What You Miss by Not Using Credit Cards
Credit cards are used for a variety of things, and they have been for decades now. Allowing consumers to charge their purchases and pay the price later, credit cards are extremely convenient in many cases. However, using them incorrectly can wreak havoc on your finances, not to mention your credit rating. On the other hand, refusing to use credit cards to avoid the pitfalls is a bad idea. According to recent studies, today’s generation prefers to use cash, debit cards, and paper checks to pay for goods and services. While there are a lot of advantages to doing that, refraining from credit card use can have just as many negative effects to your finances as misusing them can. The TD Bank’s Consumer Spending Index indicated that the average U.S. citizen spends nearly $5000 a year on credit card purchases. A common misconception is that consumers who use credit cards end up overspending and in debt. However, that’s simply not always the case. In fact, responsible credit card use has numerous advantages, including perks that many people are likely unaware of. What Happens When You Don’t Use Credit Cards When used properly, credit cards are a terrific financial tool that can provide safety and security. At the same time, responsible use of credit cards can lead to numerous financial benefits and membership rewards. Without using credit cards, the following could (and probably will) happen: 1. Building Credit Will Be Nearly Impossible To get credit, you must have credit. As much as a double-edged sword as that seems, lenders want to see how you utilize existing lines of credit before they consider giving you more. Opening up and responsibly using an introductory account is the best way to get your foot in the door. Just be sure to make your payments on time and keep your balances as low as possible. Doing so will lay a strong foundation for attractive credit ratings that could lead to more opportunities in the future. 2. You’ll Probably Never Get a Mortgage If you’re sick of throwing money away on rent, getting a credit card and using it properly can fix that problem eventually. Mortgage lenders examine numerous factors during the loan underwriting process, but credit utilization history is at the top of their list. Consumers with attractive credit ratings typically qualify for loans quicker than those without, not to mention their interest rates are usually lower. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, improper or restricted credit utilization can cost thousands of dollars over a person’s lifetime. TIP: The MyFICO website has a calculator tool that allows you to input different hypothetical variables to get an estimate on various loan terms. 3. Car Loan Terms Get Lousy Buying a car is one of the most exciting and nerve-racking endeavors in a person’s life, and lousy loan terms only make it worse. Much like mortgage lenders, auto loan brokers factor your credit card utilization and credit rating into their decision-making process. Since few people have enough cash on hand to buy an automobile without financing, having good credit through the responsible use of cards can help you get more feasible loan terms, interest rates, and payment plans. 4. You’ll Miss Loads of Free Money Buying things with cash has its merits but purchasing certain items with a credit card can lead to lucrative rewards, cash back incentives, and membership bonuses. Some credit card issuers give back as much as 2% for things like dining out, buying gas, booking hotels, and picking up groceries. For some consumers, this can translate to hundreds of dollars in free money every month. TIP: Use cash back rewards to pay down your credit card balance and improve your scores. 5. You Become More Susceptible to Identity Theft These days, identity theft is a real concern for consumers. Unfortunately, that little fact is why many people refuse to use credit cards. However, without an active credit card account you miss out on having comprehensive fraud protection. If someone steals your number, hacks your account, or uses your card fraudulently, you have the power to fight back. Cash and debit cards are simply not as secure, and many credit card issuers pay close attention to your spending habits - casting red flags on suspicious purchases, thereby making it much harder for identity thieves to do their dirty work. 6. You’re on Your Own in Merchant Disputes If you’ve ever purchased something and then discovered that it was a hunk of junk, then you probably know what it’s like to be in the middle of a consumer-merchant dispute. Paying for items in cash may get that item in your hands, but credit card purchases give you the extra security needed to get a fair and timely refund. Having a card issuer’s support during borderline transactions usually leads to much quicker and more efficient dispute resolutions. 7. Your Emergency Funds Are Drastically Depleted It’s unlikely that you have enough cash in hand or in your bank account to cover life’s unpredictability. Saving for an emergency is one thing but having an active credit card account means you’re more prepared to deal with unexpected medical, dental, occupational, and property damage issues. Although most experts recommend saving back at least 3 months-worth of expenses to cover emergencies, that’s simply not possible for many consumers. So, having a credit card on hand with a low balance is highly beneficial. TIP: Never rely solely on credit cards to suffice for emergency funds. Still put back some cash just in case. 8. Your Cash Reserves Are Continually Depleted Constantly using your debit card, checks, or cash to cover expenses, unexpected emergencies, and other purchases can wreak havoc on your ability to save money. In addition, hotels and car rental companies often place temporary holds on your account at check-in, reducing the amount of cash you can spend until the transaction is complete. Reimbursement from some businesses can take several days, putting you in a position to incur overdraft charges, suffer from depleted cash flow, or worse. On the contrary, credit card purchases of hotel stays and rental cars prevents that sort of mess and leaves more money in your account. 9. Traveling Becomes More Expensive According to Forbes, certain credit card companies offer better incentives for travelers than others, and all credit card issuers make traveling less expensive. Especially if you sign up for a travel rewards program, reaping the benefits of responsible credit card use can render significant returns in the form of cash back, freebies, and discounts. Paying with cash may get you from point A to point B, but you’ll miss out on points, miles, airline, or hotel incentives - all of which can be applied to your travel-related costs. TIP: Look for rewarding sign-up bonuses for frequent travelers, as they typically include free airfare, hotel stays, or even meals and events. 10. Your Employment Prospects Get Cut Back Although controversial, your credit history (or lack thereof) can limit your chances of landing a job for which you are otherwise qualified. Many modern-day companies want to know how their potential employees handle money because it paints a picture of their wit, responsibility, and fortitude, so they look up credit reports alongside background checks and resumes. Using a credit card in a thoughtful and predictable manner allows employers to see how you manage in difficult or tempting situations. Therefore, low credit scores (even scores due to little credit usage) can hurt you in the long-run. This article was written by GrandTetonProfessionals.com for FastUnsecured.com For Sales and Support Please Contact us at 203-518-8071 or, email us at: Support@FastUnsecured.com. For Media Relations Please Contact Misty.Burrell@FastUnsecured.com.