2012 Credit Card Update
When credit cards first took hold in our society, the landscape for banks and other financial institutes was a plush green field prepped for planting and growing. That is exactly what the banks did. They planted, grew and reaped while we the public became enamored with the magic of quick and seemingly endless credit. All was well for years until one day in 2009 when the fruit of credit stopped growing. The fields were dry and scorched, and we were full and overfed. It did not take long before the banks sectioned off their once cash crop and barren fields, and we started to take a sober look at our state of overeating and overspending. We had to learn to live within our means, and we had to learn fast.
Though the economy is continuing through its peaks and valleys, it has stabilized to a degree, and we find ourselves still needing credit to some extent. It is true that banks and others were guilty of negligence and over farming their fields, but not all was lost. As their fields became closed off to the public and credit became harder and harder to come by, others picked up the slack left by typical credit card providers, including banks offering first time credit cards to college students via student credit card offers. StudentCreditCards.com provides helpful credit card blog to learn the basics of college student credit cards and a comparison for research. Debit cards and prepaid credit cards have also become popular as people tighten their pocket books, and our bank accounts inch closer and closer to solvency and normalcy. Many of the big credit companies are now offering pre-paid credit cards in lieu of the credit cards with high interest rates and dangerously high limits. These were gaining ground until 2011, when the combined uproar of too-big-to-fail, other bailouts and increased banking fees caused a seismic shift in the credit card fault-line.
The resulting backlash not only drove Americans en masse to credit unions and a nearly depression era style run on banks, it also opened the door for other companies to fill this second void in spending in credit. While others have turned to comparing cd rates, The New York Times recently reported that our old friends at Wal-Mart have stuck their plows into the soft earth of consumer credit with their own line of pre-paid debit cards. Shop for groceries, $2.00 socks, and pick yourself up a pre-paid debit card right next to the powdered milk. Wal-Mart is already the destination of choice for millions of Americans, and they already offer check-cashing services among other services such as bill-pay and utility deposits, so why not offer other services for more reasonable rates.
Another potential winner in the credit and loans sweepstakes is the list of credit unions in the United States. One of the advantages credit unions hold is that they are not for profit, and do not instantly try to turn debt into cash and sell it off to the highest bidder, and offer more reasonable rates. Another advantage is that you are more likely to receive a positive rating from them for paying down your credit than with a larger institution. You can walk in to many credit unions, and they will know you by name and be familiar with your account most likely as well.
In summary, the old guard is closely guarding the fields that were burned and left with scarce resources. This is not entirely bad news or even bad news at all. With more regulation placed on the banking and credit industry, they are forced to become more transparent with their fees and movements, and in turn, the public is more able to decide proper action and has recourse. This has forced the banks to come right out and say, вЂњWeвЂ™re charging you more for this and this is whyвЂќ and you, Joe consumer is now able to take your money elsewhere. The publicвЂ™s willingness to do so has opened opportunities for growth with other companies such as *gasp* Wal-Mart, and local, smaller credit unions. So rejoice Joe Consumer, there are other fields to pick fruit from, and the landscape is ripe for your picking.