Credit cards are a great way to build your credit, but they can also be one of the most common sources of financial disaster. Just remember, credit cards are simply another form of payment. Don’t let the fact that you can push off paying your bill to the end of the month trick you. If you don’t pay off your bill completely every cycle, you will accrue charges and pay much more in the long run.
The decision to get a credit card and use it is a serious one, and it’s important to evaluate the potential risks as well as the benefits. Paying with plastic offers excellent convenience and several other perks, but there are risks along the way. Here is a list of pros and cons associated with having credit cards:
Convenience – It is hard to beat the convenience credit cards offer. With that little piece of plastic, purchases can be quick and easy.
Less risky than cash – Carrying a credit card can be less risky than carrying cash. If you lose a wallet full of cash, that money is likely gone forever. If you lose a wallet with a credit card, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your money by freezing your card with your card carrier.
Easier tracking of purchases – Many credit card issuers will track your purchases for you and provide detailed summaries that make everything from budgeting to dealing with taxes easier.
Miles, Points, and Other Perks – From airline miles and gift cards to points and money off everyday purchases, credit card users can earn a wide variety of rewards. These rewards can make paying with plastic much better than paying cash. Check out our Visa Rewards online store.
Less cash tied up – Trying to rent a car or book a hotel room without a credit card can be an exercise in frustration. Even if you can book travel, you will likely have to put down a hefty cash deposit. Using a credit card frees up your limited cash for other purposes.
Credit cards make it easy to overspend – The same convenience factor that makes credit cards so attractive also makes them risky. When you pay with cash, you are limited to the money in your wallet. When you pay with plastic, your only limitation is your credit line.
High-interest charges – If you spend more than you can afford to pay off, you will likely face some hefty interest charges. Salal’s Classic Visa has a much lower rate than your typical high-interest credit card from one of the big national banks. Plus, with no balance transfer fees, it costs you nothing to move over high-interest balances and start saving money right away.
Fees for missing a payment or paying late – Credit card issuers love their fees, and it is easy to get caught up in them. If you miss a payment, pay late, or exceed your credit limit, you will pay dearly for the oversight.
Overwhelmed by credit card debt? Our partners at BALANCE Financial Fitness may be able to help. We offer members free financial counseling services. Learn more.