Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cash Is King

When I first started work decades ago, I was always in awe of people holding credit bosses, my bosses’ friends, my senior colleagues, my well-to-do relatives and many more who held a few Classic Cards and some had Gold Cards too. Wahhh…. How I envied them.

Those days, to be issued a credit card and to be seen flicking out the card ever so often, spoke volumes for the holder. He/She must be someone who had some decent income and with some impeccable credit standing. I was of course, at that time a new workhorse earning chicken-feed and therefore unable to fulfill the most basic requirements for application, that was to have a minimum annual income of RM24,000 and to provide the Form J from the tax department. I did not even qualify to have a file opened at the tax department, for goodness sakes!

After many years of living from hand to mouth, I decided to free-lance. Being a free-lancer I could earn a wee bit more and after a while I thought I would be qualified for a credit card. I eagerly approached the credit card officer at the bank but was told in no uncertain terms that, Sorry, your income is not’s swinging like a yo-yo…lidat, we cannot approve…bla…bla…” . And another time, I was at a friend’s office when a senior bank executive came to visit my friend and my friend told him that I would like to apply for a credit card. He smiled, shook my hand ever so graciously and when he enquired regarding my employment and income, I told him I free-lanced. His smile turned into a frown. Hahahhaah……He was definitely not a poker player for sure.

Fast forward a few years and I finally got my first credit card. I chose the one that I need to pay the least annual fee. Come to think of it, I never understood at that time why I needed to pay an annual fee. Anyway, being a newbie with no track records to speak of, I just paid, albeit grudgingly. Then one fine day, my home bank sent me pre-approved Gold Cards and free of annual fees for 2 years some more. Wah……how it boosted my ego. Wah…I felt good you know! I quickly cancelled the old Classic Card and slotted the new shiny Gold Cards into my wallet.

The credit card business is BIG business and with some relaxation of rules, all the banks were like stepping on and climbing over each other to capture a bigger slice of the lucrative market. With aggressive and clever marketing, soon every other person carried a card and some had multiple cards bulging from their wallets. Well, initially it still spoke something of the card holder….he/she was someone who qualified for many lines of credit. The banks, after all, will only lend to people with the ability to pay.

Then came a time, if I remember well, it was the economic recession when the payment terms were relaxed further…you need only to pay a mere 5% of the outstanding balance or a minimum of RM50 per month. It was a boon for many who were caught bad during the economic downturn. They had 'maxed' out their credit limits and paid only the minimum and soon enough, they found themselves drowning in debts and many were declared bankrupt. The authorities were alarmed and some called for restraint in the approval and issuance of credit cards. Meanwhile, the banks continued in their merry ways to entice and attract more card users with their most creative of marketing gimmicks. And I am sure many of my dear friends here would at some time or the other, have had credit cards practically shoved down their throats. All said, it’s till Caveat Emptor. For me, I just keep one Mastercard and one Visa and yes, I still do not understand why I should pay annual fees and so, I do not pay any.

And now, I’d like to think I am not so gullible and see things differently too. Gold Card or Platinum Card or whatever no longer cause anyone to bat an eyelid. A person who shows me a wallet full of credit cards would actually alarmed me. Hard cold cash would be more comforting. They don't say 'CASH IS KING' for nothing.

posted by nyonyapenang at 3:17 PM, |


  At 10:08 PM Blogger Will said:
yes cash is king... but i don't carry a lot around, you know la the crime rate these days

so credit card still is very useful. and if you do use it, you can always ask for waivers of the annual fee. i did...
Yeah, and in my case, King is cash too! hahahaa! ;)
yeah give me the credit limit of the credit card in cash and I'll be very happy too :)
My father always says that as along as he have the Agung's face he can do anything. Credit card companies are actually a legalize loan shark(tai yee lung).

I don't carry much cash around. Not because there is a high crime rate here. It is very convenient to use the NETS. In other words direct debit. You hand your ATM card to the cashier, and you just punch in your pin number. No cash being exchange. But of course you must have the $$$ in you account. Plus there is a limit perday - $2000 perday.
So if you are a big spender a credit card is better.

Every weekend or so, there will be either one bank offering credit cards with free this and that. Usually station themselves near the MRTs or where there are big crowds.
"Sorry I am a housewife" - that will usually stop them.

I can't help thinking that when your card expires, just look for another card on offer with another 2 to 5 years free. Not a bad deal actually.
No need to pay any fees...
hi will,
that was fast! hahahah....

my friend suggested that we should not carry too little also. mana tau, those jokers turned your pockets out and then found only RM20, they then give you extra slashes for inconveniencing them lar.

if so suei kena accosted, these jokers may also accompany you to the bank to do 'cash advance' with your Platinum Card. already also scared lar... how ar???
Hi King's Wife,
I always carry a little cash with me jugak because once, I kena with not enough cash and the stoooopid credit card phone line malfunctioned or something. teruk lar. :)
hahahah....I also want that in solid CASH....and if the notes comes smells kinda good too. :D
aiyah nonya,
You poppa is a very wise man. No Cash, No Talk!

