A Credit Card Fast
Posted by Gail | Filed under Debt Traps
Last Fall I created a brouhaha around Credit Education Week and asked y’all to jump on the bandwagon. It was all about changing the use of the credit score in Canada, and holding lenders accountable for their lending decisions. I did a lot of media, tweeted a ton and used all my FB resources to get the message out.
Two things surprised me – maybe disappointed me – about the experience:
1. I couldn’t believe how many people couldn’t see beyond their own noses to the big picture, and
2. Even as I rocked the boat, apathy held tight.
“Beyond our noses, what are you talking about Gail?” I had outraged comments come through on my website and on Twitter from people who were totally unwilling to stop using their cards for even ONE WEEK because of the “points” they’d forgo. Really, a one-week fast would lose you so many points you’re willing to let lenders have their way with you (I’m being so polite here) and the credit scoring system be used against you? Wow!
“Apathy, that’s kinda strong, dontcha think Gail?” How many people sent a letter to their member of parliament? How many people followed up with more letters until they got a commitment to make changes?
Even as we like to bitch and whine about how the banks are the bad guys, how politicians don’t do what WE want, and how small and inconsequential we feel, when offered the opportunity to do something that might make a change, we put our own small needs first (those points) and can’t be bothered to take action.
Is it any wonder that our rights continue to be eroded, our needs ignored and our sense of right and wrong minimized.
I’m pissed. When Bill C-10 passed recently even as the government was under investigation for dicking with the electoral process I couldn’t believe our apathy. Do you know that legislators are passing new laws to take away women’s rights to their own bodies? Do you know that in Arizona, there’s pending legislation where companies can fire women who are on the “Whore Pill” for reasons they don’t consider acceptable? Do you realize that some U.S. states have reinstated debtor’s prison? Can’t happen here in Canada you say. Really? So your credit score isn’t being used when it comes to insurance premiums here after taking a firm foothold in the U.S.? YES IT IS. And your credit score isn’t being used when it comes to getting a job after taking a firm foothold in the U.S.? YES IT IS.
Time to wake up chicks and dudes. Time to acknowledge that if you can’t be bothered to DO something to make it all stop, you’ll have only yourself to blame when you find yourself on a train to a place where your rights have evaporated.
It may not seem like a big deal to you, but believe me, allowing that credit score to take hold in Canada as it has done in the U.S. means we’re headed to exactly the same place the U.S. has been trying to recover from for years.
I’m about to try this again, with less media coverage and more from a grass-roots place. This time I’m going to ask people to put away their credit cards for a week (June 4 to June 8), write their MP and send a copy directly to the Minister of Finance and the head of the Bank of Canada. It would also be great if you sent a copy to the President of whichever bank you deal with.
I made it easy last time by providing the letter (still on my website under resources) and links to MP lists. Not this time. If you think this is important, you’ll have to do some of the work yourself, finding the names and mailing or email addresses you need. (Feel free to share your info with others in the comments section here.) Join the School Lenders Facebook page. Tweet it: #SchoolLenders. Tell your friends, family, anyone who will listen. If you don’t think this is important enough to do something about it, maybe I’m just whistling in the wind. Maybe I’ll stop.