Checking out my credit card balance on the American Express website is very painless. It's easy to ignore the high numbers owed when it's such an exclusive, slick looking interface. It reminds me how special I am and that I have access to tropical beaches and premiere entertainment and Membership Rewards First.... Plus it reminds me in giant letters that I can SHOP!!!! A couple of painless clicks to pay the minimum and I even get a "thank you".
The thing to do though is look past the pretty webpage and click the PDF that is the real billing statement. That PDF is not pretty at all. There's nothing exclusive about the front and center black type informing me that it will take 36-years and $74,412 to clear the balance if I keep making only the minumum payments.
Page 5 is where it gets really slick... I've paid $2,878.43 just in interest so far in 2011 - WTF!! That is almost a full month's rent! All for privilege of owing money! Don't even get me started on the helpful "APR Information". Wow, American Excess really is not my friend.
It occurs to me we need a return to the scary looking statements dropping through the mailbox once a month and wean off the pretty website or fancy iPhone app. The reality of debt shouldn't come with a nice font and a reminder to shop.