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One of the things you keep hearing online is that credit cards are gamed against the individual. Is this true? is so, apart from paying off all charges before interest gets accrued, is there anything else a person needs to do to come on top of the system?

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    "One of the things you keep hearing online is that credit cards are gamed against the individual." Who says this? – RonJohn Sep 4 at 2:18
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    Because there are a lot of people (most, in fact) who pay their cards off every month, and treat the CC as "pay once every month instead of haul cash (or a debit card that can get hacked and your checking account drained) everywhere". – RonJohn Sep 4 at 2:22
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    @RonJohn: One can also take advantage of cash back on purchases, or signup bonuses & 0% interest periods. It's IMHO fair to say that the system (like so much else in life) is gamed against financially improvident individuals, and in favor of the provident ones. (Which has little to do with one's actual income, BTW.) – jamesqf Sep 4 at 2:59
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It's gamed against people who lack basic financial literacy, which is a depressingly large number.

Credit cards make money three different ways:

  1. Fees charged to the merchants.
  2. Direct fees for customers uneducated enough to pay this
  3. Interest charged to customers uneducated enough to carry a balance

My current "main" card has zero fees, I get about 2.65% cash back on all charges and I don't carry a balance. It's a Visa card that typically charges 3% to the merchants, but the bank is still quite happy to live on a 0.35% margin.

Fees and interest are icing on the cake and the reason why this is such a profitable business. Most customers know that these are terrible things to pay for but but they choose to do so and they pay a hefty price for it.

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    I was financially literate, but hated doing the bills and keeping track of our spending. (Naturally, our finances suffered.) – RonJohn Sep 4 at 3:45

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