Can You Live Without A Credit Card?

Cord Jefferson tries:

It’s a frustrating world for those of us who have intentionally opted out. When it comes to buying or leasing homes and other big-ticket items, we’re penalized for a history of living within our means and buying only what we can afford. Financial asceticism is supposed to be virtuous in America, especially in the midst of a political clime that denounces debt like it’s some kind of domestic terrorism. But when it comes to credit cards, we’re unwilling to put our Amex where our mouth is.

I haven't had a credit card for years, because I actually live like a fiscal conservative. I have one debit card and one Amex. And because of this, I was unable to get a mortgage on a second home in Provincetown! That's the kind of perverse logic of the last decade. People with massive credit card debt who regularly made payments were given mortgages they couldn't afford. People who'd saved and only bought when they had the actual means were punished. That's why I'm somewhat ambivalent about protecting people from credit card sheisters. No one has to get a credit card or get into debt. They can live more frugally.

David Wolman explains how "even when credit cards only exist at the periphery of our experience, they can boost our willingness to pay or borrow":

[In an] experiment, subjects entering the room where the research took place happened to see some credit card paraphernalia on a desk. The artifacts were supposed to appear irrelevant and the subjects were asked how much they would be willing to pay for an array of items. The subjects had been exposed to something without thinking about it directly. Merely by “decorating the experimental setting” with this visual equivalent of a subconscious whisper—credit card—willingness to pay jumped 50 to 200% compared to the control group.