of divorce. We all want control of our money and conflicts arise when our spouse spends more money on what they want than what we want. Credit cards allow all purchases to become anonymous until the bill shows up 30 days later – and then arguments begin!
This was all covered in a one hour webinar. Click on the video
Want to get the meat of the discussion? Start at the 32:00 mark
Credit Cards Lead To False Goals
What are the benefits of using a credit card? These are the top 5 reasons people want to use credit cards:
- Need a credit card for travel
- Possible discounts on purchases
- Using OPM
- Zero Liability Protection
- Reward points/miles
Need a credit card for travel: I’ve heard this excuse for years, haven’t you? However, I have not had an open credit account for the past 6 years. Not one rental car company, airline, or hotel chain has refused our money. We’ve traveled to Florida and even a horse ranch in Wyoming. Nobody cared that my plastic didn’t say “Credit”, why should you?
Possible discounts on purchases: Some credit cards offer discounts on purchases such as gas or offer one free checked bag on their airline. Jon White tells the story of how the promise of saving 3 cents per gallon of gas will save you a whopping $.45 a fill-up (15 gallons discounted by three cents a gallon). A checked bag might save you a $25 but restricts you to purchasing your airfare through that specific airline using their card. Could you have saved money shopping around instead?
Using OPM: Awwww, isn’t that nice? Credit cards allow us to use OPM – Other People’s Money. What’s the problem with that? Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich rules over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.” You are a slave to the credit card company until you pay the money back. You also risk paying interest and penalties. I don’t have that problem with I use SOM – Steve’s Own Money!
Zero Liability Protection: Visa and MasterCard credit cards offer “Zero Liability Protection”. If your credit card is stolen or compromised (someone uses the card number without your consent – even if the card is still in your purse or wallet) then you don’t have to pay for it. BTW: Debit cards have the exact same protection (link to Visa’s Zero Liability Policy for Debit Cards)
Reward points/miles: Who doesn’t like saving up for stuff? Instead of stashing money aside the old-fashioned way instead we build up points and miles with a preferred credit card. However, SOMEBODY HAS TO PAY FOR THE REWARDS! Credit card companies charge businesses a fee for each and every swipe and credit card purchase. Vendors pay higher rates for credit cards, even higher for those with big reward programs, than debit cards, checks, and cash combined! This requires the store to charge more for the things that you buy to make up for the loss.
Why Credit Cards Are Against My Religion
Matthew 22: 36 – 40
A Pharasee asked Jesus, ”Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As a Christian trying to help others with their personal finances I certainly can’t promote credit cards for all the reasons above. My goal is to help you escape the trappings of debt and instead build wealth so you can be the person God designed you to be. Working a 2nd job to make the car payment was not what God had in mind for you. Beat debt, build wealth, and help others with the resources God has entrusted you with.
As I learned more about money and leaped into faith (and out of credit cards) I found that there are more ways to mess up using credit cards than not using them. It took a few years to understand why and my hope for this post is to help you answer those nagging questions you may have had. Feel free to leave your comments below. Also, there is a more in-depth discussion in the video below with Dr. Jason Cabler and Financial Coach Jon White.