The average American has four credit cards. In 2020, there were 377 million open credit card accounts in the United States.
Some people might be avoidant of using credit cards because they are afraid of accruing credit card debt. This is a reasonable fear, as it’s important to be responsible in the way that you manage your credit cards.
However, people who choose to not use credit cards are ultimately doing themselves a disservice. There are a lot of reasons why it makes sense to use credit cards for pretty much any purchase you are making.
Are you wondering why you should use your credit cards as opposed to some other method of payment? Let’s take a look at ten compelling reasons to pay with your card.
1. Credit Cards Build Your Credit History
If you plan on borrowing money, your credit score plays a major role in whether or not your loan application is requested as well as the terms you are offered.
The use of your credit cards, whether it’s a Home Depot credit card or a Chase Freedom Unlimited, is reported to the credit bureaus that are responsible for monitoring credit scores.
One of the factors that impact your credit score is your credit history. The longer you have and use your credit cards, the more this works in your favor. When you have a good track record of consistently paying your credit card balance on time, it can improve your score over time.
2. Some Credit Cards Give Cash Back
A number of credit cards offer cashback when you make purchases. This means that every time you buy something with your credit card, you receive a small amount of it back. While it might not seem like much money per purchase, it can add up over time to serious savings.
Remember, though, that the benefits of getting cashback might not be worth it if you’re paying interest on your credit card balance. For this reason, it’s ideal to pay off your balance in full every month to avoid paying interest.
3. Others Offer Rewards or Miles Programs
The trick to getting a credit card that offers rewards or miles programs is to choose one that fits your existing spending habits. You also might choose to get a credit card with a retailer you already frequent. For example, tech and computer lovers might be interested in a Best Buy credit card.
4. Credit Cards Help Track Your Spending
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of the money that you’re spending. Few people have the time or headspace to record every little purchase they make, but this can mean that your money is being spent and you’re not even sure where it’s going.
When you use your credit card, all of your transactions will be listed on your credit card statements. That means that all of the essential information about your purchases is recorded in an easy to digest documents.
This is particularly useful when it’s time to pay taxes. It can help you save both effort and time when it’s time to file because you have a record of your spending already compiled.
5. They Help Protect Against Fraud
One of the biggest reasons that you might want to use credit cards over debit cards when making purchases is that they offer fraud protection.
For example, if someone finds your credit card information online or steals your card, you won’t end up losing much money, if any. This is because credit card charges aren’t withdrawn immediately so you can let your credit card company know about the theft right away.
Once the company has been notified, they will start an investigation and put a hold on your card. Any fraudulent purchases that are made in the meantime won’t be your responsibility.
On the other hand, if your debit card is stolen, you are not nearly as protected and at a greater risk of losing money.
6. Balance Transfer Cards Can Help You Manage Debt
Some cards are advertised as having balance transfer offers. These types of cards often offer an introductory low or 0% APR rate for a period of time. This means that balances that you transfer from other cards can be free from accruing interest for the duration of the introductory offer.
When you switch to a card that has a lower interest rate, it means you can pay down your debt faster and save money on interest. Consolidating your credit card debt onto a balance transfer card can simplify managing your debt payments.
7. They Have Built-In Grace Periods
While credit cards can have higher interest rates than other types of loans, the built-in grace period serves as a way to get a 30-day loan with zero interest.
Basically, you don’t have to have the funds immediately when you make a purchase. There is instead a grace period of 30 days in which you don’t accrue any interest in your purchase. Be aware that interest will begin being charged when this grace period is up, though.
8. They Are Universally Accepted
Credit cards are probably the easiest way to pay for the various things you buy throughout the day. When you’re traveling away from home, you can reasonably expect that your credit card will be accepted nearly everywhere.
(Would you consider yourself a travel junky? If so, check out the best cards for you.)
9. They Offer Consumer Protections
An enormous perk of many credit cards is the consumer protections that are offered. For example, you can get a charge removed if you make a purchase only to learn that the item is of poor quality or damaged.
Your credit cards also might offer extended warranties on a number of items like electronics and furniture. If you are interested in tapping into this perk, make sure that you keep all of your receipts.
10. Responsible Use Helps You Improve Your Credit Score
If you’re trying to improve your credit or build your credit from the ground up, using a credit card can help. Using a debit card doesn’t do you any good when you are trying to build credit or improve credit, on the other hand.
If you have bad credit, it can be more difficult to be approved for a credit card. However, you aren’t completely out of luck. To help build your credit you can deposit funds to get a secured card so you can build your credit back up.
(Interested in getting a Capital One credit card? You can learn more here.)
Credit Cards Are Essential Tools For Financial Wellbeing
As you can see, there are some pretty convincing reasons why credit cards should be your payment method of choice. If you’ve been used to paying with cash, a debit card, or checks, it can take a bit of getting used to relying on your credit cards. However, making the switch can end up improving your financial health significantly in the long run, so long as you are able to manage your credit card use responsibly.
If you know that it’s time for you to start using a credit card but you don’t quite know where to begin, check out our article about the different types of credit cards.