Credit Card Use - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Credit cards, when used properly can be great. You can earn points, use them as an advance and most importantly, you can improve your credit. Unfortunately, many people misuse credit cards and end up setting up a meeting with me to discuss bankruptcy.
Credit cards can be great but it’s also important to be educated to spend responsibly.
Here are some pros and cons to shopping with a credit card:
Many credit are accepted virtually anywhere and give you purchasing power worldwide (online, by phone and at stores).
By using a credit card, you can earn money back on your day-to-day purchases. Many cards give cardholders cash-back on things like groceries, gas and select department store purchases. Other cards offer free flights, hotel stays and car rentals as rewards. In fact, there are so many different types of rewards that you can choose a credit card that has rewards that cater to your lifestyle.
Credit cards let you buy now and pay later (this is a pro as well as a con).
Credit cards are indispensable tools for people trying to build credit. By making frequent purchases and maintaining a zero balance, you can quickly build a respectable credit history.
Ideally, you should have an emergency fund equal to 6 to 12 months of your income to keep you afloat in case of a layoff, medical emergency or other unexpected event. Since that’s not always possible, a credit card can help you juggle unforeseen expenses.
One of the most obvious drawbacks of using a credit card is paying back interest. It’s important to pay off purchases in full before the grace period ends to avoid taking on interest.
If you do happen to miss a payment, you’ll incur late fees which adds up quickly for repeat offenders.
Ease of Spending
Credit cards make it easy to spend money — maybe too easy. When you’re not using cash, it’s easy to become detached from spending. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall into suffocating debt. It all comes down to being careful with your money.
If abused, credit cards can send your credit score into a downward spiral. Your credit score will take a hit if you miss payments, carry a high balance or have too many open credit card accounts.
If you find yourself in debt due to credit cards, contact us for help. We have helped many consumers with insurmountable credit card debt get a fresh financial start.