There are more than 1.1 billion credit cards in the United States. That’s more than three times the number of debit cards out there. And here’s why. They’re convenient and secure. They give you financial freedom and a wealth of opportunities to improve your life, but only if they’re used responsibly. There’s a flip side to all those credit card benefits. When mismanaged, credit cards can saddle you with debt and a poor credit score that makes it hard to buy a car, secure a mortgage or take out any kind of personal loan. Let’s take a closer look.
Helps Build Credit
Good credit is a great thing. When you have a positive track record for paying off credit card debt, lenders are more likely to work with you. Responsible credit card use gives you a better shot at lower interest rates and higher credit limits, too.
Prepaid debit cards don’t offer rewards points. Credit cards do. From cash back to airline miles to discounts on shopping, rewards points can improve your quality of life. Remember though: many credit cards charge fees for their rewards programs. Do the math to be sure the benefits outweigh the cost.
Protects Against Fraud
When it comes to fraud, credit card companies offer more protection than debit cards do. Most credit card companies also monitor suspicious activity and can catch unauthorized charges before you know they’ve happened. If someone steals your information and goes on a spending spree, the credit card company can proactively freeze your card to prevent additional purchases.
Helps You Track Spending
Saving money starts with understanding where it all goes. Every single purchase you make with a credit card becomes a line item on your monthly statement. And many credit card companies offer easy-to-read breakdowns of the categories where you spend the most money. That’s a handy resource when you’re trying to get a handle on your overspending and a great tool for budgeting in general.
That little plastic card doesn’t look or feel like cash. It’s easy to swipe without thinking through how much money you’re spending. If you’re not mindful of your purchases, you can land yourself in financial hot water in a hurry. Pay attention to your spending. Wait 24 hours before making big purchases to give yourself time to think them through. And if you can, pay off your debt in full each month.
Fees and Interest
If you miss a payment, you’ll be charged a fee. If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll be charged interest on your purchases. The more payments you miss and the more months that pass, the more fees and interest you’ll be charged. Before you know it, that initial purchase can spiral into charges that are hard to pay off. Do yourself a favor and pay off your credit card debt each month. If you can’t do that, pay as much as you can. You’ll save yourself a lot of money down the road.
Can Hurt Your Credit Score
Good credit can make life easier. Bad credit can wreak havoc. Over time, high balances and missed payments can do serious damage to your credit score. This can make it hard (or impossible) to get a mortgage or a low interest rate on a car loan or personal loan. Be diligent about paying down your debt. Your credit score depends on it.
ONLINE PAYDAY LOANS
If you’re having trouble making a credit card payment, LendNation can help. Our flexible loans and instant debit card funding can get you the cash you need to make your payment on time, all with a hassle-free application. Apply in-store or online to get the money you need the day you need it. Find a location or apply now.