Consumers use credit cards for bail, tattoos, other 'crazy' purchases

Americans flash plastic for the craziest things -- to ink up their bodies, get out of jail, or even watch X-rated movies.

Nearly six in 10 people admitted to making what they considered to be a crazy purchase with their credit cards, according to survey results released Monday by


Those purchases included the frivolous and the serious, such as paying for a wedding, funeral or college tuition.

The top responses from the 57% who said they made a crazy credit card purchase were adult entertainment (6.7%), scalped tickets to concerts or sporting events (6%), cars (5%) and college tuition (4.7%).

Men were four times as likely as women to use a credit card for adult entertainment, according to the survey of 2,004 adults.

While using a credit card can be convenient, in many cases it doesn't make financial sense, said Ellen Cannon, editorial director of, a for-profit website that helps people compare credit card offers.

"If you're tempted to use a credit card for a big-ticket item like a car, first do the math: The average car loan rate is less than 5% and the average credit card rate is around 15%," she said

"If you can't pay that credit card balance immediately, you shouldn't even think about using plastic," Cannon said.

Rounding out the top responses from the 57% of Americans who admitted to making a crazy purchase were tattoos (3.3%), weddings (2.6%), bail (2%) and funerals (2%).

Reward programs can make some credit card purchases less crazy, Cannon said.

"If a consumer pays off her credit card balance in full each month and has a great rewards program on the card, paying a college tuition bill can earn thousands of points," she said.