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LETTERS

Taking charge of credit cards

March 08, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Time to hold credit card issuers to account," March 4:

My card's monthly finance charge was recently and unexpectedly increased to about 23% annually. I've decided to take some money from savings to allow me the satisfaction of paying off the account in full, with my instructions to close the account for reasons that are perfectly articulated in Mr. Lazarus' column, which will be enclosed.

A small blip on their radar, maybe, but one that will be sweet from my perspective. If enough people are similarly moved, the credit card houses may realize they're shooting off their own toes by inviting the cancellation of cash streams that will likely never return.

I look forward to escaping their clutches.

Kurt Klemencic

Sacramento

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Interest rates that are charged on credit card accounts are excessive. Most cards were issued with a low bait rate and then increased. One way to ease the burden on today's credit card holders would be to apply usury standards to credit cards or to require the credit card companies to maintain the original bait rate.

Unfortunately only the state Legislature or Congress can control banks and credit card companies through regulations. Lowering the interest rates on credit cards would only be a first step, but a necessary one.

D. S. Richmond

Riverside

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I shake my head in wonder at columns like this. Why would any responsible person ever carry a credit card balance? Before credit cards arrived in the 1960s, people paid their bills -- why not now?

Of course, it's human weakness that keeps people from planning ahead to live within their means and survive unforeseen setbacks. Credit card companies exist to exploit that. The root of the current credit crisis is the desire to have a richer life without paying for it.

Let's stop whining about credit card interest rates, which I agree should be lower, and start doing whatever it takes to pay those balances down to zero. Consumer advisors should emphasize and reemphasize prudence and caution in managing personal finances.

Bart Mills

Manhattan Beach

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