Are you one of the many scared of getting a credit card? Before you believe everything you hear and see, do some research first. Some myths you’ve heard about credit cards are actually just misunderstood concepts. Working on a buy-now-pay-later scheme, a credit card is a plastic card you can use to pay for goods and services using funds you pre-borrowed from a bank or a financial institution. It’s basically a loan that you can always access unless you’ve reached your pre-approved limit. But what are the uses and benefits of getting a credit card?
When you use your credit card when you’re shopping or getting groceries or just about any type of transaction, you only need to swipe (or tap) and go. Yes, that quick and easy.
Getting a credit card marks the end of an era of finding an ATM or counting the change you receive before leaving the counter because you’d be charged exactly through your card. And now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, cashless transactions are the way to go.
Carrying a huge wad of cash around is not only a hassle, but also a big risk. If you’re only carrying a card (and a smaller amount of cash) when out and about, even if your wallet gets stolen, you can easily call your bank and have the card blocked, so that there wouldn’t be any unauthorized purchases.
Plus, credit cards are safer to use than debit accounts or e-wallets for online transactions, since it’s not tied to your bank account. Even if your card ends up being used for any fraudulent transaction, you can report it to your bank for reversal, and you won’t lose any of your actual money.
You can use it for both online and in-person transactions
Credit cards give you a lot of room to be flexible in terms of payment, and you can use it to make both online and in-person purchases. More often than not, most online stores don’t accept cash payments, so you need an e-wallet that you’d need to reload frequently especially nowadays. But if you have a credit card, you could simply input your details, and voila! You’re now paid without any extra steps.
Credit cards are especially useful for recurring transactions like bills payment (e.g. water, electricity, phone, etc.) and subscriptions (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music), since you could set it up to automatically send payment so you wouldn’t miss your due dates.
You can track your expenses
A credit card comes with a monthly statement of account that lists all the expenses you made in the past month. Having such a document would help you learn the habit of keeping track of all your expenses. It would also let you recognize where you spent too much or too little, so you could move your budget around as needed.
You can enjoy rewards and promos
One of the most exciting things about a credit card is its points system. All your expenses can come back as reward points that you can use to exchange into promos and freebies. Depending on your bank, you can get anything from cash rebates to food to gadgets.
It’s useful as a back-up during emergencies
We’ve already said this so many times, but in the midst of this pandemic, a credit card would be extremely helpful. In case of any emergency, you could have the assurance of “extra” funds in your credit card. It might not be the smartest thing to use a credit card to pay for sudden expenses like medical fees, but at least, you can have it to fall back on if worse comes to worst.
You can build your credit score
What is a credit score, you ask? It’s basically a rating based on your credit history that lets banks and other financial institutions know if they should trust you with a loan or not.
When you use your credit card properly — and by properly, we mean paying on time and spending responsibly — you can build a credit history that would give you a good credit score. This would help you in the future when you want to apply for car or house loans, or even another credit card.
“It all sounds so great . . . But won’t I drown in debt?”
Ah, the question in everyone’s minds when talking about credit cards.
All these conveniences, of course, come with a caveat. You’d only drown in debt if you spend more than you can pay. You’ve got to make sure you know how much you’re charging to your credit card. Keep track of each expense and make sure you have the means to pay for it when your due date comes knocking on your door.
The trick to a credit card is to make sure you don’t spend beyond your means. If you know you can pay for it when your due date comes, then by all means, buy what you want. But if you think that you’d just be able to pay the minimum balance if you buy this expensive thing you like, then maybe come back to it when you have more savings in stock.
The bottom line is, use your credit card to spend only what you can pay off, and all will be well.
Already a credit card holder? What other benefits can you think of? Share them with us.