The advent of plastic and easy availability of credit has transformed the way we live today. The convenience of being able to buy instantly and paying later has brought about a spurt in consumerism like never before, and India has branded as a consumer led economy over the past decade or so and much of it has been possible due to the easy availability of credit cards and small personal loans. But as there are two sides to each coin, so has credit. Easy availability of credit has also led to its users falling into debt traps or getting addicted to credit.
This often happens because consumers who get carried away by the instant gratification that credit provides are unable to recognise the signs of credit addiction.
However, the niggling doubt is something that each credit user cannot deny. If you too are living in fear that you may be falling into a debt trap soon, chances are ‘you may be addicted to credit’.
Here are some definite signs for you to identify credit addiction;
Credit Card Addiction & Warning Signs
You credit card spending is exceeding your income
The thumb rule of using credit cards is that it should be used only in case you really need it, or if you are using it judiciously enough to make the best use of reward points or benefits that it offers. However, if you are fishing out your credit card to buy stuff that you cannot really afford and your monthly spend on your card has been exceeding your monthly income, it is the first sign of trouble.
This also means that your credit utilisation or the amount of credit you are using as against the total credit made available to you is way above the recommended level of 30% and has made a negative impact on your credit score. (Read : ‘How to check Free Credit Score & get Free Credit Report?‘)
You have maxed out your credit limit
If you have exhausted your credit card limit or come close to doing so month after month, you are certainly not being wise with your credit card. Not only is your credit score getting hampered as mentioned earlier,you may soon land into a debt trap as a result of your spending. If you notice this pattern, it is time for you to do some introspection and bring about a significant change in how you use your credit cards.
You are living in denial
Living in denial and feeling scared to open credit card statements or feeling the need to hide the same from your spouse is a sure shot sign that you are in debt led trouble mostly on account of your credit cards.
However, do bear in mind that burying your head in the sand will not make your troubles go away, and can get even worse. If you think you have gone horribly wrong with your credit cards, face your fears at the earliest and assess the situation. That is the first step towards a resolution.
You are opening new credit cards
Credit cards are easily available these days, with credit card companies offering online credit cards as well. But when you are applying for a new card for the sole reason that you have exhausted the limit on your previous one, you are only calling for more trouble. Taking a new credit card does not exonerate of paying the outstanding amount on the previous one, and if you haven’t been able to pay off your existing debt it is indeed a cause of worry.
Resorting to desperate measures
If you are having trouble meeting your day to day expenses and are having to borrow money from family and friends to keep afloat and pay your bills, you can be sure that it is your credit addiction that has led to this state. While those who care about you may agree to help you in case of an emergency, you cannot expect them to fund your careless addiction with their hard-earned money.
No savings or investments
If every paisa you earn is spent on your living expenses and you do not have anything in the name of savings or investments, chances are you are leading a high life with the help of a shiny piece of plastic.
Even if you are managing to pay your outstanding amount on time and there has been no sign of over-leverage so far, it is certainly not in a good position to be. Spending all your income on your daily needs and the lion share of it in footing credit card bills is a clear sign that you suffer from credit addiction and not in good financial health.
To recognize the signs of credit addiction and find plausible solutions at the earliest is prudent. If you have trouble dealing with your credit card addiction and are looking for credit solutions, you may approach a credit health improvement agency. A credit health company could suggest a way to deal with your debt trap, it can help you get on a track that will help you improve your credit health and increase your credit score in the long run.
This guest post has been contributed by the team at CreditSudhaar.
Credit Sudhaar is India’s first credit and finance platform for consumers which provide various credit and financial tools such as free credit score, credit monitoring, credit score simulator among others. Credit Sudhaar provides a wide range of analytical assessments to the users helping them to have an in-depth understanding of their credit health, extends guidance on how to improve CIBIL score and also facilitates access to various loans and credit facilities based on current credit health.
Kindly note that Relakhs.com is not associated with Credit Sudhaar. This post is for information purposes only. This is a guest post and NOT a sponsored one. We have not received any monetary benefit for publishing this article.
(Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net) (Post published on 09-February-2017)