Could You Be Addicted to Credit Cards?

John Schmoll • May 24, 2018

With one look at statistics, it would be easy to think that credit card addiction is widespread in our society.

After all, when you see the average debt per card over $8,200, it is easy to see that credit cards can be a problem – but is it really an addiction?

Credit cards can make buying painless

When I struggled with credit card debt, it seemed so painless to swipe that little piece of plastic. It is almost a mindless act, as virtually most retailers have card readers.

When we do swipe, there is little feeling to it. It is said that paying with cash is the most painful because you actually see the money slip through your fingers. You don’t experience this with credit cards.

The credit card allows you to buy whatever item you choose to buy. You do not truly pay for that item for a month, which creates painless spending.

What is the underlying issue?

It is easy to see the statistics and think credit cards are a blight on society.

But credit cards are a tool that can be used to manage your finances, stretch your budget or even earn rewards. But like any tool, they could harm you (financially) if used incorrectly.

The problem grows when you use this tool to aid your spending addiction. You can become enslaved to your spending.

“The problem grows when you use

this tool to aid your spending addiction.”

That was the case for me years ago, but the credit cards were not the problem. The problem was a lack of contentment, and credit cards allowed me to fill that empty void with spending.

How do we solve this?

One might read this and think the message is, “go out there and use credit cards all you can — credit cards are perfectly harmless.”

That, however, is not the intent. Credit cards can do many things – many of which can be harmful.

I encourage you to look at why you you’re overspending and take steps to control that spending. If credit cards play a part in that, stop using them. They’re likely only aiding your spending ways.

From personal experience, I know it’s difficult to control this addiction — but it is possible. Once you deal with that, then you can move on to things like budgeting.

These new ideas will help you manage your spending and make your money work for you instead of the other way around.

If you’re ready to accept the responsibility and have a profound need for temporary cash, then you may be ready to open new credit card.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

John Schmoll

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a blog created to help people experience financial freedom through frugality. John is passionate about budgeting, saving and investing and enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others so they can avoid making some of the mistakes he made. A veteran of the financial services industry, John has a master's of business administration in finance and experience as a licensed stockbroker. You can find John online at and follow him at @frugalrules. Connect with him on Google+.