People who know me probably won’t be surprised to learn that I go through my credit card bills line by line, checking them. This month I noticed a mysterious item from gotomypc.com, a debit for just shy of $180 about 10 days ago. I called the 888 number and asked if they did billing for any other online business. The customer service rep said no, it’s just gotomypc.com. By a weird coincidence, a friend had been telling me about them earlier in the day; their service is basically remote desktop access to your home or office machines.
On May 13 last year, we got a fairly hefty packet of junk mail inviting us to apply for Discover cards. Inside was a plastic replica card. We got another one on May 18. And two more on May 25. And another on May 27, followed by one more on May 28. After that, things settled down a bit. Another offer on June 15, then a final one on August 8.
The idea behind credit cards is simple: they’re a way for the bank to make money. And they do, billions of dollars of it every year. The trick is to find new ways to get as many customers as possible into the optimum debt profile. The basic rules of the game are relatively easy to understand: The more you spend, the more you owe. The more you owe, the more you have to pay at the end of the month.