Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shut the stable door - the horse has gone!

A teensy weensy bit late, methinks.

Particularly when you bear in mind that the banks are currently very loathe to lend money to anyone right now. One also wonders when they are going to do something about the extortionate interest rates that tend to be charged on credit cards. A simple "thou shalt not charge more than 5% above base rate" would be a good start.

I actually have several credit cards, but only really use three of them. I have one which I only use for online purchases - which are very rare as I really do not trust internet security - and another which I use for large payments in stores, car servicing and holidays. The third I use for paying bills in restaurants.

The lowest limit I have - on the card I use for online purchases - is £5500. When I first got the card (more than 15 years ago now) it was £500 and I have never exceeded that amount or requested any increase! In fact, I haven't requested an increase on any credit card since I was about 25 - back in the mid-eighties.

The others I used to use for specific things - like buying petrol - but have in recent years been relegated to sitting in my drawer unused. I stopped using credit cards to buy petrol after several people I knew had their cards "skimmed" in local garages. I know that is just as likely to happen in a restaurant, but as I don't eat out that often, always use the same card and know exactly when and where I used it if anyone does try to skim it I can easily trace it back.

Whenever and wherever possible I use cash. It is quick, easy and convenient and much harder for anyone to take it from you without you knowing. The only problem with that is that cash doesn't go as far as it used to and I don't like carrying large amounts of it so I have to make frequent trips to the cashpoint, but that is much better than finding out a month later that someone has bought a second hand car using your credit card.

The other advantage, of course, is that it is much easier to keep a track of my spending and therefore easier to budget. Cash is great - I thoroughly recommend it.

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