I remember getting my first credit card in Chicago. It was a Marshall Fields' credit card with a $250 limit and an exorbitant interest rate. I was a broke college student, but it seemed as if I had the power to do anything with that credit card. I went to the mall with a confident air, knowing that I had the means to buy whatever I wanted (within that $250) at the spot.
Reality quickly intervened after I saw the interest accrue on the credit card. My $100 splurge on makeup turned into $125 , then $150 quickly as the interest grew. I realized that the power never rested with me - my splurges were giving more power to the financial institutions that owned the card and my credit line. I quickly paid off the card and resolved never to hold a credit card debt again.
Reality intervened again and it took many more years before I was stable enough financially to hold zero credit card debt. In those years, I was targeted with all manners of offers for credit cards and bank accounts - some I availed, some I did not. They all had one thing in common - high interest rates, higher late or banking fees.
Now that I am stable enough financially to not keep any credit card debt, I get targeted with a different set of offers. 0% APR to transfer credit over or a hefty bonus to open an account and keep a certain minimum in it land daily in my email inbox. These casual offers enrage me sometimes - I needed those offers when I was broke and had trouble paying bills in college, not now when I am capable of paying off my balance every month.
We think of poverty as a condition of life for many people in the world - however, we never stop to think how much people benefit from the poor and how our current systems are designed to take advantage and keep the poor right where they are. High interest rates and high banking fees are just two of the million things that keep those less fortunate weighed down and stuck where they are.