How To Go 30 Years Without A Credit Card

Consumer Reports staffer Greg Daugherty has gone 30 years without a credit card. Why? He doesn’t need one.

I recently reached what I bet is a rare milestone: I have now gone 30 years, basically my entire working life so far, without a credit card.

This may make me seem like some kind of nut, or at least an anachronism. You know, the type of person who still isn’t convinced that indoor plumbing is worth the investment.

I do have what’s sometimes called a “travel and entertainment” (as opposed to credit) card, in my case American Express. I’m not here to plug Amex, but I believe a card like that, which has to be paid off in full each month, imposes a certain restraint that could keep many of us out of financial trouble.

30 years without a credit card [Consumer Reports]

Comments

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  1. hi says:

    i havent had one ever goin on 36 years.

  2. timmus says:

    I can’t help wondering what his FICO score is.

  3. B says:

    So his solution for not having a credit card is to have a n American Express card? I thought they were credit cards.

  4. Amy Alkon says:

    I have a credit card, but I don’t think of it as one. I pay it off like it’s an Amex card, every month, in full, and I get United Miles for it. I put everything on it — from my cell phone bill to my home phone bill to my cable and Internet. My restraint is internal, imagine that.

  5. RandoX says:

    Must not buy a lot of stuff on the Internet.

  6. CharlieFogg says:

    I also don’t carry a balance and have never missed a payment. The CC is just for convenience and minor perks of points or miles, as well as a consolodated bill. If he never actually had a credit card, that would be impressive.

  7. My dad has had a two credit cards since 1957 and has paid them off, in full, every month.

    50 years! Go Dad!

  8. loganmo says:

    @B:

    A normal AMEX card is not like a normal credit card in that it is not a revolving account. In order to not be in default, the entire balance must be paid off every month.

  9. samurailynn says:

    @B: There’s a special kind of Amex card that requires you to pay the balance in full every month. Therefor it isn’t really a revolving line of credit.

  10. ohiomensch says:

    Since when is American Express NOT a credit card? Just because it has to be paid in full every month? Isn’t he still charging purchases for the float time? Now if he said he had NO cards and strictly paid cash for everything at the time of purchase, then I think I might be impressed. But really, don’t we all know a lot of people who do that?

  11. JustAGuy2 says:

    So, he’s got a charge card not a credit card. Not really that much of a difference.

  12. nutrigm says:

    I wish I could pay mortgage with Credit Card! Does anyone know if this can be done somehow? that would be so cool. Imagine getting 1% of your mortgage payment back in rewards points!!

    • Sarah of Get Cooking says:

      @nutrigm: I believe that this can be done occasionally but the convenience charge often negates the 1% rewards points. I also imagine it wouldn’t give you the greatest credit score to be seen taking short-term loans (using your CC) to pay off long-term ones (mortgage), even if you pay it off every month.

  13. JustAGuy2 says:

    @samurailynn:

    That’s the standard Amex (i.e. Green/Gold/Platinum/Black), actually. It’s only the Blue cards that are credit, as opposed to charge, cards.

  14. Whitey Fisk says:

    I have several credit cards.

    /pats self on back

  15. darkened says:

    @timmus: Assuming a perfect payment history on his American express, My guess would be around a flat 700. Depending on the number of loans he’s had for mortgage and/or cars etc his score could be a 780.

  16. sixseeds says:

    @Amy Alkon: Seconded. Credit cards aren’t the devil, lack of impulse control is. They’re kind of a necessary evil and you have more consumer and fraud protection (eg chargebacks – thanks Consumerist!) than you would with cash or debit cards. I pay my credit cards in full every month, and seeing my spending totaled keeps me in check.

  17. jamesdenver says:

    Well most of us agree the benefits to a credit card make it worth having one. (online, travel, emergencies)

    So as long as his “non” credit card is doing that good for him. But like the above commenter says to have 5k af available spending yet NOT spend it requires admirable discipline as well.

  18. sixseeds says:

    Also, doesn’t the green AmEx come with an annual fee? If you pay the whole balance every month, isn’t it more cost-effective to have a fee-free credit card?

  19. AMetamorphosis says:

    I must say that I commend you on not using credit cards.

