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article imageOp-Ed: Warning to a world growing increasingly dependent on credit cards

By Simon Crompton     Apr 22, 2014 in Business
It is absolutely possible for a person to get by without a credit score. This, by extension, means that it is absolutely possible to get by without credit cards.
It’s happening all over. A report published in the New York Times on April 1 notes that cash use is set to decrease by 17 percent in 2015. The article claims that this is largely because most companies are switching away from tangible currency toward cards and credit-based systems. The article even cites an adult dance club that won’t allow its dancers to take cash tips; it forces patrons to exchange their cash for “dance dollars.”
This might not seem like that big a deal as you swipe your debit card at the coffee shop, but it isn’t just that these businesses are switching over to cards. It’s that most of them are switching to credit cards. It isn’t just hotels and airlines that require a credit card to book space anymore. Now credit cards are needed to secure purchases, rent cars, etc…credit is so globally ubiquitous that Russia, as a response to Visa and MasterCard’s pulling out, has started to build its own credit system. That’s potentially great for Russia but it is not great news for people here who prefer to live in a cash-only world or those who have bad credit.
So what can you do?
If you are determined to live in a credit-less world, you’re free to do that. You can even go the real old-school route and keep your cash in a coffee can under your bed. But just know this: you won’t be able to fly anywhere. If your car breaks down, you won’t be able to rent a replacement. Don’t count on being able to book a hotel room — at least, not in any place where you won’t want to take a bleach shower after having stayed there. You can do it…you’ll just have to find ways to work around the existing system.
If you’re worried about a lack of credit getting in the way of your being able to live like every other functioning adult, you shouldn’t panic. MSN Money wrote a great piece called “Are You Too Old to Build Credit” that talks about credit building no matter how long you’ve shrugged off the credit system.
Even people whose credit is terrible shouldn’t panic. There are plenty of different methods available to people who are hoping to fix poor credit scores and build a healthy credit profile in the future:
1. Get your finances under control. If you don’t already have a budget, build one. There are dozens of different apps and worksheets you can download that will walk you through the steps of putting together at least a temporary budget.
2. Work with a professional. Credit counselors and professional credit repair agents can be a godsend if you’re underwater and not sure how to start fixing it. Why? Because most of the well established credit repair specialists like Lexington Law have existing relationships with creditors and the credit bureaus. They will be better able to negotiate your rates, fees and settlement amounts than you. Why? Because creditors take for granted that you won't know the laws surrounding credit and debt the way the pros do.
3. Secured credit can help you both build a good credit score for yourself and help you relearn how to use credit wisely. Someone at your bank can help you set up a line of secured credit.
Credit isn’t really the wave of the future. As we’re hearing from all over the world, credit is our way of life. It’s time to get with the program and respect the card.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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