Owning a credit card is common now. But do you really have to use credit cards? There are benefits to having the ability to charge large purchases on credit and pay them off over time. But credit cards also come with a long list of negatives. Take these positives and negatives into account.
There are times where a large purchase would be within reach if payments were possible. When someone needs to finance a new oven, washer, or other large appliance or utility, the additional costs of interest may be worth having the item sooner than later.
Credit cards are a safer bet for traveling than cash or debit. Debit cards tend to attract more cases of theft and misuse, and cash can make you an easy target or be cumbersome during expensive trips. On the other hand, credit cards tend to offer added protection regardless of how far you are from home. This security bonus is true whether or not you’re on the road.
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Additionally, credit cards are extremely useful when building credit. Without transactions and payments to report on your credit report, you may not be able to get larger financing. This includes home loans and auto loans.
Lastly, emergencies sometimes call for funds that not available sometimes. Having a credit card may divert a disaster within the household. It is not an ideal situation to be in debt, but an unlivable home, lack of a vehicle, or no money during emergencies is far worse than a little debt.
Cons – No thanks!
There are several reasons why having a credit card may be detrimental to your finances. For many folks, the ability to spend above their means is too tempting. Impulsive buyers can buy things they don’t really need with just a swipe of the card. This often leads to credit card debt when their financial situation isn’t getting any better.
Even if you use your credit card responsibly, you still have to deal with the interest rates. Interest rates plus other fees. Additional fees are sometimes charged for swiping at a store or for membership in a special program.
Missing out on a due payment date is a bad mark against your credit. If you don’t have good credit reported in the past, this can be detrimental to your credit score, making auto loans or home loans extremely difficult to secure.
The key is responsible spending and payments. Spending beyond your means can turn owning a credit card into a nightmare.