I have had one credit card in my life time and at this moment; I don’t intend to have another one ever. My mind may change in the future but I am convinced that credit cards are not for me. When I was tricked, okay maybe the correct term is convinced, to get a credit card by a banker at Bank of America, it sounded like a great idea. I could buy small things with it such as food and then pay it off right away. I would never get charged late fees or interest and I would have built up some credit. Well, I’m sure you can imagine that things did not go as I planned. At first, of course, it was perfect. I would buy a bottle of juice then I would go online and transfer the amount from my checking account to the credit card. This lasted for mere seconds before I was charging everything to the credit card, things that cost more than the money that I had, things that I intended to pay off later. The charges kept adding up until I could no longer use my credit card. Even after that, while you can no longer use it, late charges keep piling up. Then, there’s the creditors calling and eventually, you have to pay off this huge amount, an amount larger than the items you purchased. Where’s my credit now? If I had a chance to, I would go back to the time before the credit card when I had no credit.
Because of my experience, I can easily yell no, no, no, don’t do it! But, I do recognize that there are also pros of having a credit card.
- If used correctly, credit cards WILL help you build your credit. Of course, you would need to have more self control than me and using a credit card to aid your shopping addiction is not a good idea. If you can be responsible with your credit card and not over use it, it will be very beneficial to you.
- You are able to make purchases that you NEED even if you don’t have the money. Credit is an awesome thing when it’s needed. Especially if you can foresee where the money will come from to cover the expenses, you will be able to purchase the things you need with no worry. You have to be able to differentiate between needs and wants and you need to know when and how you will be able to cover the charges. An unexpected doctor’s visit? That’s definitely a reason to pull out the plastic. After all, your life is at risk.
- Discounts! Most credit card companies have discounts to places and events that you may have always wanted to go to but were not able to afford. So, you are saving money which is always a good thing. Of course, you would have to be responsible and not go over the top. You don’t need to use every discount. You may want to do the things you planned on doing anyway, especially since they are cheaper. Still, make sure you will be able to pay it off before the late charges start piling up.
- Credit cards can destroy your credit. If you have no self control and abuse the plastic, it will be the worse decision of your life.
- It is an unrealistic idea of what you can afford. People sometimes forget that the money they are spending when using a credit card does not belong to them. You are going to have to pay it back. All the fun you have spending it will not make up for the depression that will come once the bills arrive.
- Interest rates. Not only are you making purchases that you probably should not be making and would not be making if you did not have the tempting little piece of plastic in your pocket, you are ending up paying more than what the purchases cost with high interest rates. For some, it may be worth it since they can have what they want when they want it. However, most people can only afford to pay the interest rates on their credit card bills every month and after doing that for a while, you’re going to quickly realize how awful of a decision it was to make those purchases in the first place.
Like everything else, credit cards have good, bad and ugly sides. It really depends on you as a person and your self control and finances. If you need to get a credit card, you need to know what limit you need and this should be based on the amount of extra income you have lying around after you’ve paid off all of your bills. Don’t get bullied into getting a credit card and make sure to shop around first to make the best decision for yourself. Good luck and happy shopping!