I was seventeen the first time I received a credit card offer in the mail. My parents swooped in and took the offer away before I could lay my hands on it. Because I was not interested in getting a credit card at that time, the rejection from my parents did not seem like such a big deal.
Fast forward to when I was almost nineteen. I was shopping with my mother, and the store offered me a 40% discount to open a store charge card. I signed up, not really knowing to what I had agreed, but I was happy to save 40% on my shoes. What I didn’t know at that time was that the store credit card would teach me all about managing a credit card and building credit. Unfortunately, these lessons came after I missed my first credit card payment. As a result, I suffered the consequences. The cost of my shoes were only $30.00, but because I was late, I also had to pay a $35.00 late fee plus interest. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot!
I was not very successful with my first credit card experience, but I did learn a few lessons.
Lesson 1 – There are Dangers to Borrowing: The Bible does not say borrowing is a sin, but it does warn against it. Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” This showed me that I need to be cautious in my credit use, because it puts me in a position that may be less than ideal.
Lesson 2 – Count the Costs: I also think back to Luke 14:8, which reads, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he as enough to complete it?” Before using your credit card, count the cost. Would you be able to pay off the credit card the same day you made the purchase?
Lesson 3 – Credit Card Use Requires Responsibility and Stewardship: We are called to be stewards of the resources God has given us which includes our money. Through my lack of responsibility, I poorly stewarded my resources in my first credit card experience.
If you are considering getting a credit card, I urge you to consider the dangers of borrowing, count your costs, and understand the new responsibility and stewardship expectations that you will carry with the credit card. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but there is no reason that you need to as well!