My Dog was Approved for a Credit Card

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My Dog Was Approved

Yes, my dog was approved for a Wells Fargo Visa Credit Card with a credit limit of $1,000. At the time of the offer, she was still underage (only 7 in dog years) and still did not have the skills necessary to manage her finances in a mature and responsible way. To be honest, she was still piddling on the carpet pretty consistently.

How could this be possible?

To come clean here, I may have played a little trick with the electronics store when filling out our warranty card for the television we had just financed. You see, before we paid off $52k in 7 months, we did stupid things with money such as financing a television and overpaying for it because we believed 0% was really 0% interest.

 

Related: There is no such thing as 0% interest

 

What we didn’t realize at the time, was the information we filled out on the warranty card would soon be sold off to Wells Fargo, and they would then use it to send out blind credit card offers in the mail….even if you’re a yellow labrador puppy named Lilah.

Oops.

Then, Wells Fargo would simply start printing off their own money….

What if You Could Print Money?

I share this story with you not to lead you to believe credit card companies are evil, but to explain to you just how smart they really are.

Today, you could go out and apply for an interest rate on a 30-year mortgage at around 4%. If you had your money inside an average mutual fund over the past 5 years, you would expect to see about an average annual return of 6.5%.

However, if you were the bank, you would expect a 23% annual return, and all you would have to do is push a button.

Here’s how it works…

They will buy your information from anywhere they can find it: warranty cards, other banks, retailers, online vendors, surveys, and the list just keeps going on an on.

Then they turn around and use that information in hopes to get you inside their little machine that basically prints money. This machine simply prints off a credit card offer with your information (or your dog’s) and drops it into your mailbox. The offer usually comes with a cute little 0% teaser rate for the first few months, and then you guessed it….10% – 23% APR on all purchases thereafter.

There is a reason why every large building downtown is owned by a bank and most large sporting venues are named after banks. They are winning, and they are just getting started.

 

But You Don’t Have to Use Them

Popular culture, your broke brother-in-law, and Samuel L. Jackson are all trying to convince everyone that you must have a credit card to survive.

This is absolutely false.

They say:
What’s in your wallet?!

Peach says:Money

First off, let me share with you that our family has not had a credit card since 2011. Andrea and I both decided that we were no longer going to play the games with the bank of doing balance transfers, chasing points, and teaching our kids how to be “responsible” with money by swiping our credit cards for every single purchase.

Instead, we have traveled all over the western hemisphere, we have rented cars, we have booked plane tickets, we have bought things online, and we have done everything you think you need a credit card for with that little red-headed step-child of the credit card: the debit card.

However, if you absolutely love your credit card, you are getting rich from your credit card points, and you don’t ever carry a balance, then most likely you are going to be absolutely fine to hang onto it. On the contrary, if you currently carry a balance, have a history of carrying a balance, or just don’t use them very well, then stop using them.

That’s exactly what we did and we have never looked back.

Bonus: Our kids have been watching us, and at ages 6 and 3, they already get it: Credit cards don’t buy things, money does. I wonder if they’re going to sign up for that same $7k T-Shirt I did when I first stepped foot onto my college campus and entered the real world of credit card offers?

 

opt out credit card offers

 

Stop Receiving Offers in the Mail

The average credit card debt for those carrying a balance is $15,700 as last reported by nerdwallet.com.

If you are one of the millions of people carrying a balance each and every month, then you’re also the credit card company’s ideal client. You are keeping their machine alive, however there is something most people don’t know they have as an option.

Simply Opt Out

If you are just about over living inside the bank’s machine, I highly recommend you remove yourself from the offers you receive in the mail, online, or anywhere else.

In order to remove yourself from these pre-screened offers, you can opt out for up to 5 years at a time by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688), or by clicking the button below:

 

Opt Out

 

The Fine Print – They Really Don’t Care

If you read the fine print on the credit card offers, you will notice they simply do not care. While you will opt out of the vast majority of credit card offers by clicking the button above, the credit card companies do put this in their terms and conditions:

 

Chase Bank Terms & Conditions

“…you may tell us not to share information about you with non-financial companies outside of our family of companies. Even if you do tell us not to share, we may do so as required or permitted by law…. You may tell us not to share [information] about you within our family of companies…. Even if you do tell us not to share, we may share other types of information within our family.”

 

In summary, if a you opt out of having your information shared with outside companies, then legally they cannot share your information. However, they are legally allowed to share your information with anyone they have a “special relationship” with.

 

For example:

Chase Bank has a special relationship with Southwest Airlines. Therefore, if you are a Rapid Rewards Member like the Peaches are, you will receive offers for a Chase Visa periodically, even after you have opted out.

 

Credit card companies are so smart 🙂

How Do You Manage Your Credit Cards?

I shared with you my thoughts and feelings on credit cards, but I would love to hear back from you with your opinion.

Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting me know:

 

  1. Do you use a credit card?
  2. If Yes: How many do you have and how do you manage them?
  3. If No: Why Not?

 

Thanks for reading Money Peach,

-Chris Peach

32 Comments

    • Oh heck yeah you are Francesca! 🙂 I love it and keep beating the crap out of those credit card balances! NO MORE PAYMENTS!!

      Reply
  • Hi Chris!

    I do use credit cards. I am slowly trying to climb out of the hole I have dug for myself. I have 2 big credit cards & 3 smaller (department store type) credit cards. All but my big 2 carry low balances, which according to Credit Karma is actually helping my credit. It’s my balances on my big 2 cards that are hurting me. I am working as fast as I can to pay those off & never look back! My husband & I paid for our wedding with one of those & the other I got in an attempt to get points to pay for our frequent trips home to AZ(he’s in the Army). I should have known better than to get a card when we were already in debt. We have made some huge changes in the budget & my paycheck is going solely to paying off our debt. Hopefully by this time next year we will have little to none left!

    I appreciate reading your blog & hope I can have a similar ending to my story (the one that ends in no debt :p)

    Thanks for all of the great info!

    Tori

    Reply
    • Hey there Tori!

      Step one with climbing out of the hole is to STOP using the credit cards. I have tried to get out of debt by continuing to use credit cards, and I can tell you it is extemely difficult 🙁 I don’t recommend it!

      Credit Karma is probably right about your credit score, but ask yourself this: Why do you want a great credit score?

      In today’s world, a high credit score is associated with having wealth and being in great financial shape. However, all it really does is it tells creditors you are great at borrowing money and paying it back on time. I could give you $1 million tomorrow and your score wouldn’t go up a single point! So, yes your credit score may go up if you do what Credit Karma says, but are you planning on going back into debt in the future? Just something to think about. Hmmmmmmmm…..

      Reply
      • Chris-

        You’ll be happy to know that I have stopped using the cards! I guess the only one I am sad about not using right now is my cash rewards Chase Freedom! But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, am I right?

        I want a great credit score so I have options, if need be. I want it so I can buy a home, start a business (or 2, or 5!), or so I can purchase investment opportunities.

        I know that these can all be purchased with cash, but sometimes it pays to have a great score! For example, my parents finance their vehicles (to get the better price) and then a couple months later they pay them off in cash. I would like to have that flexibility.

        I definitely don’t plan on going into personal debt in the future.
        I do think there is a difference between business debt & personal debt.
        So I guess to answer your question, if I have to go into debt temporarily to get ahead in the future, then yes.

        Obviously I would love to pay for everything in cash, but to get the cash to start my own business would take me years & years on our income (even without debt!) and I don’t want to wait years & years to get ahead 🙂

        Tori

        Reply
  • “Credit cards don’t buy things, money does.” – BOOM!

    We have 1 credit card to use for house stuff, and then I have 1 credit card for all biz stuff.

    I don’t chase rewards or anything – I like my cards like I like my life – simple 🙂

    Though I do want to try using all cash for a month and see how it goes…

    Reply
    • Jay,

      Simple = Awesome. I often will talk with someone who has created an incredible plan using speadsheets, balance transfers, double points, etc. to take advantage of the credit card companies. It’s like a side hustle for credit cards and chasing points. After he explains it to me, I tell him, “If you applied this effort to simply investing for retirement, you’d be a millionaire.

      Boom-shaka-laka! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Chris. Still loving the blogs. So that you know that there is Someone out here reading them here is my answer to your questions…
    Yes we have credit cards, 2 of them. The 1st is associated with our debit card. It gives money back for certain purchases such as gas for the car and travel tickets so this is what I use it for. I have a variable direct debit so it gets paid off completely each month. The other card currently has a balance that I couldn’t get cleared on a previous card (now closed) and I took advantage of an interest free transfer. This I am paying off as hard as I can and should get it cleared before the ‘free’ period is up.

    Reply
    • Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for your loyalty to Money Peach and the blog! Anyhow, it sounds like the first card you talk about is a Rewards Debit Card? If that’s the case, AWESOME! They work great because you get the same prizes you can get with a credit card without have to worry about going into debt. As far as your second card, keep pushing hard and get that thing paid off before Mr. Interest comes knocking at your door. I love it Geoff…keep up the great work my friend! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi!
    We have two credit cards. One for online purchases only. And the second is for regular household stuff. Including gas, groceries and a couple monthly utility bills. We pay our credit card off completely at the end of every week. I do gain points on my card. Although We pay off our card each week, I think we spend more money than we would if we dealt with cash only.
    I forgot my cards at home once and only had cash and debit and it felt like it “hurt” more to spend that money.
    I would like to move to cash and debit… Any advice on how to convince hubby to pay for gas inside instead of the pump ? Lol

    Reply
    • Hi Veronika!

