Marriage and My Credit Cards

Blue_bird house_2012-07-30

2014-12-09 – If you’ve never been married you might not know a peculiar fact about joint credit cards. When you sign up for one of these deals, your spouse can steal you blind. But if my wife ever calls the credit card company to pay the bill, they won’t let her! Not unless I give a special authorization.

I hereby authorize anyone in the world to pay my bills.

Now, I don’t have any experience with a spouse stealing me blind, but I know some divorced couples who have had that experience. That seems to be a standard part of the credit card agreement. You’d think, though, that if you have a joint account with someone, that person is automatically authorized to pay the bill. No.

Are these people insane?

And it’s not just credit cards. Yesterday, my wife Kit came to me with the phone. She had a guy on the line who she had called about an interim health insurance policy we had while I was between jobs. They wouldn’t talk to her without my authorization. She bought the damn policy! But she used my name because the policy replaced the insurance we had through my previous employers. Again, it was a situation where she was entitled to run up bills but not pay them.

I understand that once upon a time, wives were considered nonentities in financial transactions and that laws were enacted to allow spouses to have separate credit histories. Some of this is surely still going on. But that’s not really what’s happening here. If I called on my wife’s number, I would get the same run-around.

They like you to be in debt. That’s how they profit. So they make it easy to run up the debt and hard to pay it down. Not too hard, mind you. It’s just that they provide service galore when you are incurring the debt and next to no service when you are trying to pay it off.

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