You are using a debit card. We have it here too, but I think it's not very popular because many like to spend in advance...spending money that they have not earned yet! So Credit Card, it will be.

Because it's very competitive now, the banks are more willing to accommodate waiver of annual fees. Just tell them, 'Please waive. If not, I'll go somewhere else." And of course lar, you must have good payment records. :D
  At 11:22 PM Blogger Chen said:
Same here, I only have one Mastercard & one Visa. Troublesome lah to carry so many cards around :P
And to think that nowadays, we are often approached by people from different banks at shopping centres, offering credit cards with free-for-life annual fees.

Do I even look like one who is earning big bucks? These people often come up to me and ask me to apply. Previously I will just say "no thanks" or shake my head politely and attempt to walk away. Most of the time they continue to bug me.

Now, I'm cleverer. When they approach me, I will always say, "Oh, I'm a user of this bank's credit card already.". LOL!!
  At 11:48 PM Blogger angel said:
wah... i want to ask Will to help me ask for waiver! i paiseh to ask...

No Money, No Honey...
No Money, No Talk...
Money money money, in the rich man's home...

i feel insecure if i don't carry enuff cashi... but when wallet kena ragut, then cry lor...

aiks, off topic liao... soli...
  At 11:50 PM Blogger PEARLY said:
hi dear :
well in UK lot of ppl don't carry cash around everything just pin in for payment,lot of ppl say becos those angmo no cash is poor. kekeek
I think ppl don't carry cash is worry about crime,I myself is poor that why no cash.
lot of card around , gosh no thank's , I carry 2 the max cos if get pick pocket , oh my god to cancell al the card is the dam pain is the bottom .
one card for emegecia will be great
but I hate it when you go to cash and carry there want cash no card , I got to make sure have enought cash to do my shopping , so it does put me off to go .
  At 11:55 PM Anonymous mott said:
eh? I recall you wrote something similiar awhile back?

you trying to teach your sons something?? hee hee hee....

but seriously, one credit card is good enough. for any emergency. and it doesn't have to be a gold card! ;-)
dr chen,
betul cakap, lokter.
but if used already no need to pay, then 'no troublesome' at all ya? hahhaah.....

as long as you look like someone capable of earning an income, they will offer you the cards.

you are using a clever tactic telling them you ARE already holding their cards. hahhaha...
hi angel, need paiseh lar....but then I agree, Will tentu boleh tolong mia.

i'd feel insecure and uncomfortable too if my wallet is next to kosong. and this 'ragut-ting' business scare the hell out of me too. just 2 weeks back, my kawan kena kat bangsar...near the mosque area. OMG, she was bruised purple-black all over lar.
maybe must hide the cash somewhere else hor?

and angel, sini is the Merepek blog....nobody is ever out of topic here..... semua pun boleh...kasi taruh saja.
hi pearly,
i really do envy the convenience you have there using the debit cards. over here not very laku. moreover, i kinda don't trust the machines here...suka-suka they break down and you buy things liao or after eating a good dinner, no cash to pay. sei mou?

and you are so correct there...too many cards means tooo much trouble.

and of course lar, when you go 'CASH & Carry' they want Cash nia lar. They never say 'DEBIT & Carry' mar. hahahahaha......

have a nice day, pearly.
hi mott,
did i? ooopsss...gua must have forgotten. the one not too long ago was about me being a 'Money-Face' one.

the no. 1 has been using a supp card from me for the past 3 years and thank God, he is handling it well.
the no. 2 is not using any card at the moment...he does not see the need to use any. :)

i carry one master and one visa, just in case one of the line goes bonkers.
  At 1:27 AM Blogger U.Lee said:
Hello Nyonyapenang, very interesting post here.
I keep a couple of cards, but only for buying gas for my car so have a record as well for big items...otherwise strictly currency.
Apart from that the cards don't see sunlight...strictly for emergencis only.
Oh ya, I love carrying brand new currencies, the smell of money beats perfume anytime, so will always go to bank exchange old for new virgin ones.
Then it becomes very sayang to spend it, ha ha.
Keep well, Nyonya. UL.
  At 6:53 AM Blogger J.T. said:
I still prefer dealing with cash. I don't have to worry about keeping up with bills.
Sometimes when I find that I have limited cash in my wallet, then I use the direct debit method. Very convenient.

Usually the card is used only when necessary - especially for on line purchases.
  At 8:30 AM Blogger Pi Bani said:
I use my credit card for emergencies... sometimes when I don't have cash in hand and I need to buy something and the bank's ATM goes "temporarily out of service", credit card comes in handy. Besides, I don't like the idea of carrying big amount of cash with me... I'll be more tempted to use them, thinking that wah, still got money to spend... :) They're safer kept in the bank than in my purse. With the card, I'll have a statement of my spendings. With cash, suddenly I just realise they're gone... and then I ask myself where on earth did the money go to?! hehehe...
  At 9:48 AM Blogger famil said:
agree with aiyah nyonya, the banks are really tai yee lung.

i carried cash and debit cards. doesnt trust in Credit card (plus im bad in 'wealth' management).

but sometimes so 'mah fan' to buy things online or to check in into the hotel without credit cards.

