Why Consumers Should Use Credit Cards
Credit cards, if not used responsibly, can get you into a lot of financial trouble. Some people recommend not using them at all but the truth is using credit cards to pay for things in your everyday life has many benefits that can actually save you money.
- Rewards. The rewards programs on today’s cards may offer rewards that are useful to you like gas cards or gift cards to stores that you currently shop at.
- Cash back. Cards that offer cash back instead of rewards are popular but check the interest rates. You may be able to get a card with a lower rate to begin with.
- Frequent flyer miles. This was one of the first types of rewards programs offered to consumers. There are many cards that offer miles and a lot of them will give you a bunch of miles up front just for signing up with them. Before you pick a card based solely on airline miles, check to see what their preferred airline is to make sure that is one that’s convenient to you and that it isn’t too restrictive with usage, i.e. doesn’t have lots of “blackout dates” when you can’t lose them.
- Credit Cards have your back. When you buy something with a credit card, it is automatically insured by your card issuer, often beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. They may also offer rental car insurance so you don’t have to purchase it from the rental agency or use your own auto insurance if something goes wrong. Many offer travel insurance as well. These perks come at no extra cost to you.
- Fraud protection. If you discover that someone has used your debit card number to make fraudulent purchases, the money has already been taken out of your account by that point. It’s up to your bank to investigate and put the money back into your account. With a credit card, you notify them of the fraudulent purchase and while they investigate the issue, you won’t be responsible for paying for it. Because fraud has become such a huge problem, credit card companies and banks have become proactive in the fight and it’s likely that you’ll receive a phone call from them before you’re even aware of the crime.
- They’re safer to carry. If you carry cash because it’s your preferred method of payment and you’re robbed, you’ve lost all that cash. But if cards are stolen, a quick phone call to your card issuer can cancel the card as well as the thief’s ability to use it. If you think the solution is to carry your checkbook, think again. Every time you hand someone a written check, you’re handing them your bank’s routing number and your account number.
- Some places require them. If you’re renting a room, the company may require a credit card. Otherwise, they may insist on putting a hold on a few hundred dollars on your bank account if using a debit card.
- They help you build credit. Opening a credit card is an easy way to begin building your credit history. It’ll start with a small credit limit, typically $500, but if you use it to make small purchases and make your monthly payments on time, your limit will grow and your credit score will rise.
- They’re safest for online purchases. Buying things online is not only a great convenience, it puts the world at your doorstep. Unfortunately, if you’re buying from a smaller retailer, you don’t really know who you’re dealing with. Using a credit card helps to protect you from fraudulent companies.
- It can help you budget. Yes, budgeting. If you use a credit card for all of your purchases, you’ll receive a monthly bill that tells you exactly where all of your money was spent. Of course, if you’re doing this, you should only be spending what you can afford to pay off each month.
If done responsibly, using a credit card can streamline your life, save you money, and even protect you against fraud or product failure.
If you’re a business, Apogee, a leader in credit card payment systems, can give you the ability to accept payments from customers on your website, a mobile device, or point of sale system. Call Apogee today at (866)678-1302 and see how we can help you bring in the money!