    I have a different perspective on credit cards though. Unfortunately, our monetary system seems to be built upon credit … buy now, pay later. As a result, I have learned to run most of my bills through credit cards and PAY THEM IN FULL as soon as I use them. ( I literally sign on and use online bill paying to pay whatever I spent that day. ) By doing so, I have received thousands of dollars in rebates, points, etc. I do NOT carry balances so basically, those that do are subsidizing a better life-style for me.

    I have a FICO score of 771 and am treated much better at establishments because they “think” I have $$$ when I use those platinum cards. In reality, I’m the same as the guy that uses cash … except I pay 5% less that he does.

  20. JMH says:

    (Yes, I know this is thread drift.)

    Is there any reason, in terms of benefits (by which I mean actual financial benefits, not the psychological benefit of forcing myself to pay the balance in full every month) why I would want an AmEx Green (which has an annual fee) instead of the Blue I have now (which has no annual fee)?

  21. yesteryear says:

    no credit here. not even a ‘charge card’ like amex. i only recently got the visa symbol on my ATM card, too. i’m insane. but i like paying for things with cash. oh, and my FICO isn’t too bad because i’m have a car and student loan in good standing. its possible to live without credit!

  22. When the smug from this post hits the smug from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech, the result will be a storm the likes of which has never been seen…

  23. ironchef says:

    I suppose not being able rent a car or reserve a hotel room are tradeoffs I can’t do without.

  24. Me - now with more humidity says:

    You can rent a car without a credit card. Alamo accepts debit cards with a plane ticket.

  25. DeeJayQueue says:

    @RandoX: You can do that with a bank debit card as long as it’s got the Visa/MC logo on it. I do it all the time.

    That said, I think the spirit of why this story could be inspirational was missed when the guy said he has an Amex card.

    What would make it newsworthy is if he went 30 years with no plastic at all. No Visa, no MC, no Amex, no nothing. With the exception of a debit-only card for purchasing. That would have made a statement about how in this world where it’s increasingly difficult to get by without such things (i.e. renting cars, getting hotel rooms, buying things online, paying bills, etc.) it’s still possible and here’s how the guy did it.

    I have been without a credit card for about 7 or 8 years now. I have my bank card that’s got the Visa logo on it, so I can use it like a credit card, but it’s not. I can’t rent a car without them asking for a $400 deposit and 2 utility bills. I can’t rent tools at all. Hotels are some-do some-don’t, but they all act sketchy about it. Soon it will be tough to buy airline tickets without a bona fide credit card.

  26. Bladefist says:

    he is losing out on a lot of benefits of using a credit card company. Pay it off before the bill and use them for all they got. This should really be an article of what not to do. Responsible credit card usage can be profitable.

  27. kmn842 says:

    Seriously people, credit cards are not evil. I don’t use my cards (gasp, i have 2 whole cards!) to subsidize a life that I can’t afford. Rather, I use it to get $15 or $20 in cash back every month. I get paid to use my credit card. How is that irresponsible?

  28. Islandkiwi says:

    I kind of fail to see the point of this. I have a credit card and I pay it off in full every month…do I get featured in an article too? Arguably I’m the better candidate, as I don’t have to pay any annual membership fees.

  29. SadSam says:

    A couple of points (and yes I have a credit card, although I only use it for business travel).

    1. When I was only using my Debit card for travel I never had any problemm renting a car or a hotel room. I’m not saying people don’t have trouble with this issue but I’m just letting folks know that its possible to travel without a credit card.

    2. After I had cancelled my 2 credit cards (I recently obtained new card for biz travel) both of which had 5-10 year positive payment history my FICO score was above 800 a year later its still above 800.

  30. trickonion says:

    I have the power to turn my Amex Blue Cash into an Amex charge by setting up my automatic payments to “pay in full” (right now they’re “pay minimum”)

    Cool huh?

  31. B says:

    @trickonion: Not really. Your monthly payments should already be pay in full.

