UNITED STATES—What the hell America? I recently got a letter in the mail from one of my retail credit cards that I have had over 20 years and it just baffled me to the core. I have been hearing plenty of chatter, and something is amiss in the world of credit cards, when your APR is skyrocketing over 30 percent.

When I signed up for this initial card because the offer was extended to me, I think it was around 22 percent. I only signed up for the card because I was able to save like 30 percent on a jacket that I wanted to purchase, and I have had the card ever since. However, if the retailer thinks I am going to pay nearly 12 percent higher on purchases if I use my credit card, they are nuts.

At first, I told myself, you know what, just swallow the increase and go with it. You know if you cancel your card it is going to hurt you in terms of your credit score. Then I did a bit of research. If I choose NOT to accept the new terms and the retailer closes my credit card that doesn’t impact my credit score. My score is only impacted if I CHOOSE to close my account.

It actually is the best of both worlds. How so? I get the opportunity to not be tempted to use the credit card, and I can pay it off and that is one less bill I have each month America. I have no clue what the APR is on people signing up on new credit cards, but I’ve heard it is not cheap like in the older days where I know when I signed up for my first credit card in college the APR was around 12 percent, now I think it clocks in over 25 percent if not higher depending on one’s credit score.

Yes, America, having credit is a special perk, not something you’re guaranteed so that is why it is important to pay your bill each month and knock down that debt you may have or incurred as much as possible. You want to have that spending power when an emergency arises, and you have to take care of something that perhaps you did not expect. In addition, it is good to have that spending power in case something unexpected arises like a job loss, death in the family or unexpected fix to your property.

The credit card companies know what they are doing, with the high APRs people are literally stuck in debt the rest of their lives and it gets to a point where it is near impossible to get out of debt and leads to people thinking they have no way out. It may seem impossible, but you just have to breathe and set up a plan. 1) Stop using the card. The only way to pay off debt is not to create more debt. 2) Understand the difference between a want and a need. A want is something that makes you feel better, a need is something you must have in order to survive.  3) Make a goal of what you want to pay each month and tackle the cards that have the higher APRs.

The higher the interest rate, the quicker you want to tackle that debt so that’s what you’re paying in interest can be pushed towards other bills you have. Credit card debt is crippling many Americans in this country and one of the biggest reasons is that people forget a credit card is money you do not have. That is money you have to pay back. Don’t incur debt unless you have to, but more important only incur debt that you know you can afford to pay off. The temptation for a card might sound like a good idea but think before you sign up because sometimes that high APR on the credit card is not worth the purchase or two that you make.