Thursday, July 11, 2019

The weird message of Credit Karma ads

If your credit score is low, you live in a tiny apartment, drive a beater, and your life is generally hell on Earth.

But if you get your credit score up, everything magically gets better- you move into a much nicer apartment or even get a house, you trade up for a car that shows better for your neighbors, maybe you even take up mountain biking because that's a rich millenial's hobby.

I get that what Credit Karma is trying to tell you is that a low credit score keeps you from getting low interest rates on expensive stuff which- unless you are really stupid- keeps you from getting expensive stuff.  This is a message that sells well to people who don't have a lot of money and are unwilling to live like they do.  It probably completely flummoxes the people with poor credit who head over to Rent A Center to fill their homes with big-screen tvs, sofas and game systems before signing up for ruinous car payments for a vehicle worth twice their annual salaries.  Because those people aren't limited by their low credit scores- or rather, they don't realize they are or are determined to pretend that they aren't.

Still, there's a very definite "get your credit score up so you can get deeper into debt" vibe that runs through all of these ads because at no time are viewers told exactly HOW to get those credit scores up.  We just see people enjoying the benefits of a higher credit score.  Maybe it's because cutting back on spending, paying all your bills on time for years, and making more money aren't quite as attractive as just moving your finger across a screen, magically moving your credit score up 200 points, and instantly reaping the rewards in the form of a bigger house, nicer car and cool weekend hobby- all of which are going to cost you money and make it even more important that you pay your bills on time.

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