  32. RagingBoehner says:

    @jamesdenver: Really? It’s not that admirable. Yeah, I have more than half my gross annual salary in available credit but it’s rare that I revolve more than a couple hundo each month. It’s not admirable to keep from digging yourself into debt just because you can — it’s common sense

  33. kdoyle55 says:

    I knot know why one wouldn’t use credit cards. They have so many benefits fraud protection, charge back abilities, extended warranties (amex), he list goes on and on. In addition to the fact that they can be used to make you money on purchases you would make anyway. Plus you dont have to carry cash. Credit cards are not evil, all too often people are just stupid when they use them.

  34. backbroken says:

    Going on 30 years I haven’t needlessly patted myself on the back for something trivial.

    What’s that?

    DAMN DAMN DAMN!!!

  35. LucasC says:

    I have a credit card but I have not eaten a banana in a month. That’s a pretty good streak.

  36. trickonion says:

    @B:

    Yeah good point, I just got it so I’m using the 0% apr for six months so I can get cash back on the card, and earn interest from the money in my credit union savings account

    After 6 months, to paid in full it goes!

  37. savvy999 says:

    @kdoyle55: You nailed it. The benefits of responsible CC usage far outweigh some sort of mythical Luddite-hero self-worship.

    Congratulations Greg, you don’t have a credit card (even though you actually do, and have been paying $50 a year to not have one, LOL). You don’t also have the thousands of dollars in cashback that I have gotten over the years, which was saved off and spread out in various CDs and MM funds, now earning interest at rates better than anything any bank could offer me now.

  38. weave says:

    I’m the same as this person. No credit card. For me it’s been 15 years. I also have an American Express charge card that I put everything on and is due in full each month. I also have a mortgage. I just paid cash for my car so no car payment. My FICO score is either 800 or 808 depending on the agency. On my credit report it shows my Amex card with a high balance of $26,000 (I had a major expense that month) and current balance of $1,800 (what my last statement was) and a long history of consistent, never-late, payments.

    So point to my reply is, in my case, not having credit cards obviously hasn’t impacted my credit score as someone wondered above.

  39. johnva says:

    @SadSam: One of the problems with using debit cards for hotels (and gas, too, for that matter) is that they will sometimes put large holds on your account. That can be really irritating if you don’t keep tons of money in your checking account at all times, especially since it can be fairly unpredictable whether they will do this or how big the hold will be.

    That’s without getting into the other problems with debit cards.

  40. AMetamorphosis says:

    The more I think about this the more I realize this is a “non-story”.

    Although you may have to pay your balance in full each month with AmEx, it’s STILL a charge plate.

    I have to agree with the other posters that stated this would be a much better story if the person in question actually went without a form of charging @ all.

    My parental units have a very high FICO score and only use their AmEx cards simply because AmEx treats them well and the interest paying consumers finance their trips to the Pocono’s via all the points they receive.

    Show me a consumer who has gone 30 years WITHOUT using ANY “Charge plates” and then I’ll be impressed …

  41. SkyeBlue says:

    I have a question about credit cards that maybe someone on here can answer. I have 4 credit cards, and just yesterday I paid one off in full. I have about $900.00 in debt total on the 3 others. If I pay the remaining balance off on the 3 cards will my credit score go down? I haven’t checked my score in about a year but last year it was 790-800.

    Also, does your score go down if you do a balance transfer to a card you currently have with a lower interest rate?

  42. Wokcus says:

    This guy’s smuggly patting himself on the back because he’s had an American Express card for 30 years instead of a credit card?

    Gee, fool that I am I’ve had a Visa card for that same 30 years (longer actually). I pay it off every month as well, but I don’t have to pay a yearly fee like he does with his Amex. Not only that, but they give a percentage of my purchases back every year, and it’s excepted more places.

    It’s never occured to me that this was in anyway news worthy. As it turns out neither was his story. What a tool!

  43. Japheaux says:

    Payment, interest, revolving credit, notwithstanding, imagine all of the information that has not been passed or lost on this guy. Twice in the last year I received notices from businesses that my personal info was lost/stolen/given away/sold. At the very least, he may have had several thousand pounds less of advertisements showing up in his mailbox over the years. Oh, wait. What? Am Express is a credit card? Then his mailbox (postal informational receptacle) is probably getting crap anyway. Never mind.

