United States: The Great American Credit Card Factory

About the Great American Credit Card factory in the United States, the trend towards finances based around charged payment.

The Great American Credit Card Factory

Over 300 million credit cards are in use in the U.S. For those consumers who qualify, "charge it" can pay for everything from a vacuum cleaner, television set, or tuxedo to tooth extractions, taxi rides, and psychiatric care. This convenient system allows consumers to buy more goods and services than ever before. However, it has also brought financial disaster to many Americans. In 1971 approximately a quarter of a million Americans declared personal bankruptcy. According to a 1972 report issued by the National Business Council for Consumer Affairs, total outstanding consumer credit for 1971 was $137 billion and "... from a national perspective, delinquent debts amount to approximately $2.4 billion on nearly 4.4 million late-paying or nonpaying accounts."

Consumer education and national legislation are both necessary in order to deal with the complex problems of the credit-card industry. We need a better understanding of today's credit world and a look at the new system for the future--namely, "electronic money transfer," which will make cash, checks, and even credit cards obsolete.

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