      You said it exactly right: “I think we spend more money than we would if we dealt with cash only“. I recommend you really try to start using cash in 3 areas:

      1. Groceries
      2. Dining Out/Entertainment
      3. Shopping

      Please don’t ask your husband to get out of the car each time to pay cash. I want you to start using cash in areas of your life where we tend to overspend. Gas for your car is gas for your car….you simply need it. Rarely is it an expense that we overspend on. Plus, I don’t want your husband to hate me because he thinks I put you up to him walking inside to pay cash for gas when it’s either 110°F or -20°F outside 🙂

      Reply
  • We have two credit cards that are paid in full every month. I’ve never carried a balance and never will. But I will also never go to a cash/debit only environment because for some bizarre reason, whenever I try that I blow the budget and spend more money. Actually I know the reason. I can see my balance on my credit card immediately and at all times. When we try to use cash/debit I don’t know how much is in my husband’s wallet or what is still pending and vice versa. So our method works best for us. 🙂

    Reply
  • Credit cards – ZERO! We are debt free now including the mortgage, with no plans to go back! My credit score is plummeting (in direct relationship to our bank accounts soaring!) and I’m loving it.

    Reply
    • Holy amaze-balls!! Thanks so much for your comment.

      “Hi, my name is Samantha. I’m debt-free and I don’t worry about money.”

      How awesome for you!! 🙂

      Reply
  • My consultant buddy told me that you can get the second card on an account in just about any name you want. Banks definitely kill it anyway. The stadium in Jacksonville is named after EverBank. Who’s ever heard of them?

    Reply
  • Great Article! Cash is what buys things, not credit cards. Our 2-year old is hearing that lesson regularly: Daddy goes to work to earn the “monies & coins” that bought this food/toy/etc. Sometimes I want to just get rid of all cards entirely though, so that the connection is even more clear for our children (baby #2 is on the way).

    We have 3 cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom, and a basic Wells Fargo. Sapphire Preferred is because we lived overseas and didn’t want foreign transaction fees when we accessed our US funds; and now, even though we don’t eat out or travel a lot for personal reasons, I travel enough for work, and we eat out just enough to justify the expense. I will add that it is only barely better than not having it at all since it costs $95 a year, so it’s essential to run the numbers to ensure it is actually better than just using another card (it is for us). Freedom is for when the 5x point promotions are good, and Wells Fargo is just because it is 12 years old, and boosts our credit score. Paying them off every month is a must! I only paid $5 in interest one time about 8 years ago, and it made me sick. Never pay interest!!!

    I was tempted to get a store credit card recently, and this article just solidified the decision to not get the card!

    Reply
    • Hey there Gabe!

      Thanks for the comment my friend 🙂

      As much as I hate credit cards , you 100% get it. You’re fully aware of what is going on, and your kids are going to reap the benefits from it.

      Here’s the deal: My best friends all use credit cards and they are A-OK. They could be doing a lot better without them 🙂 – but they “get it” and will be fine in the long run.

      I’m glad you’re in a good financial spot and just remember how you got there and don’t leave it. Take care Gabe and thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Your poor dog, calling her out on her money-management skills in public like this. 😉 It is scary that they can pre-approve a dog for a credit card. Were they not screening a social security number for the pre-approved card? I guess that means they’ll loan $1,000 to anyone with a pulse in hopes that they get paid back with interest.

    I’ve always had two credit cards (mostly an AmEx and Discover). In the past 18 years, I’ve only carried a balance in maybe three of those months due to emergencies. Interest paid is probably in the tens of dollars, and rewards received are definitely in the thousands of dollars. I mostly use them for the rewards, but it’s also nice sometimes to have that extra 25 days’ grace period to pay without any interest, especially if other big expenses have come up. For example, I’ve been remodeling a fourplex for the past couple of months, and had to dip into my HELOC when my cash ran out, so I’m happy to have the extra 25 days interest-free to scrape together the cash (or dip into the HELOC a little later, saving interest) to pay the credit card bill.

    I do sometimes feel guilty for being a credit card reward pirate. I know the credit card companies make tons of money off the backs of most “normal” consumers who carry a balance, and that’s what pays for my rewards. I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad by taking a slice of that revenue for myself in the form of rewards, since nothing would really be gained by a moral refusal on my part to take the rewards.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment!

      The credit card companies still like you even if you’re paying your balance in full each and every month. Obviously the would rather you carry a balance and pay interest, but they know the science behind our behavior with plastic – meaning you spend more with the credit card than with cash, and they still get a % with each transaction.

      You seem like you have a pretty good handle on it, so I wouldn’t fix what’s not broken.

