Yes, like Elliot from Mr Robot, I “kinda” work at Evil Corp (but not the same kind of evil).
No, I’m not talking about this blog, but of my daily job. I’m not gonna say “real” because blogger or social media manager are real jobs with real work to do and real money to make.
Yes, I do blog for pleasure. No, I’m not masochist. Or just a bit. I don’t know, I like to tell my life to strangers, stories, experiences, etc.
So why ?
I work in a bank. Actually, not really a bank but a credit card company.
They offer a free credit card that you can use up to a certain limit and at the end of the month, they send you a statement, with how much of the credit you used and how much you have to pay. Until then, that sounds pretty normal, and doesn’t feel that devilish.
What’s the catch then ?
Well, the amounts you used and you have to pay are not the same, the second one being something like 3% of the total amount. Why not ? Because they don’t want you to pay the total amount, because that’s how they make money. They charge interests on the amount you have left to pay, just like any other loan, actually. They charge around 20% interests (annually). That is a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, this is legal, as it is written in the contract, and no, it’s not in the smallest possible font, but it is at the very end… Where most of the customers don’t bother to read. And this, kids, is
how I met your mother why you should always read any contract before you accept anything.
They prefer to emphasize on the fact that the credit card is free of charge (activation, daily use, overseas use, atm use, lock, replacement, etc.), that it is a gold, or even platinum card (to make you feel important), which is normal, marketing wise.
Lets take an example. (I simplified it because it’s a lot more complicated in reality)
You have a 5000 € credit limit (it can go up to 10 000 for long-time good customers) and you have used 3000 to pay, I don’t know, vacations. You don’t really have the money this month (maybe you shouldn’t have bought those vacations in the first place, but that’s another problem), or maybe you received the statement at the end of the month, and you forgot to pay. But it can also be a bad month, where you had to pay for car repair or unexpected expenses. Life sometimes sucks.
Interests are computed like that: 3000 * (20 / 100 / 12) = 50 € of interests (the 20% are annual, and have to be converted to a monthly rate first)
Boom. You just lost 50 €. Which means you now owe 3050 €.
You pay the minimum amount. Which is here 90 €. This amount first deduct the interests amount, not the actual credit, which means that you have actually reimbursed 40 €, and not 90 €.
You don’t even pay the minimum amount, and there, it is bad for you. You become a delinquent. They won’t send the cops to your place, but you will enter in collection (because you owe the bank money, and they never forget that). If it’s just one month (a mistake, or an oversight) or two, you can still come back to the normal status with no penalty. We’re still humans (or so they say), and everyone makes mistakes. But usually, there’s a reason if you don’t pay, and your situation rarely gets better the following months.
Last time, we were checking some customers while doing a daily task, and we realized that this person was reimbursing just a little bit more than the amount of interests he generates every month. And at this rate, it would take him years to come back, and that is, if he’s consistent. And he would have paid 3 or 4 times the amount in interests. That made me feel sad. For him, but also for the thousands of customers we have that are in the same case. I wish I could call him and just tell him “If you can, just reimburse everything, put your balance back to 0 and make sure it stays like that every month”.
That day, I really felt like I was going to throw up my lunch. I was working there only since a few months.
You’re gonna tell me, just leave. Yes, obviously, I could. But it wouldn’t make a difference. All the banks are like that. And I would do it if I could find the same salary and advantages in a corporation that is more respectful of his customers.
I like my job. I just don’t like how customers are treated sometimes. Because I’m a customer too.
If you do have a credit card, or if you plan to take one, anywhere, and for your own sake, just reimburse the full amount (or the maximum you can) before the end of every month. You’ll do yourself the greatest favor in the world.