Credit cards are notorious for being evil pieces of plastic that can cause financial ruin. While there is some truth to this, credit cards can be great tools for setting yourself up for financial independence and well-being. However, this is not without risk. If you are not careful with a credit card, you can become another cautionary tale about how not to use a credit card. Here are 5 reasons you should get a credit card.
1. Credit score
As you make your transition into adulthood, few things are more needed than a credit score. If you want to rent your own apartment, buy your own car, or even buy a house, you are going to need a solid credit score. There is no other way to get a credit score than to get a credit card. Getting a credit score as soon as possible is going to allow you to do things like those listed above. In fact, employers are sometimes known to check credit, so if you have a good credit score, it might open up job opportunities. Now, there is a danger to starting a credit score. If you are not financially stable and you choose to use a credit card, you can ruin your credit score for a long time and actively hurt your ability to get an apartment, car, house, and even a job. A credit score is a great way to demonstrate reliability to employers and banks, but if you cannot pay your bills, do not bother getting a credit card. Overall, getting a credit card to build a credit score can open up many doors in your adult life, but if there is any reason why you wouldn’t be able to pay your bills on time, it’s better not to risk getting a credit card. The damage done to your credit score can take years to decades to fix and will reduce your opportunities in the job market.
Credit cards are also more secure. If you lose your debit card and someone withdraws a large amount of money, that is real money coming out of your account. A credit card, however, is not “real” money, as it is only credit added onto your card each month that you then pay back with your own money. This makes using a credit card more secure for when you inevitably lose the card or for online purchases. Most credit cards will also allow you to control your card from a smartphone app where you can lock the card if it gets lost, further preventing theft. Overall, you are worried about theft in real-life or online, a credit card is a great way to spend money in a more secure manner.
3. Benefits and perks
Next, different credit cards offer different kinds of benefits that will provide certain perks based on your card choice. For example, if you like to travel, there are plenty of credit cards that will give you frequent flier miles after each purchase, which can then can be redeemed for free flights. If you are a foodie, there are credit cards that will give cash-back on every purchase your spend on dining out. There is even the infamous Apple Card, which will give you cash-back on every purchase carried out through Apple Pay, and an even higher amount of cash-back on every Apple Store purchase. Point is, if you have a certain way you like to spend your money, there is likely a credit card out there that will allow you to get certain benefits for those purchases. This is beneficial because it allows you to get cash-back or other rewards just for spending your money how you already normally would.
4. Spending management
Credit cards are a great way to manage the money you spend. With the aforementioned smartphone apps, you can actually see how you spend your money and the categories of purchases you spend your money on, whether it be entertainment, food, or groceries. This allows you to better adjust your spending behavior if you see your spending is getting out of hand, and set budgets on different categories of spending. This is a great way to make sure you are not spending money that you cannot pay back and counteract the infamous ability of credit cards to cause you to overspend. You can also use these tools to manage your subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, or Hulu, and get a good idea of what is a waste of your money and what is still worth paying for every month. In fact, there are a lot of times when you set up a subscription without even knowing it, like when you forget to cancel a trial. These spending management tools will be able to point out these new subscriptions and give you the option to cancel them. Overall, a credit card can often provide the tools necessary to keep your spending in check so that you are preserving your credit score. And with all of the new tools coming out for smartphones, there are going to plenty of ways to manage how much you are spending on what, and cut back if necessary. If you are someone who likes to see where your money is going, a credit card may be for you.
5. Ease of use
Finally, credit cards provide a higher ease of use. Instead of having to carry around cash every time you go out, you can just rely on your credit card or even virtual pay on your smartphone. Especially with the recent coin shortage during COVID-19, using a credit card makes purchases easier on everyone, as cashiers will not have to give you change. This is also healthier, as cash and coins can carry germs. Overall, using a credit card is the way to go if you are looking for an easier way to handle and spend your money that is not only more secure, but easier on cashiers and store employees.