Credit cards are now the norms every one uses it. They are the safest way to make payments to the sellers this method carries no risk of theft or anything else. [Read more]

Pros and Cons of Credit Cards

by Martin Lukac

Credit cards are a major staple of American life. We have all been weaned on the idea that you can "buy now, pay later" or "have what you want now" or otherwise cave in to the natural instinct for immediate gratification. Credit cards prey upon this very urge. What is most interesting about credit cards is that they begin to be used in late adolescence, at just the time when, developmentally, children are strengthening their ability to delay gratification. Credit cards have pros and cons related to this development and to other facets of American life. These pros and cons should be carefully weighed before applying for credit cards.

Understanding delayed gratification

Much of a parent's role is to socialize children in order to be able to live within the rules of the greater society and much of this socialization requires learning how to delay gratification. Young children want what they want when they want it and have trouble understanding the concept of "later". Delayed gratification is important because it is not possible for everyone to always have what they desire in an immediate sense. Credit cards are interesting because they begin to be offered to adolescents (usually at the start of college) just as these adolescents have learned the keys to delaying gratification. This is interesting because credit cards work on the opposite principle, telling you that you can have what you want now and worry about it later. The schism between credit card theory and gratification theory creates both problems and benefits to American society.

The problems with credit cards

By offering credit cards to children who have not fully learned how to delay gratification, American society creates a consumer subset who tend to buy impulsively with little attention to whether or not they will be able to repay the debt accrued by purchases made on credit cards. This, in turn, creates a subset of Americans who are increasingly in debt and unable to make repayments, resulting in problems with personal credit and economic balance.

The reality of credit cards is that you do eventually have to pay back what you owe and at much greater cost than that of the initial purchase as a result of the high interest rates of most credit cards. The disparity between learning to delay gratification and being told that it is preferable to delay responsibility has led to an interesting phenomenon in America in which adolescence seems to be increasingly prolonged. The mixed messages children receive from credit cards help to reinforce this prolonged adolescence which can be a drain on parents and society as a whole.

The benefits of credit cards

Credit cards do also have benefits which should not be discounted. The major benefit of credit cards is that they allow people to make large purchases, such as those for cars or expensive semester textbooks, even without the upfront cash to do so. Responsible repayment of credit cards allows card holders to develop quality spending habits and fit into middle class American life. Credit cards help for emergencies (for example, medical bills caused by accidents). Additionally, negotiating the mixed messages between credit cards and societal rules for delayed gratification can help adolescents develop stronger ethics and a basic moral code for living.

About the Author

Martin Lukac, represents, a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies! Visit today.

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