I’m not a fan of Ryanair. A quick surf on the web suggests they have very little respect for either their customers or employees. And, if I want to fly somewhere in Europe I’ll gladly pay a few extra quid to a ‘frills’ airline so that I don’t have to worry about a multitude of possible extra charges or being left stranded at a remote airfield should Ryanair decide to cancel a flight (perhaps when it’s not profitable for them to fly me home).
But I do have to applaud Ryanair for inadvertently increasing the awareness, and perhaps use, of prepaid ‘credit’ cards. These cards have their faults (usually charges), but they can be a useful way of encouraging individuals to avoid building up debt.
Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards only let you spend what you have. In a society that has massively over-extended itself on easy credit this is no bad thing.
Average credit card debt in the UK is around £1,900 per account. At 18% APR it would take someone over 16 years to clear this debt if they just repay the bare minimum each month (typically 3% of the outstanding balance with a £5 minimum). There’s little doubt that credit cards are fast becoming a modern day ‘ball and chain’ for far too many people.
I’d like to see everyone having to use a prepaid card for at least a year before being allowed to apply for a credit card. Respect for credit should increase, in turn reducing the number of people who incur expensive, financially crippling debts.
I doubt the credit card companies would play ball, but unless harsh measures like this are put in place I’m struggling to see how future generations will wise up and live within their means.