How credit cards work, explained with evil fairy mobsters

Originally published at: How credit cards work, explained with evil fairy mobsters | Boing Boing


Except that gold is inherently not more useful than paper money or numbers in an account. It’s social conventions either way, unless you go all the way back to a barter economy where you exchange useful goods.


Ooh! Now do BitCoin!


I just recently came across these myself, looking into PbtA (“Powered by the Apocalypse”) games. I acquired one of them but found it so different than the D&D-style RPGs I’ve played that I wanted to see if there was a set of “core rules” for PtbA games, and discovered there aren’t any as such. But her Simple World was recommended as a game that was, well, simple enough to use as a reference for the basic elements of PtbA gameplay and mechanics. I found it very helpful to that purpose!

Also, her thread above is a great explanation of the whole credit card racket


Aim to proudly call yourself a deadbeat.


I am extraordinarily fortunate in life that I’ve managed to get this far without ever using credit cards or taking out bank loans. (Hooray for an affordable state university and living at home until graduating!) But as a result I’m a grown man with no credit history, which has occasionally caused me problems. Some places don’t want to rent to folks with no credit, and some workplaces won’t hire a person with no credit. A little while ago I went ahead and applied for a store credit card in order to get a big discount on a purchase and was turned down due to lack of history, so maybe I’m just destined to grow old and die without ever having a credit score. But, like I said, I’m fortunate in life and there are far worse problems to have than no credit score.


There should be a part about the Cult of the Gangster Fairies, who talk about how integral the fairies are to the village, how staying in their good graces defines your moral character, how all that finger-taking promote a “culture of personal responsibility” amongst the villagers, and how the state fairy system in the Chinese village is the Road to Serfdom.

I’ve shared this industry term with every person I’ve helped get out of debt, followed by “do we really care about the opinion of someone willing to give slackers like us a 30-day interest-free loan of thousands of dollars?”

In a better country all this would be taught in middle school financial literacy classes, which would be part of the standard curriculum. But we live in a country where the Cult of the Gangster Fairies has adherents in both duopoly parties, so that won’t happen anytime soon.


I have had the same credit card account for some 40+ years and throughout that time have consistently been a deadbeat.



I watched students in college one by one all get sucked in by credit cards. It mostly impacted the poor/working class kids who never had access to lots of spending money before. The cash advance part was the worst.

I learned from their mistakes. I avoided getting a credit card for years, then only used it for items I could pay off by the next paycheck, and always paid my bill in full.



It was taught in our 8th grade (though I learned it from family members dealing with debt). The same grade also learned typing, cooking, sewing, drafting, woodworking, and auto repair. Not bad for an extremely rural school with only 360 kids in the whole district. In more detail (including career research and household budgeting) in 9th with civics class.

Oddly, it’s the push for every kid to be competent in reading and math that has crowded classes like that out. The quote my wife stole from a colleague when it was first introduced is the only way there’s no child left behind is if the bus never leaves. Sadly that’s been more true than not.


The only part missing from this narrative is that when you pay someone with fairy gold they are required to immediately give one or more coins back to the fairy mafia. So that the more frequently you use the fairy gold the less of it is in circulation in the town to use to pay back the fairy mafia.


One of the guys in my band used to be a realtor. He ran my credit for fun when I was right out of college, and said it was fantastic — which confused the hell out of me, because I had just started paying back my $120,000 debt to Sallie Mae. But apparently, “having a lot of debt” and “paying it back in monthly increments” is GOOD, and means that you can get MORE credit!

That’s the first time I realized this system might be a scam.


If you have access to a credit union, they might be able to help you get a credit card. Credit unions are usually a wonderful place for handling any money management issues.

I ran into the same problem. In college, I got tons of credit card offers, but I waited until after I’d graduated and gotten a steady job to apply. Then, of course, I got rejected for lack of history. I did eventually get a card, but it took a while… and I’ve always payed like a “deadbeat,” so it works out.


Avery Alder is great. Used to follow her on Google+ and eventually bought her game A Quiet Year. Haven’t gotten it to the table yet, since it is a game that is difficult to sell my friends on. Anyway, she seems to want a society that is more community-based, with people actively supporting and contributing to each other rather than preying on one another.

As for credit, I got a credit card some 15 years ago when I made the mistake of moving across the country for a for-profit grad school. (I definitely grew from the experience, but choosing this experience was dumb.) Card eventually got maxed out and I’m still paying it today. Once I cut that sucker 50%, they doubled my credit limit! But I rarely ever use it now. That slowly dwindling debt and my neverending student loan have contributed to what was literally reported as EXCELLENT credit today. The system sucks.


Moving to the US was a weird experience, in that my Canadian credit history was basically non-existent, so I started as if I had no credit at all.

I went with a pre-paid credit card (basically you put the amount you want to have as credit up in cash up front) and within six months, that had transferred over to a “real” card.

Not having credit history here sucks way more than it does in Canada. Getting a car, getting utilities setup, even successfully renting a home was a terrible experience without credit, and involved us putting up huge sums of money as “deposits” on us not being deadbeats.

It took about 18 months to get to a “good” credit rating using a couple of credit cards, and mostly worked out in my favour - I chose no-fee, cashback cards and now look at them as essentially coupons to lower my online expenses by 1-3% for everything I buy - but I don’t think of them as “credit” - I pay them off immediately when I use them.

There are some very very weird “rules” that don’t exist in Canada, too! For example, for some reason you can’t make payments within a few days of each other - if you do, they hold the money for several days. What’s the point of that, other than to make you forget to pay off your card?


The credit rules in Canada are quite different; the lenders add up all of your potential debt from lines of credit you hold, including credit cards, then weight that total against a percentage of your total income. The stress test for CMHA-insured mortgages is being increased next month. This will make borrowing the obscene amounts required to fund a home purchase here even tougher.
I’m a mortgage free credit card deadbeat and very pleased that we’ve managed to get to this point.

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I’m even worse. I put in money in advance and haven’t even used the credit. When I got the card you got really good interest on the money, and it’s still slightly better than the bank.It’s from Q8, and they expect you to use it mainly to buy gas, but I don’t even own a car, so it’s pretty much a failure to lure me to buy from them. In Sweden, though, so not the same rules as USA.


They pay interest on a credit balance? Hmph. Not here, they don’t.


They do in Canada as well.