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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive

Time to Break Up with Your Credit Card?

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: smart money, new economy, B.S., credit cards, community banks, credit unions, financial institutions, Chuck Collins, Stacy Mitchell, Yes!, New Rules Project, Move Your Money, Community Banking Initiative, Julie Hanus,

As the Federal Reserve’s new credit card rules take effect, many financial advisers are telling people to keep an eye on accounts—just to make sure big companies don’t try to get squirmy with the new regulations.

Writing for Yes!, Chuck Collins has an additional suggestion: Break up with your credit card. “Do you feel a warm fuzzy attachment to your credit card?” writes Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and the Common Good. “No? You feel abused? Legalistic fine print? Hidden fees? Interest rate hikes? . . . So why do you keep going back?”

Collins cites Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with the New Rules Project, who writes that the majority of community banks and credit unions offer credit cards. “Unlike big banks, these smaller institutions generally do not view their credit cards as major profit centers . . .  but rather as a service for customers,” writes Mitchell, whose article “Localwashing” was in a recent Utne Reader.

Not all financial institutions are created equal of course: The Move Your Money website, a hub for the national movement, has some resources to help people find a new community bank or credit union. The New Rules Project’s Community Banking Initiative is also full of great information, including new data that shows bigger banks charge higher fees on savings and checking accounts than smaller institutions do, while paying less interest on savings.

Sources: Yes!, New Rules Project, Move Your Money, Community Banking Initiative