- Personal Finance
Freezing Credit Cards Can Have Chilling Consequences
Cooling Your Spending Habits
Overspending with credit cards has become a serious financial problem for thousands of people.
I recently read of a woman who puts her cards in a container of water and freezes them, so they will only be available for emergencies. Thawing time gives the cardholder a chance to reconsider impulse buys.
This strategy is obviously devised for those who have grown up expecting instant gratification but still have an ancient fear of debtor's prison .
The theory is that you will not spontaneously pick up your credit cards, encased in a solid block of ice, and rush out to buy frivolous unneeded things on a whimsical impulse.
Retrieving your frozen card from the freezer is going to be inconvenient and may even result in frostbite.
If you did manage to get the icy block out of the freezer and into your handbag, you would have a purse full of ice water by the time you got to the mall, your tissues and breath mints would be dissolved, your cell phone would be afloat, and you would have left an embarrassing trail of dribbles behind you.
The Ice Pick
What About Emergencies?
What would you do if you had a had a real emergency?
Suppose your spouse called with an urgent need to use the frozen credit card for a tow truck, a lawyer, or bail bondsman? Do you think they are going to let you into the police station waiting area while you are holding an an ice pick or a blowtorch?
Even the ice block, would not effectively stop someone from making an impulsive purchase by telephone. It is possible that card numbers could still be read through clear ice. If the person on the other end of the phone can understand you while your teeth are chattering, and you don't mind a little numbness of your fingers, this is not a deterrent.
If you really insist on the freezer method, it might be better to put the cards in something opaque like sirloin tips and gravy, Marinara sauce, or chili and beans.
You then have to devise a little word association trick to remember which freezer container has the cards. It might be the chili, since credit and chili both start with the same letter. Or it could be in the Marinara sauce since it starts with "m" as in money. Perhaps it should be in the sirloin tips since it comes under the category of "tips" for saving money.
Insane ways to destroy your card.
Frozen Credit Card Drawbacks
If this becomes a trend, card companies may have to start printing warnings in teeny-tiny type on the back of cards: "Do not thaw in the oven. Doing so will turn your card into a sculpture resembling a work by Salvador Dali."
"Do not thaw under an electric blanket. Doing so may short out the blanket, and leave an uncomfortable and discommodious wet spot on your mattress."
"Do not thaw in the microwave. Doing so may cause the magnetic strip to interact with electronic waves which will destroy your appliance after electronically debiting your account for an amount up to $100,000."
Card companies should realize that persons who need to freeze their credit cards do not have even a minimum semblance of self-control. Cards are way too easy to get. Even children, pets, and automobiles with human sounding names can get them. The applications only want a name and address.
More Credit Information is Needed
They need to have checkboxes marked: "Yes", "Okay", "Si", "Da!" , "arf" or "honk", following the question "Do you want a credit card?"
They should also have one more question: "Do you intend to freeze this credit card?" (Even dogs and vehicles will not do this.) If the answer is affirmative, the company should withdraw the offer in their own interest.
If you really feel that you must freeze your cards, perhaps it would be best for you not to have them at all.
In freeing yourself of cardholder responsibilities, you will no longer deal with cashiers who distrustfully imply that your card may have been produced in Italy, since it smells suspiciously of Marinara.
It will also save you the embarrassment of someday having one of your cookout guests ask, "Hey, what's this credit card doing in my chili dog?"
My credit cards are safely cemented under a brick wall.