Credit cards seem like a great idea at the time. From the latest smart phone, to an exotic holiday, all you have to do is flash a plastic card and it’s yours. That’s fine, until the bill arrives.
The fact is, credit is a cornerstone of modern life. While mismanagement of credit cards can be a cause of much financial misery, there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t have a perfectly healthy relationship with that little slice of plastic in your wallet. If you manage your purchases and monthly payments correctly, a credit card allows you to enjoy a better quality of life.
So what are the main pros and cons about credit cards? The pros are pretty straightforward. You won’t always have the money up-front for something you’ve got your eye on, but a credit card will secure it until you do. If you use your credit card intelligently you’ll actually improve your credit rating – particularly if you pay off your balance at the end of every month, with most card companies offering a 56-day interest free period.
Credit cards are also essential for many things: purchasing goods abroad, internet purchases. They are crucial for holidaying these days, as many hotels will not accept customers without credit cards. The same goes for airlines and car rental firms. Credit cards can also be used for ID, as well as precluding the need to carry around cash.
The cons? Mismanaged cards can lead to big financial problems, and a host of associated fees can lurk: for late payments, cash withdrawals, missed payments. But it’s fair to say the positives far outweigh the negatives. Nevertheless, you should always heed your credit card company’s advice, manage your account well – and read the small print!