The Credit Trap

So I was watching Insight on SBS tonight – the episode was called “Wanting More”. It should be online as a podcast in the next day or so if you missed it. The main things I got out of it were:

  • It doesn’t matter how much you earn – people generally live beyond their means and you can fall into the “Credit Trap” at any time if you are not responsible. Buy this cool thing on sale this month, buy that extra-extra cool thing interest free next month and before you know it over a  whole year  you are in deep deep trouble.
  • People on the low end of the income spectrum are suffering more than ever before due to the current high cost of housing. However Australias welfare system is pretty good as they have access to subsidised rent and government housing options if they are really in trouble.
  • Our credit reporting system is one of the most minimal in the world. There is no way for a financial institution to know how many credit cards you have as your credit file only records applications for credit and the amount of credit requested. Generally only negative things are listed on your credit file – nothing good (such as a cleared debt) is recorded.
  • No matter what the banks or other lending institutions say – they do prey on people by offering unsolicited credit cards. I assume they do this because the salesperson at the bank are on a commission for the amount of credit that they can get on the books. I am sure this happens for not only credit cards, but home loans and unsecured loans as well. Sure they might be tightening up on their due diligence these days but thats only because they have been so lax over the past 10+ years with so much bad debt around the place that can no longer be serviced.

No matter how much the Australian Bankers Association claim how “responsible” banks are when lending, blind freddie can see the evidence points at the banks being resposible for many of the current global economic issues that we are now facing today. And ultimately it is the low income earner that is now paying the price for the banking industry’s negligence over the past few years.

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