If You Don’t Want To Use Credit Cards…

Last week, my friend No Credit Needed had a post up about How to Break The Credit Card Habit, and it was such a great post that I wanted to both share it with you guys and add my own thoughts on it. I don’t have a problem with credit cards at all, as evidenced by my post the other day I Am Not Against Using Credit Cards To My Advantage, but NCN offers great advice to get off the credit card runaway train that some people are on, from learning to balance your checkbook, starting to live on a budget, and changing the way that we look at the “stuff” we buy. (read: want, not need) If you are so inclined to live without credit cards, as NCN does, I have an even easier way to do it – move to the town where I live.

Many of the businesses here do not take credit cards, and if they do, they charge you a $.75-$1.00 fee each time you want to use your card. Debit cards, you say? Nope, many of them don’t take those at all. In a lot of ways, it’s like living in the past. They will take local checks, but they won’t take credit cards. They will take cash, but they won’t take debit cards. Of course, places like the grocery store take credit/debit without the fee, but most of the small businesses don’t without charging a fee. They have a good reason for this, as each time a vendor accepts a credit card, the credit card company does charge them a fee. Most retailers eat this fee as the price of doing business with their customers, but on a small scale, in a small town, those fees add up – so they want the customer to pay for it unless you spend X amount of dollars with them. This is usually $10+, so if you want to buy a cup of coffee with your Visa, you have to pay the fee.

So, if you really need to escape from using credit cards, you can move to a small mountain town. For the most part, it will force you to stop using them!

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Comments (12)

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  1. MoneyEnergy says:

    I did a post the other day with similar sentiments, suggesting some guidelines for when/ when not to use credit cards. I use them, I’m not anti-credit. Got some flak for the post on tip’d, though – some thought the tips were silly and superfluous – I guess that poster pays his cards off in full each month, which not all of us (can) do. Anyways, I find it useful to have certain restrictions in place on the cards.

    Living in a mountain town sounds nice…

  2. You pay my moving expenses, and I will be there tomorrow! I is a dream of mine to move to a quiet rural town. Right now I live in the suburbs of a big city.

    Great post!


  3. I live in Indiana and have seen this at a lot of small businesses in our smaller communities. Before I had made pointed my financial life this used to make me really angry. Not I kind of like it, it seems nostalgic and refreshing! Funny how one’s perspective can change on issues like this.

  4. Do the local shops readily take $1 coins without giving you a hassle? (I know they’re supposed to take them, but some stores just don’t have the slot in their drawer for them!) If so, you could order rolls of $1 coins from the US Mint (free shipping!) with your credit card, get your credit card rewards that way, and then spend the $1 coins around town. Not a bad way to get the coins into circulation (which is exactly why the Mint lets you do it!), and not a bad way to “use” your credit card around town. 🙂

  5. Hickepedia says:

    “Many of the businesses here do not take credit cards, and if they do, they charge you a $.75-$1.00 fee each time you want to use your card.”

    Um…isn’t this counter to the merchant agreement that the business signed with the credit card company in the first place? I don’t object to the concept of the business recovering the cost of the merchant fee charged by the credit card processor, but I know that both Visa and Mastercard have standard contracts that forbid the merchant levying an additional fee on the consumer for using a credit card.

    Being the rabble-rouser that I am, I’d start complaining to the card companies if I found merchants doing that.

  6. david says:

    I doubt there is a law against it, I even saw it in some places in Los Angeles too…

  7. Jerry says:

    There are places overseas where CCs are not as prevalent, too. Right now I live in SE Europe, and it leads to a big cut in credit card usage. It’s a cash economy here, although there is no insurance it will stay that way forever. The CC companies are pushing like crazy to get into the public image here, and I think it will work. Alas…

  8. BW says:


    stores are not allowed to charge fees or have minimums to use a credit/debit card (I know this is true for MC and Visa). I have on occasion called out places for doing this and gotten my way but they are obviously unhappy with me. I completely understand why stores do this, but my thought is don’t put the sticker on the door if you’re not going to really accept cards as you agreed to in your contract.

    http://usa.visa.com/about_visa/ask_visa/index.html under minimum purchase

  9. david says:

    Thanks for showing that to me – not sure how to stop every single store in a town from doing it, as I am not going to call Visa every time I go shopping. 🙂 I would think Visa and MC would enforce this themselves, but I guess I thought wrong. Thanks for pointing it out!

  10. david says:

    Sure, only cost me $5K to move here, so no problem!

  11. David:

    The only way the credit card companies can enforce this policy is if people let them know that merchants are violating it.

    Adding to what Hickepedia and BW said, mercharts are also not allowed to cap the amount of the purchase that can be put on a card. Many car dealerships, for example, will try to impose a limit at say, $10,000. The next time I buy a car from a dealership I will use my rewards card and then pay off the balance as soon as I get the bill.

  12. David says:

    I have used a CC for a car purchase and didnt have any problems. As for local merchants, it’s not so much I mind that they do charge it, as they are tiny little businesses. It’s just a little annoying, but not sure I would go and call every time I see that sign, which is in every store around here. 🙂