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Credit Cards and Bankruptcy


The inevitable trap of credit cards and the preying by banks on their victims may lead many to bankruptcy. There is no easy way out of financial situations when income simply does not match expenditure. We all want the latest and best things on the market and many acquire them through loans on those pieces of plastic. The facts are, however, that the interest charged may mean that repaying such loans quickly puts it out of reach of meeting it.

Banks are not so honourable that they will surrender their biggest money earners, namely the credit cards. The ones who use them are ‚cash cows‘ supplying their lenders with huge incomes and vast annual profits. It’s like gambling when one puts money in and gets little back in return.

In times past I too was hooked on credit and then some valuable lessons came to hand. The goods I was buying during sales, and so forth, were costing twice as much as they would if the same items were bought for cash. Not only that but much of the stuff filling my cupboards was unnecessary and likely would never be used.

Banks and sales go together. One often sees stores offering extra discounts for using a Visa card. It does not take a genius to know how much the business receives back for this slight-of-hand deal. Nor does one need a calculator to check on where the institutions are making most of their money.

At the moment in Australia interest loans on property have never been lower. One can get a mortgage for something like 1.5 percent or even less. That is because the banks know that people will be forced to sell that property at a great loss if they go bankrupt through using their credit cards. With that in mind the offer of extended credit is given to the mortgagee.

There is a move afoot here to force banks to disclose the source of their income while the Opposition wants a Royal Commission into banking practices. With the focus on the ongoing links between credit cards and bankruptcy prominent in the media it is long overdue.

The best way to avoid the trap is to tear up the cards and have nothing to do with them. Bargains are only such when there is a genuine saving to be had from the purchase. If money is correctly managed then buying things for cash will quickly become a priority.

A lot of small to medium-sized business owners use credit cards in the course of business. The problem is, many make the mistake of using their personal cards. There are a couple of major problems with this:

First, if you use your personal credit cards for your business you are blurring the line between business and personal finances. The better separation you can achieve between your business finances and personal finances, the better off you will be. For this reason, a credit card in your business name is the best route.

Second, using your personal cards for your business puts your personal credit at risk. If the debt belongs to the business, shouldn't it be on the business' credit?

Most people don't think this is a big deal until they run into problems and no longer have their personal credit to fall back on.

In one example, a couple in business together racked up over $ 100,000 of unsecured debt on their personal credit for their business. When the business's income dropped, even though the business was at first able to stay afloat, the couple was forced to file for bankruptcy.

With their personal credit destroyed, they could no longer get credit to support the business - and the business went through some serious struggles as a result. The stress took a toll, and the couple is now divorced. Perhaps things might have gone differently if they had depended on business credit rather than their personal credit.

Maybe you're thinking that your company won't struggle, or that you don't use credit cards much anyway. What's the point, then?

Using a business credit card in your business does offer some real advantages aside from the two that were already mentioned. For example:

1. Streamline operations and automate expense tracking. Paying expenses can be much easier to manage with a business card, and reports can be generated monthly or annually in many cases to help categorize and analyze expenses.

2. Business cards have "rewards" programs too! If you have a lot of regular monthly expenses for your company that can be paid with a rewards card, you could easily get $ 500 to $ 1000 per year (or more) in cash rewards, or even free airline tickets if you use a travel rewards card .

3. Manage employee spending. Business credit cards can be set up to have spending limits for employees, which can aid in managing expenses for in-the-field employees.

4. Using a business card helps you build credit for your BUSINESS, which is of utmost importance in today's economy.

As you can see, there are several big advantages to using an actual business credit card for your business.

A helpful hint for those wishing to establish business credit: Try to get approved based on your business's creditworthiness rather than your personal creditworthiness.

This means avoid providing your social security number on credit applications for your business credit card. If you don't get approved based on your business credit alone, then you can try applying and include your personal credit information as necessary.