Do the positives of owning a credit card outweigh the negatives? This is a question that many people ask themselves. While it’s true that a credit card is great for emergencies, many credit card companies market themselves as a great way to pay for daily expenses. They do this by proudly displaying rewards and cashback programs. Because of this, the answer to this question might have less to do with the cards themselves and more to do with how you use them.
Having Too Many Credit Cards
If you have good credit, you probably receive credit card offers on a regular basis. You might receive even more if you already have a credit card that’s in good standing. Having one or two credit cards is considered a good thing. After all, each card has its pros and cons, and having two gives you options. However, having too many credit cards not only hurts your credit but also makes having a credit card not worth it.
Having multiple cards gives you a higher credit limit, which typically increases the amount of money that you spend and puts you further into debt. Stick to one or two credit cards at max, and you’ll be happy that you did.
Avoid a Running Balance
Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for weekly and monthly expenses. This is even more true if you get cash back on all of the purchases that you make. This essentially gives you cash back on purchases that you were going to make anyway, such as paying bills.
They key, however, is to pay off the entire balance every month. This prevents the accumulation of too much debt and helps you avoid high interest rates. If this is something that you can stick to every month, then credit cards are worth it. If not, you may want to stay away because you’ll find yourself further and further into debt every month.
Discounts and Free Money
As mentioned briefly above, many credit cards offer special bonus programs. These programs include cash back on certain purchases or even discount at select stores. These cashback schemes can range from 1 percent cash back on everything to 5 percent cash back on select categories. These programs can make having a credit card seem worth it because it’s like getting free money but only if you’re responsible with it.
If a credit card is offering you 5 percent cash back on gas, use that card to get the discount. However, pay off that balance before the end of the month just like if you had purchased that gas out-of-pocket. You can then make that cash back work for you either by giving you a discount on paying back your balance at the end of the month or using it to buy yourself something nice.
Is a Credit Card Worth It to You?
In the end, only you can determine if a credit card is worth it. Just like most things in life, credit cards have their pros and cons. Most people are strong believers that credit cards should only be used in case of an emergency. While this is still true today, you can take advantage of some of the benefits of owning a credit card if you use it responsibly. Remember to pay off your balance every month rather than treat your credit card as an extra source of income.