  44. Amalas says:

    @nutrigm: I don’t know all the details, but my husband’s parents put their mortgage on a credit card. Somehow, they just got a really good deal.

  45. OsiUmenyiora says:

    This might be interesting if it really was a story about someone who really didn’t have a credit card for 30 years. Instead, it’s a story about someone who has one credit card. A more appropriate headline would be “How to go 30 Years Without Credit Card Debt.”

  46. johnva says:

    @SkyeBlue: No, your score will not go down if you pay off debt. In fact, it will likely go up. Your score is quite high already, so I wouldn’t worry about it much at all.

    As for how the BT affects your score, the answer is “it depends”. If you transfer to a card that has a lower credit line than the one you are transferring from, it might hurt your score since you would be utilizing a larger percentage of your line. If it’s the other way around, it might help. But again, at your score level, it shouldn’t matter much. That’s a trivial amount of credit card debt as far as your score goes if you have high credit limits.

  47. dss902 says:

    Why are they called credit cards and not debt cards?

  48. Illusio26 says:

    I use my credit card for everything. Why? Because I hate carrying cash and I love reward points. I always pay off my bill every month. And last month I was able to get a Plasma TV with a few years of saving my reward points.

  49. johnva says:

    @dss902: Because they don’t inherently involve debt?

  50. humphrmi says:

    In my younger, less responsible days I had an Amex green and if I couldn’t pay it off, I called Amex and they gave me some time to pay it with interest. Basically any time I would call, they would convert my balance due into a sort of “revolving” balance (I say revolving because they would add it to whatever previous balance I couldn’t pay off). So my point is, Amex Green is no panacea for going credit-less. Unless they’ve changed the rules.

  51. clickertrainer says:

    Where have we gone wrong that this person feels smug about not having a credit balance?

  52. wring says:

    uh, he technically has one.

  53. AMetamorphosis says:

    @clickertrainer:

    Very well said ….

  54. smitty1123 says:

    So?

  55. Amex is great for cardholders, and realy bad for smal business owners. Amex makes their money by taking a larger percentage of purchases onthe card from the business.

  56. gamehendge2000 says:

    @AMetamorphosis:

    weak. mine is 772.

    pwned

  57. Valrik says:

    I went 34 years without a credit card or any sort of loan. When I tried to buy my home, nobody wanted to loan me the money because I had NO Credit history. I ended up getting a loan from my local bank, and have since gotten an AmEx card, for the increased warranty and cash back on purchases. I do not carry a balance on it.

  58. WNW says:

    American Express = credit card. This is a non-story

  59. weave says:

    Amex has charge cards and credit cards. There’s a difference between a charge card and a credit card. Charge cards require payment in full at end of each month. Credit cards do not. There are other charge cards out there as well, like Diners. Granted there are ways to extend a balance with Amex charge cards, like “Sign and Travel.”

  60. nikkomorocco says:

    I applaud not having any sort of debt related to a slab of plastic, but paying off an amex every month SHOULDN’T be that impressive, but judged against a foolish society, it is. It’s like being the least retarded guy on the short bus.

  61. ekthesy says:

    @Bladefist:

    Yes it can indeed be profitable. I’ve made about $300 off of the good folks at Discover, my wife takes me out to dinner twice a month courtesy of Citibank Thank You Points, and putting all our wedding expenses on another credit card enabled us free flights to our honeymoon destination.

  62. Rachacha says:

    @nutrigm: I am doing it using several 0% balance transfer cards (intro rate for 12-18mos). My monthly payments have not changed, but 100% of the payments I do make go directly to what used to be the principal. As long as you make you minimum monthly payment every month and as long as you pay off the balance for the card before the into period is over, the credit card company has provided me with 25-30K intrest free loan for 12-18 months. It does require that you be diligent and keep on top of every card and as well have a back-up source of money just in case yo need to pay off all of the cards immediately.

    Unfortunately most credit cards do not give you rewards on balance transfers :-(

  63. Said Not says:

    Good for him and his self control.

    However, I wouldn’t have such a low interest rate on my mortgage if I didn’t spent the last 10 years using and promptly paying off my 3 credit cards. I also got an amazing rate on my new car.

