The payment mechanism that consumers use to purchase goods and services has changed dramatically over the last 100 years and credit card debt has soared in recent years.
Proprietary charge cards came on the scene in the early 1900s, followed by “travel and entertainment” cards in 1950. These cards did not have a revolving credit feature, it wasn’t until 1966, that the first general-purpose credit card (such as American Express, Visa, and MasterCard) was introduced.
Before credit cards, almost all consumer transactions were in cash while business payments were in cash or checks. In 1970, only 16 percent of households had a credit card, but by 1995, approximately 65 percent had at least one credit card. In 2004, the average credit-card debt of US households was $9,300, up from $2,966 in 1990, according to research firm CardWeb.com – – that’s 214% more debt. Today, the average American family carries eight credit cards and credit card debt and personal bankruptcies are also now at an all time high. In 2009, analysts predicted credit-card defaults could total more than $75 billion.
In Debt We Trust (Movie Trailer)
Lorenzo Fenix Presents: An in-depth account of the ins and out of the credit card business in America. In Debt We Trust was written, Produced and Directed by Dannny Schechter. Once you watch this movie, you’ll gain valuable insight into the credit card game.
One of the results of all this debt is the destruction of the middle class and the transfer of wealth to the global elite. As people become more dependent on debt for their survival, they become defacto slaves to the ruling international bankers. The Bible tells us…
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7
The 2006 documentary film titled Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders chronicles the abusive practices in the credit card industry while showing how banks and other creditors deliberately market to people who are more likely to have problems paying.
The major credit card companies target a younger audience, in particular college students, many of whom are already in debt with college tuition fees and college loans and who typically are less experienced at managing their own finances. A recent study by United College Marketing Services has shown that student credit lines have increased to over $6,000. Credit card usage has tripled since 2001 amongst teenagers as well.
In 2011 the student load debt issue spilled onto the streets of American cities as Occupy Wall Street protesters took aim at the growing student loan debt carried by the nation’s college students. Protesters in Zuccotti Park, for example, tried to gather one million signatures from students vowing to ignore their loan payments. The New York Federal Reserve Bank puts the total student debt at $550 billion. Sallie Mae, the college loan giant speculates there is $757 billion of outstanding student loans. Lending this year alone is projected to be in excess of $112 billion, which will send the total student loan debt owed by American students to over $1 trillion with America’s students now owing more in college loan debt than Americans owe in credit card debt.
With no legal limit on the amount of interest or fees that can be charged, credit cards have become the most profitable sector of the American banking industry: more than $30 billion in profits last year alone. In the Secret History of the Credit Card, PBS FRONTLINE and The New York Times examine how the credit card industry became so pervasive, so lucrative, and so politically powerful.
Because the fees banks charge it’s credit card customers make up such a huge part of their profits, Providian, Bank One, Chase, and Citibank have all been found to “roll back” posting times to extract more late fees. The due dates were “rolled back” from 1pm to 10am because mail was delivered in the afternoon so due dates were actually rolled back to charge more late fees.
Universal default is another corrupt feature of many North American credit card contracts. When a cardholder is late paying a particular credit card issuer, not only can that card’s interest rate can be raised, but universal default allows other card issuers to increase rates on their cards as well. Being late on one credit card will potentially affect all your credit cards. (Citibank voluntarily stopped this practice in March 2007 and Chase stopped the practice in November 2007.) Some of the nation’s influential top credit card issuers, who are among the top fifty corporate contributors to political campaigns, have successfully opposed Congressional regulations outlawing the practice.
“What’s in Your Wallet?”
In 1950, the Diners Club issued the first “travel and entertainment” card. In 1958, American Express introduced its Green Card, another “travel and entertainment” card. That same year, Bank of America launched its BankAmericard credit card and in 1965 began subscribing licensing agreements with other banks. In 1967, Master Charge was licensed by United California Bank (subsequently merged into Wells Fargo), and the Bank of California (subsequently merged into the Union Bank of California) as a competitor to the BankAmericard. With the help of New York’s Marine Midland Bank, now HSBC Bank USA, these banks joined with the Interbank Card Association (ICA) to create “Master Charge: The Interbank Card”.
Bank of America gave up control of the BankAmericard program in 1970 when various BankAmericard issuer banks took control of the program, creating National BankAmericard Inc. (NBI), an independent non-stock corporation which would be in charge of managing, promoting and developing the BankAmericard system within the United States.
By 1972, BankAmericard had spread to 15 countries, and in1974, IBANCO, a multinational member corporation, was founded to manage the international BankAmericard program. In 1976, the directors of IBANCO determined that bringing the various international networks together into a single network with a single name internationally would be in the best interests of the corporation; however in many countries, there was still reluctance to issue a card associated with Bank of America. For this reason, in 1977 BankAmericard, Chargex, Barclaycard, Carte Bleue, and all other licensees united under the new name, “Visa”, which retained the distinctive blue, white and gold flag. NBI became Visa U.S.A., and IBANCO became Visa International. In 1979, “Master Charge: The Interbank Card” was renamed simply “MasterCard”.
Credit cards are very profitable for banks. Critical to the success of these charge cards has been universal acceptance by merchants and influential advertising to consumers to use them instead of cash. MasterCard’s current “Priceless” advertising campaign, furst run in 1997, is “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
Corrupt Banking System
Money As Debt
This highly informative and easy to understand film covers just about everything that isn’t taught in school regarding the corrupt banking system. It explains how these institutions get away with robbing the unsuspecting public by creating monetary policies designed to enslave society, while keeping the system in a perpetual state of rising debt.