Having a credit card has become the American way of life. It has been estimated that nearly 85% of American households have credit cards of some sort. Why is that? Because credit cards offer tremendous financial benefits. Here are just a few of the major advantages having a credit card offers.
Convenience – Obviously this is arguably the biggest advantage to owning any type of credit card. There is no having to dig around for cash, or trying to find your checkbook. It’s quick and easy to hand the clerk your credit card. They are also accepted around the world by most every merchant. You may find it difficult to write an American check while visiting Italy.
Credit Score – Using a credit card wisely, and correctly, will build your credit score and improve your future credit purchases, such as a home. Every month your credit report is updated with payments that are made. Lenders look at your credit history to see if you pay your bills, pay them on time, and how much you charge up. Your credit history and score is like your financial life blood so to speak.
Monthly Budget – Having a credit card can help you budget your monthly bills. Keep in mind though, this will only work if you pay off the entire balance every month. You’ll have your monthly credit card statement that itemizes your transactions each month and you will know exactly what you have spent. If you are disciplined, this works well.
Credit Card Float – A float is the time from which you charged an item, and the date in which full payment is due in order to avoid interest charges. You can really use this to your advantage if you’re smart. Many times you will get an extra 30 days to pay off the balance before interest kicks in.
Credit Card Rewards – Many credit card companies offer rewards that you can never get by using cash, checks, or a debit card. Credit card reward programs include cash back, airline rewards, and other merchandise programs. These rewards can be a nice addition that comes in handy at times.
Protection – This is another big advantage to having a credit card. If your credit card is stolen, you will generally only be responsible for the first $50 at most. Many times, if you report the theft in the first 24-48 hours you will have the $50 waived.
Other ways a credit card can offer protection is with merchants who won’t honor a refund request. It is so easy to dispute the credit card charge instead of trying to get a cash refund if you paid by cash or check. You have the leverage of your credit card company helping you.
These are just a few of the many advantages having a credit card can give you. The important thing to keep in mind is to use it responsibly. If you do, you’ll reap the many benefits.