    I don’t see the point in boycotting credit cards.

  64. HOP says:

    we have one card, and use it to buy our medicines by mail, and our gasoline so wqe don’t have to go into those stop and rob joints…..we pay most of it off each month….we are not usin g the card for anything else……

  65. SkyeBlue says:

    Thanks @johnva!

    Yeah, $900.00 in debt compared to my credit lines available does not SEEM like I have alot of debt, but I knew better but I $10.00 myself here and $50.00 myself there up to that amount and now I feel pretty stupid.

  66. martyz says:

    I just passed a major milestone myself. I’ve gone 30 years without drinking any water. Now, I have had what’s sometimes called “H20″ or “unflavored liquid refreshments” — but no water.

    This is a non-story. I declare myself to be unimpressed.

  67. JoeWoah says:

    25 years without one here! W00t!

    I have had lines of credit, like student loans and what not, but no CC. Never needed it.

  68. AMetamorphosis says:

    @SkyeBlue:

    Don’t feel stupid.
    You’ve asked a good question and are educating yourself !

  69. Raanne says:

    if you are not paying for it out of your bank account, it is a credit card. they are extending you a line of credit until the end of the month, when you get your statement and pay it off.

  70. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @AMetamorphosis: Your lifestyle intrigues me. I’m actually cleaning up my debt load right now and going down that same path to get points and stuff. I’m trying an experiement to see if I can make it to Maui on points by 2009.

  71. weave says:
  72. That-Dude says:

    @samurailynn: not special at all, that the chief card. Green, Gold, or Platinum are supposed to be paid every month. They have introduced other doo-hickeys into this to cover you if you forget a payment, but its not like Blue.

  73. ideagirl says:

    I don’t get the people who say that there is something wrong with us who won’t use a cc and pay it off every month. Has it ever occured to any of you that some of us just don’t care to creat unnecessary debt, even for a short period of time? I mean, if I can pay off the card every month, why bother to use it at all? I have yet to see a rewards card that makes using a cc instead of cash worth my time (maybe I have just looked at the wrong programs). I don’t have any problems traveling or renting cars, and my FICO score is good enough to have a mortgage (that will be paid off in five years because I don’t have any other debt).

    Sometimes it has nothing to do with discipline, and a lot to do with how a person chooses to live their life.

  74. AMetamorphosis says:

    @ideagirl:

    If you have discipline, you can “use” the credit cards to your benefit ideagirl :-)

    There is nothing wrong with those that don’t use credit cards, it’s just that those of us that do & are very strict about paying them off reap the benefit of using OPM ” Other Peoples Money ” for 20 – 30 days WHILE also receiving “perks” and rebates from the less responsible that carry balances.

  75. picardia says:

    I went eight years without a credit card. I think it set up good habits. I recently got one so as to boost my credit scores and to help with purchasing larger items, like furniture; I’ll pay the sofa off next month and will again be balance-free, which is where I plan to stay, barring emergency.

  76. LordieLordie says:

    I have a credit card for the past 26 years and not even once did I pay a cent of interest, or had any balance on the card. I have 3 cards, Visa, Costco (Amex), and a store card, and the reason I have those is so I can get the freebies that come with usage..

    I charge only what I can afford, and pay it off every month! If I needed to buy something big like a car or a house, I take out a proper bank loan. If I can not pay for this 52″ flat screen, I wait till I saved up the money for it.

    Carrying a balance on a credit card is the biggest scam to hit consumers, EVER!

  77. Sick_N_Tired says:

    Lady Visa and Master Card work very hard for me. I pay off the balance and they reward me with miles and cash back.

    Now, my personal accomplishment…besides not throwing out my shoulder patting myself on the back..is I have now gone 18 years w/o an ATM card.

    In 1990 I cut mine up because I would just pull money out that I had just deposited a day earlier. Couldn’t get ahead!

    Now I go to the teller (and use a bank where there is no teller charges) during banking hours if I want cash. No more ATM fees and eroding balances. The Visa handles pretty much everything transactional (gas, food, even some utilities), then one check at the end of the month to pay it. Life isn’t that hard after all!

