America’s Credit Card Debt Crisis: A Closer Look and The Path Forward

The Damaging Success of Credit Cards in Today’s Society. With the increasing ease of taking out credit card debt considering the deregulation of systems that make up this enterprise, making us fall deeper and deeper into the debt cycle. With the ever-rising APR of credit cards, basic necessities have now become more challenging to afford, making them a necessity for short-term survival, but it is ultimately causing the dilemma to spiral put of control. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York published a report that showcased a concerning statistic: Americans now have over 1 trillion dollars worth of credit card debt. This grave statistic shows how America has compromised its financial future for ease. Americans rely on credit cards to fulfill their purchasing needs with ease and satisfaction, hence the increasing debt numbers that subconsciously skyrocket with a mere swipe of a card. Consumers have been lashing out their credit cards more than ever in today’s digital era and due to readily available credit, advertised schemes, and marketing techniques. As a result, the average consumer struggles to self-regulate and maintain a healthy credit score that supports their future investments, and for others, credit card usage has transformed into a coping mechanism, a remedy for their underlying stress and hardships. Consumers are now struggling to escape from these loops, and it’s becoming progressively more difficult to obtain support in managing financial repossession. With APRs rising, financial stability has become far-fetched particularly for those who have been exhausted while trying to cope. Once one becomes financially confined, it becomes significantly harder to break free from these cycles. For every shopping spree, the dopamine release while offering comfort and support can hinder the consumer’s ability to maintain a healthy relationship with money. The substantial impact and how it merges with the recent consequences of marketing techniques showcases how such consumerism can, long-term, negatively impact an individual and the economy. The foundation of credit card marketing is reinforced via repetition and confirmation bias. The mere exposure effect of retail therapy consolidates the warm embrace of comfort found in the repetitive ads that follow consumers, creating an enduring impact making consumers vulnerable to impulse buying. This continuous exposure serves as a method for companies to infuse promos and adverts in the minds of potential consumers, making them succumb to the battle of consistency. Consequently, the strategic marketing of credit cards and retailers create a void in the consumer’s finances, ultimately leading them to believe that without their respective products, life would be far less exciting. These practices have become an epitome of creating situations where repayment of debts becomes part of our current lifestyles, and not just instantaneous purchases. We’ve now enabled corporations to navigate into our personal lives, subtly pushing their wares to benefit from the psychological vulnerabilities of the average consumer. Consequently, strategic marketing techniques combined with the ever-consuming credit card debt have paved the path towards insolvency for the average American.

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