The Sunday Times - - Business -

Can you re­mem­ber when you got your first credit card?

Mine was au­to­mat­i­cally bun­dled into my NAB stu­dent bank­ing pack­age when I went to univer­sity.

At the time, NAB said it was a smart idea for stu­dents to have ac­cess to a “low-rate credit card” for “emer­gen­cies” (like bar night).

That card al­lowed NAB to be­gin build­ing a mar­ket­ing pro­file on me.

Through the po­si­tion­ing of min­i­mum re­pay­ments on my state­ments and on­line bank­ing, they trained me to see their credit limit as my money.

Then they be­gan bump­ing up my credit limit.

That’s how the game works.

Com­mBank is do­ing this right now with its lat­est ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign,

which tar­gets young peo­ple to sign up for its “low-in­ter­est” Es­sen­tials credit card . . . in­stead of go­ing through the has­sle of bor­row­ing money from their par­ents.

One CBA bill­board says: “Be­cause the Bank of Mum and Dad will prob­a­bly give you a lec­ture, and you had enough of those at uni.”

Its TV ads show mil­len­nial kids hav­ing to suck up to their par­ents — lis­ten­ing to their dad’s jokes, eat­ing their mother’s ter­ri­ble cook­ing — just so they can bor­row some money.

CBA’s tagline at the end of the ad says: “For when you’ve out­grown the bank of Mum and Dad.”

A spokesman for CBA said the ads aren’t ma­nip­u­la­tive in the slight­est.

In fact, they’re in it to help young peo­ple.

“We be­lieve it’s re­ally im­por­tant to help young adults de­velop good fi­nan­cial habits, such as bud­get­ing and man­ag­ing their money wisely,” the spokesman said. “As they move into full-time em­ploy­ment, their spend­ing and pay­ment habits change, and this in­cludes us­ing credit cards.”

That’s the cor­po­rate spin, though there’s no way they ac­tu­ally be­lieve it. It’s all just part of the game.

To be fair, the vast ma­jor­ity of CBA em­ploy­ees are hard-work­ing, dili­gent pro­fes­sion­als who care deeply about their cus­tomers.

It’s just the top brass that are knobs. Tread Your Own Path! The Bare­foot In­vestor holds an Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Li­cence (302081). This is gen­eral ad­vice only. It should not re­place in­di­vid­ual, in­de­pen­dent, per­sonal fi­nan­cial ad­vice

If you have a burn­ing money ques­tion, go to bare­foot­in­ and #askbare­foot

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