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Does Media Marketing Affect Your Credit Card Debt?

Apr 12, 2008
Credit cards are unquestionably one of the staples of modern finance. However the way we use them determines whether they are a boon to our modern way of life or a curse. If used properly, as a convenience tempered by self control and a basic understanding of our personal finances, credit cards provide many distinct advantages. Nevertheless, many cardholders, who use their cards without practical spending restraints, find themselves deeply in debt and searching for a way out.

A good part of this problem can be laid at the doorstep of the credit card companies themselves. They clearly understand the 'emotional appeal' of a line of credit and market to it very effectively in newspapers, magazines, television, direct mail and on the Internet. As a matter of fact, the major credit card companies have some of the largest annual advertising budgets.

Advertising agencies Create Credit Card Appeal

Credit card advertising campaigns are planned and executed by some of America's premiere advertising agencies. They are scripted by gifted copywriters based upon extensive consumer research and supported with visual images that motivate and create brand preference. The appeal is undeniable and the offers appear to 'fit' precisely with consumer needs, especially during holiday seasons when consumer spending soars. The agencies that craft these ad programs know just what appeals to consumers.

They've Sold You, Now What?

Buying into media marketing appeals is not a bad thing in and of itself. There is certainly an important place for credit cards in our modern lives. They offer convenience and flexibility, eliminate the need to carry large amounts of cash or to continually write checks, and carry us over from paycheck-to-paycheck when necessary. Credit card ownership and spending are definitely affected by media marketing through high-powered advertising that convinces us of the advantages and the need. Much of this appeal is emotional and some even subconscious. In the end, however, how we handle our personal expenditures is a matter of self control, understanding finances in general and credit cards in particular. Failing to set personal spending limits and utilizing credit cards as if they were bottomless pits of buying power has ended up in financial disaster for all too many.

Learn To Use Credit Cards Wisely

Using credit cards intelligently begins with knowing the best cards to select. They are offered in widely-varying interest rates, with a potpourri of 'perks', with and without annual fees, and so on. If you have reasonably good credit, you will be deluged with card offers by mail, e-mail and a veritable blizzard of TV commercials and print ads. Choose one or two from well-known banks or financial institutions and with the lowest rates possible. Don't let the 'perks' influence your choice. Instead take them for just what they are: perks!

The most important thing to remember is that, as a general rule, your total debt should never exceed 25% of your net income from all sources. So if everything you owe each month totals 20%, limit your credit card expenditures to 5%.
About the Author
Shirley Bullington writes about credit card and unsecured debt issues. You will find articles as well as informative Reports and interviews with credit card debt specialists about credit card debt and unsecured debt and suggestions on resolutions at her site.
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