    Having a CC simply means you are a responsible adult capable of delayed gratification and restraint.

    What?

    OK please strike that last sentence, apparently having a CC means you have a pulse.

  78. johnva says:

    @ideagirl: I have a card that gives me 5% cashback at groceries, gas stations, and drugstores. That’s a very nice discount, and saves me a lot of money. Most of the banks don’t offer cards that good anymore, but you can still get 3% on a lot your purchases easily. If you spend $500 a month on those categories that’s $15-25.

    Also credit cards have a lot of other advantages besides just the “loan” aspect…like extended warranties, extra car rental insurance, better safety against fraud than debit cards, less likelihood of being charged a fee or overdrafting your account, etc.

  79. Amelie says:
  80. Amelie says:

    So the guy pays it off each month in full, he’s still using a credit card. Millions of people use cards other than green Amex and pay it off in full each month. The author has nothing to brag about.

  81. girly says:

    I know someone who went 35 years w/o a credit card. In the 5 years they’ve had one, I think they’ve used it maybe 3 times.

    And no Amex, either

  82. SadSam says:

    @johnva:

    I know that can be an issue, but I never experienced that problem of a “hold” and/or “deposit” on my checking account funds by a rental car or hotel. It was something I kept track of because I keep most of my money in a high yield savings and not in my regular checking account which is tied to my debit card.

    Just my experience.

  83. girly says:

    Also you can go without a checking account too, but you end up paying for money orders, of course.

  84. johnva says:

    @SadSam: Well, it depends on the specific place you go and what their policies are. Some restaurants, for example, will pre-authorize your card for an amount including a standard 15% tip, and some don’t. Then they “correct” it when they settle the account.

  85. Canoehead says:

    I haven’t carried a balamce on a card since I was in undergrad (over 10 years ago). How exactly is this guy a hero? Because of my work I could have to charge $15k of travel and entertainment on very short notice – it is worth having a couple of cards and getting all the points. If you need a loan, go to your bank and negotiate a personal credit line – the rate will be a lot better than your visa card.

  86. StevieD says:

    I have no outstanding debts.

    I am also a cheap sonofabytch.

    Maybe those two things are related.

  87. @RandoX: debit card is unequal to credit card

  88. TPS Reporter says:

    What happens when you run up a balance and expect to pay it off at the end of the month and you lose your job? Great if you have your emergency fund, Bad if you don’t. But if you pay cash in the 1st place, there is no worry. Irregardless whether you pay it off each month the purpose of a credit card is to put the user into debt. Debt for 28 days is still debt. Even so I do have a credit card, mostly to buy stuff on the internet, that I do pay off the next payday which is weekly.

  89. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    22 years here. I have a “thing” against spending money I haven’t made yet. I have a substantial savings account for emergencies, thank you.

  90. humphrmi says:

    @MrBill38:

    Irregardless whether you pay it off each month…

    There’s no such word as “irregardless”. The word you’re looking for is “regardless”.

    [dictionary.reference.com]

  91. jendomme says:

    Amex are charge cards, not credit cards. Subtle, but important difference between the two.

  92. Parting says:

    I got 100$ as cash/gift back last year from credit cards, and I don’t spend much.

    By paying your balance at full you’re a winner.

    And how can you pay for online (cheaper than in store) purchases without a credit card.

  93. You know, if you plat your cards right, you can use Credit Cards to your advantage to leverage debts and accumulate wealth. But no one here is interested in doing that, right?

  94. greencrow says:

    I think the idea here is not to buy anything you can’t immediately pay for. Don’t extend yourself, think ahead and never, ever go into debt. Or at least that is what I read into it.

  95. barty says:

    @Valrik: That’s usually what you have to do. Many credit/mortgage companies have forgotten what they used to do before the days of FICO and an Equifax report. Its not that they CAN’T do it, most of the folks you come across are just too lazy to do the extra legwork involved to get you approved, particularly since most have no shortage of business.

    Not using credit cards has one very important upside. What happens those months that you CAN’T pay the balance in full for whatever reason? That’s exactly what the CC company is banking on and is why they push all of these rewards programs out there. It provides the necessary enticement for those who would ordinarily pass over using credit at all. Something like 45% of all Americans over the age of 18 are carrying credit card balances (notice I just didn’t say card holders!) Any way you look at it, you’re playing THEIR game, which they have stacked heavily in their favor in the long run.