      Thanks again for your input – it’s a fun topic 🙂

      Reply
  • I used to have 1 credit card, with rewards points, pretty much all my expense go on there. This lets me track expenses, and it is always paid off in full. If I have the money, sure I could pay cash, but why not also get the rewards points & I’m lazy. I like the idea of swiping my card at the gas pump vs walking in to pre-pay in cash.
    I recently got a 2nd card, tied to airline benefits, because it will get my bags for free. My mom got my flight with mostly air miles and we’re hoping to do a family trip to Europe in a few years, so it makes sense. This one will also be paid off in full every month.
    It works for me, but I understand about setting an example for your kids, and that some people view credit cards as ‘magic money’.

    Reply
    • Hi Jacq,

      If you aren’t carrying a balance, then you’re probably going to be okay. However, a lot of the same tracking can also be done with a debit card or a Budget. As far as rewards points – there is an old saying that goes like this: “There’s no such thing as a FREE lunch.” Credit card companies are not in the business of losing money, and those other people who carry a balance are not paying for your rewards. They are paying the bank lots of money. The question then comes, “How are the credit cards making money off of me if I pay it off in full each month and get FREE rewards points?”

      The answer is simple: You spend more to EARN those points. When you spend more, just about everyone wins….just about 😉

      Reply
      • Most credit cards offer a bit more protection than debit cards regarding fraud/ stolen cards, reversing transactions, which is part of my reason for using credit vs debit. Retailers pay credit card companies transaction fees, which is transferred to the customer, some times as a blatant fee, sometimes worked into the cost of the item.
        I know the rewards program is there to entice the consumer to spend more using that company’s card. There are certain expenses I have (gas to get to/from work, groceries ), and I may as well be rewarded. I’ve also found the spend to reward ratio is ridiculous, but I use the points for gift cards at Christmas. If my mindful spending during the year then saves me ($100+) on gifts later, I’m ok with the process for me.
        I know credit cards aren’t the best choice for everyone and had an ex who used primarily debit and regularly over spent and got charged overdraft fees. Personal accountability and responsibility are just that, personal.

        Reply
  • I currently have three. Two are paid off, but are being maintained with one tiny purchase a month, because I want my Credit Utilization Ratio to be excellent when I apply for a mortgage in the next year or so. I use the Rewards Card for life. My habits were not great for awhile, but I am on track to pay it off by November and have at least two more “free” trips on it.

    Reply
  • One credit card, for gas, online purchases, and some big expenses. Paid in full every month, and I didn’t even have it until I was 21 because my parents instilled fear of credit card debt in me when I was growing up.

    Reply
    • Colleen,

      Promise yourself you’re going to pay them off every single month. As soon as you notice yourself getting behind a few payments and carrying interest, then it’s time to move away. It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things, but be careful! When you play with snakes, sometimes you get bit 🙂

      Reply
  • We use one credit card for everything that we buy but it is paid in full every month. I did the credit card debt thing and those interest rates are for suckers. Great post!

    Reply
    • Albert Einstein has the best quote of all when it comes to interest rates: “Those who understand interest earn it, and those who don’t, pay it“. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • waitwhat? You gave them disinformation and they gave you a discredit card?

    Holy mackerel. You realize what this means: the dog must have an Experian account by now. I wonder what her credit rating is? Maybe she could take out a new mortgage for you…

    How do I manage a credit card (and all that)? I have an AMEX card for myself and one for my S-corp. I charge just about everything on them and I pay them off in full at the end of each month. I never charge more than I can afford to pay: if the cash isn’t in the bank account, I don’t buy things.

    Costco tried to foist Citigroup’s Visa card on me. I’ve done business with Citigroup before and would not do so again if they were the last bank on the planet. So I canceled the Costco Visa cards. Had already obtained new, no-annual-fee kickback cards from AMEX.

    It means I’ll be shopping less at Costco, and when I do, I’ll be paying with checks. This is probably a good thing: Costco is the Home of the Impulse Buy. Looking forward to seeing a better bottom line at the end of each month.

    Reply
  • We do have one credit card.

    Now, this is after paying off $14,000+ in credit card debt, and we’re not having any of that nonsense ever again.

    The reason we keep our credit card is to take advantage of reward points, security, and extended warranties. There’s more security with credit cards, which we prefer, since we can dispute charges more easily. But we also love the cash rewards we get. But we’re only able to enjoy these rewards after being EXTREMELY CAREFUL with this card. It’s always paid off automatically before its due date; and we double check it to make sure.

    The upside is that we’ll be able to completely finance Christmas presents with these cash rewards, so the holidays won’t hit us so hard this year. Credit cards aren’t for everyone, and that’s totally cool, too. For us it just happened to make sense.

    Reply
  • So, if the card is in the dog’s name, who is legally responsible for the debt?

    Reply
    • I think the credit card company since they’re dumb enough to send debt to a dog 😉

      Reply

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