Could Credit Card Squeeze Help Consumers?

Wilkenson.jpg News reports of tough times in the financial industry tell of credit card customers getting the squeeze in advance of the start next February of the new credit card protection act,  Whether through higher interest rates, lowered credit limits or increased fees, credit card companies seem determined to do their damnedest to bleed consumers dry before some restrictions are placed on them.

I wonder, though, if this might be a good thing?  Several people I’ve spoken to muse that they hope the recession that we’re now mucking through will be enough to change people’s high-spending ways and consumerist habits.  I’ve been skeptical that the lessons will be learned or, at the very least, will last very long once the economy begins to rebound.

However, if credit cards companies keep tightening the screws, it might become so unpleasant and so painful to pay by credit card that many consumers may once again learn the habit of paying cash and only buying what they have the money to pay for.  It seems to me that that, more than anything, would help us turn the corner on our instant gratification, buy-cheap-crap-now-so-we-can-throw-it-away-later, IKEA/Wal-Mart mentality towards life.



Chris hit by credit card fraud

Credit Card It took two years to happen, but almost as if to welcome me into my third year in Bangkok, I was bitten by my first case of credit card fraud.  When I woke up this morning, I had a voicemail on Skype from my credit card company asking me to call them to verify some purchases.  When I called in there were several purchases from high name fashion and cosmetic stores – the companies were based in France but I’ll assume the charges were made here in Thailand – totalling about $4,500 on Monday.

Who got the number?  Hard to know for certain but I haven’t used the card in several days nor have any charges appeared until after I used it at the Food Hall at Zen department store at Central World Plaza yesterday evening.  My guess is that there is some scam going on with the ladies working the check-out lines there.

I’m not certain whether I should lodge a complaint with their management or even inform the police.  I do want to go back to Central World and see if the names on the list of charges correspond with shops there.  Even to talk to the store managers and make them aware of the fraudulent activity.

Thankfully, Chase was on the job and spotted the unusual charges.  Bless those spending algorithms.