  96. Trumps says:

    @timmus: was thinking the same thing. Was wondering how bad his credit score is with no built up credit.

  97. SkyeBlue says:

    @girly: Also you can go without a checking account too, but you end up paying for money orders, of course

    I don’t have a checking account, I pay all my bills by cash or money order. I have 3 bills I pay by money order every month, plus the 3 stamps to send them off. I pay one charge account when I have a balance on it right at the store for no fee. I pay my electric bill with no fee at a local store where it is done electronically. I also pay my satellite and phone bill electronically for $1.50 each which is a bit more than I would pay to buy the stamps and money orders at Walmart for .46 cents. I don’t mind paying a bit extra to pay my bills way since I know the payment will be credited that day or the next and I don’t have to worry about it being late or lost in the mail.

    I don’t know how much the average monthly fee is to have a chacking account, I’m sure it varies, plus the cost of the checks themselves, but I spend, at the high range less than $15.00 a month for the cost of paying my bills by cash or money order.

    I’m terrible at balancing a checkbook so it is just easier and maybe cheaper for me to do it that way.

  98. deserthiker says:

    Most people would consider AMEX to be a credit card. They are extending you credit to pay at a later date and even though it is paid in full each month, credit is floated to you until that time. It’s not a big deal.

    I, on the other hand, have gone thirty years without underwear! And I don’t have any pajamas either. Some things society thinks are important are just not necessary.

  99. ExConsumer says:
  100. ShariC says:

    By Mr. Daugherty’s definition of a credit card, I also have not had one for the entire duration of my 43 years on this planet. I have a Visa card and have had it for about 18 years and use it to order on-line, but always pay off the entire balance every month (if I make a charge). In fact, my account is automatically set to do this.

    I think this is a pretty weak piece and Mr. Daugherty’s assertions of not having a credit card are dicey.

  101. KJones says:

    Fifteen years ago, I got rid of my POS credit card (and I don’t mean Point Of Sale) and never tried to get one since then.

    Except for being unable to buy things instantly online, I haven’t had a reason to need one. Money orders wre good enough for the rest.

  102. PracticalMagic says:

    @humphrmi: Thank you spelling/grammar nazi, we all needed the education, and I for one could not have gone another day w/out that info.

    My husband and I have had no credit cards for 12 yrs. now. We own our own cars and the only payments we make on a loan are the mortgage. We have a separate acct. for emergency funds which has a debit card for it. We only use cash debit cards for purchases. For the most part, the only bills we have are the usual month to month living expenses. Yippee!!! Feels great not to have crap for debt.

  103. Binaryslyder says:

    If he owns a house or car, he’s got credit somewhere. Granted, it may not be in the form of a shoe buying pool pass, but its credit all the same. The fact that his mortgage is on paper and not a card does not exempt him from saying he doesn’t have a credit card.

    It would be better to say, “I haven’t had a credit card debt in 30 years.” or, I’ve maintained a zero balance for thirty years.

  104. vermontwriter says:

    My sister-in-law does this. When she went to buy her new car, she had no credit history so they wouldn’t approve her loan. She came to us to co-sign and when we refused, you can only imagine the strain that put on the relationship.

    You need to build a credit history and credit cards are the best way to start.

  105. Amy Alkon000 says:

    @SkyeBlue:

    I don’t have a checking account, I pay all my bills by cash or money order. I have 3 bills I pay by money order every month, plus the 3 stamps to send them off. I pay one charge account when I have a balance on it right at the store for no fee. I pay my electric bill with no fee at a local store where it is done electronically. I also pay my satellite and phone bill electronically for $1.50 each which is a bit more than I would pay to buy the stamps and money orders at Walmart for .46 cents. I don’t mind paying a bit extra to pay my bills way since I know the payment will be credited that day or the next and I don’t have to worry about it being late or lost in the mail.