Therefore having a card or two are necessary (visa and MC)
  At 10:02 AM Blogger FireHorse said:
I used to be very impress with people who got credit card too, when I was working I nvr had enuf money to qualify for one.
  At 10:30 AM Blogger eve said:
Aisey , now platinum oso no nid to pay annual fees for life..
"credit" cards are actually for those who can't afford.

Therefore, cold hard cash it is.

Nyonya, you have got a nice blog. Here is RM1,000 in appreciation tips! :P
  At 2:26 PM Blogger Jonzz said:
I think credit cards should be for convenience and emergency purposes.

Unfortunataly some people use them as an opportunity to spend money they do not have and go bankrupt.
Hi Uncle Lee,
Thank you for the compliments.

I also keep 2 cards only and use them for gas and sometimes groceries at the hypermarkets and of course for bigger items. However, certain purchases(eg. travel packages) attract a surcharge of 2% to 3% which we have to bear. I find it unfair.

And sometimes, it slows up the queue when using credit cards, so if I have enough cash, I'll just pay up and get going.

You also like the smell of new notes and hoard them too? hahhaha....

Have a nice day, Uncle Lee. :)
Hi j.t.
Ya, with cash, we just pay up and no need to keep the bills to tally with the credit card statements.

I only do online purchase of those low-budget's so convenient.
Hi Pi Bani,
I suppose different people use their cards differently. For me, if I just charge and charge and when the statement comes, I feel very sakit when paying one big amount. Ya you the wallet and pay by cash and then, I asked myself, "where has all the money gone?" :D
Hi Famil,
I suppose whether we use cash or credit card or debit card, at the end of the day, it boils down to being responsible with handling our money. I can be difficult when every one item seems to be calling our name. :)
hahahha...same-same here lar.
but now, nobody gives two hoots what card you carry. :)

actually, there is no reason to charge annual fees. :)

las montanas,
thanks for the compliments. you want my account number to bank in the cold hard cash for me? thanking you in advance again. hahahahh...

you have a nice day.

i fully agree with you. it's all about accountability and responsibility.
no credit card amah cannot survive in Hong kong don't pay the annual fee ah..just call the bank and ask them to waive!!
  At 1:34 AM Blogger U.Lee said:
Hi Nyonya, if you come to Canada for holidays, bring your platinum or Titanium cards its duty free shopping for tourists.
Canada waits for Nyonya, you have a great day, UL
hi Laundryamah,
shopping in hong kong sure needs credit cards. so you bought half of hong kong liao? hahahah...
Hi Uncle Lee, that must bring a few cards. Errr..errm... if I overshopped, can I borrow your Platinum Cards? hehehehe....

Have a good weekend, Uncle Lee.
  At 9:19 AM Blogger ah nel said:
ur goldcard are American Express isit? * you yeng*

i cant even step to credit card booth as my salary as a dishwasher wil nvr entitle me to hv one... ;)
hi nyonyapenang.......
yeah cash is the rules......
and is a king too
  At 4:17 PM Blogger William said:
I just pay with plastic what I would normally pay in cash anyway. And I have only paid RM0.50 of interest to the banks after using for 3 years.
ah nel,
i think you bluffing here lar...hahhaha....i thought i saw a few pratinum cards on you.

hi pisang goreng115nf,
CASH speaks universal language....everybody understands.

you certainly manage your funds very well.
i also don't allow them to earn interest from me. ^o^
  At 6:55 PM Blogger just me said:
The 2 C'S....basic requirements I heard...of a potential boyfriend??
hi just me,
just gimme cold hard CASH, anytime.
too many CCs makes me nervous. :)
  At 9:16 PM Blogger ah nel said:
if i got any pratinum,gold plated,silver i belanja u makan chim/ketam til u say no... ;)
Everything in moderation. 1 or 2 credit card ok la. Cash in hand just enough ok la. The rest put in the bank :)
  At 10:52 AM Blogger may said:
citibank never fails to send me a new credit card for me to use every 6 months, and every 6 months I decline it! dua dah cukup la, hor? cash is definitely king.

LOL @ king's wife's comment! wakakaka!
  At 2:12 PM Blogger savante said:
Yeah, I keep only two - usually use them to gain points actually :P Had enough to get me a handphone!
ah nel,
thanks for the offer. i may just take you up on it. but i know you don't take will you peel the prawns ands ketuk the ketam for me? :P

hi giddy tiger,
agree with you...moderation is the key and at the end of the day, it's still accountability and responsibility.

have a good weekend. :)

hi may,
you must be a very good customer. and citibank is one of the better ones in the card market.

hi savante, sure your accumulated points is enough to buy me lunch.:P
  At 1:31 AM Blogger ah nel said:
fish not seefood? ;)

for khaimah anything even brush teeth after meal... :P