It seems like no matter where you turn, you find people who tell you that using credit cards is a bad idea. While it’s true that using them irresponsibly can cause problems, the reality is that responsible credit card use provides a lot of advantages. The key is to do your research before signing up for a card to ensure you find one with the right benefits to meet your needs.
Whether you sign up for an American Express credit card or another type of card, you’ll find that many of them offer bonuses for people who are signing up for the first time, especially for those who have good or excellent credit. Often, credit card companies provide bonuses of $150 and more for people who spend a certain amount of money within a specific amount of time. Other card companies offer extra rewards or miles that you can exchange for airfare, gift cards, merchandise, and more.
Maybe you had an unexpected expense pop up. Perhaps you found a great deal on a purchase you’ve been wanting to make for a long time but don’t have the cash on hand. Owning a credit card makes your unexpected shopping needs more convenient. Rather than wait until you have the money from a paycheck or pulling from your savings, you can use your credit card and then pay off the bill when the time comes.
Whether you’ve just reached adulthood and need to build your credit or you’re working on upping your score after several years of not-so-great credit, owning a credit card can help you raise your score. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that this only works if you’re using it responsibly. This means paying the minimum balance (at least) each month and making sure to do so on time. On-time payments can raise your score, but late ones will lower it.
Who doesn’t want to earn money for spending money, right? Many credit card companies provide their customers with cash back up to a certain percentage on their purchases. Some cards only give you cash back for certain types of purchases while others provide it for all purchases. Research each card to determine which option is best for you and don’t forget to look at what percentage you’ll get back.
Say you made a purchase in cash but the item was defective. Without a record of your purchase, it may be more difficult to get the store to let you exchange or return the item. When you pay with a credit card, though, you have a record of your purchase and can easily dispute charges if needed. This is beneficial not only if you make a purchase that goes awry but also if you need to dispute a charge. While it’s true that banks also let you dispute charges, they often take much longer to look into the issue than credit card companies do.
Sometimes, it’s easier for you to track your spending when you use a credit card. This is because the companies provide you with detailed bills every month that show how much money you spent, where you spent it, and what you spent it on. After a few months of seeing your transactions, it will be easier for you to tell where you’re spending money and determine if there are changes you’d like to make to your spending habits.
Credit cards are typically accepted at most establishments around the world, but that isn’t the case for your bank’s debit cards. In fact, some places don’t accept debit cards at all. Sometimes, places will accept debit cards but require you to make a deposit, such as if you’re paying for gas at the pump or renting a car. Credit cards are more trusted than personal bank accounts, which means you’ll have an easier time when you’re traveling.
No matter why you decide to get a credit card, always do your research first. Look into both secured and unsecured options, verify interest rates and annual fees, and read reviews to see how other people fel about the cards they use. This will help to ensure you make the right decision for yourself.