    Hey, genius, what’s your time worth? I have a no-fee checking account, and any bills I can’t put on my credit card (which, as I said above, I pay off every month), I pay online through my checking account…for no fee. And I get a printed confirmation that I’ve paid. Instantly. It takes me about 20 seconds to click through to pay my gas company bill, and it doesn’t cost me a dime. And I usually do it while I’m holding on the phone with somebody. You GO to the store? You get in your car, presumably, and using gas and taking, what, a half hour out of your day, you pay your bill? Really bright.

    What’s with this near religious fervor for not having a credit card, anyway? As people above have mentioned, they offer you purchase protection, mileage, and convenience, and if you’re not a dimwit, you realize that there’s going to be a monthly bill at the end of every transaction. Sure, you can buy that plasma screen – just hope you don’t mind eating catfood at 80.

    • Fist-o™ says:

      @Amy Alkon: Hey, White Girl, let me explain this “Near Religious fervor for not having a credit card”:

      “Purchase Protection”: I’m 38 years old, and have never once, ONCE, in my life, made a purchase that somehow turned out to be bad, and the entity from which I purchased it would not let me return it for whatever reason. I simply have never had to do this sort of thing. Maybe I’m lucky; or, maybe, I just think about what I’m buying, consider the source, and don’t make risky purchases.

      “Mileage”? OH Puh-LEASE! In my younger “Embrace the United Mileage Plus” days, I accumulated FORTY THOUSAND MILES. what did this get me? …A carpet cleaner. THAT after the heinous rigamorole I had to go through to GET the darn thing! …Less trouble just to save my pennies and buy it straight-out.

      “Convenience”: Debit card. Heard of ‘em? “OH! THEY ARE DANGEROUS! They don’t have the PROTECTION of a credit card, bla bla bla… Flat Out Wrong. My source? my BANK, with whom I sat down and ASKED about their methods for protecting my checking account against fraudulent use. Time and time again, the “Magic $50″ is quoted as “if you get ripped off through identity theft from your credit card, the most your liable for is $50.” My bank has stated that I am liable for NO fraudulent charges against my debit card. How is that better?

      “Your name-calling attitude”: Bite me.

      p.s. I realize this is from March of ’08 and nobody will read it. don’t care.

  106. ElizabethD says:

    I’m an Amex-only gal, myself. For zillions of years.

  107. privatejoker75 says:

    i’ve gone my entire working life (12 years) without paying interest or carrying a balance. I still use a credit card (chase freedom) for all purchases though. Cash back is an awesome thing

  108. LVP says:

    Does he have a bank debit card? Does it have a Mastercard or Visa logo? Would that technically be considered a credit card?

    You can set up a credit card to automatically take out money from your checking to pay for what’s been charged.

  109. chaosnoise says:

    Good job! I’ve gone 26 years so far without one as well. I use a Debit (check) card for purchases if needed. We don’t need to live in debit our grandparents and great grandparents often had only a mortage.

  110. girly says:

    @SkyeBlue: I think you are right, whatever works for you is best!

    (to others)
    The person I know didn’t use cc’s for 35 years of bill-paying. Of course I think they still use money orders for most of the bills (99.999999999999999%).

    And I think you can have credit from other things, like mortgages and car loans (which people had before cc’s were widespread). Also I think having a phone line actually gives you some credit. If not the service, I seem to remember the phone could be leased from the phone company, too.

  111. girly says:

    @Amy Alkon: Wow, that’s inordinately mean. There are other ways to get credit and there’s something to be said for an established payment habit that’s easy to remember which this person has.

    I almost think you just felt like you needed to insult someone.

  112. Airport_Whiskey says:

    Credit is slavery.

  113. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    The fact that his mortgage is on paper and not a card does not exempt him from saying he doesn’t have a credit card.

    @Binaryslyder: But a mortgage isn’t a credit card. It’s a loan. It’s not like he can use his mortgage to buy groceries.

    @Amy Alkon: I agree with girly. It was unnecessary to be insulting.

  114. ibell says:

    Credit Cards are for assholes.

  115. kwsventures says:

    No cash. No buy. Period.

  116. carbonero says:

    you can save a lot of money buying items on the internet rather than paying cash. no sales tax on out of state sales, free shipping etc.