With its ease of use and convenient pay-back options, credit cards have become an indispensable part of our lives. A credit card’s discounts offer, and deals are unrivaled by any other financial product and spell a bonanza for the wise user. Credit cards, on the other hand, can become debt traps if not used correctly or if you spend more than you can repay when the bill arrives.
Credit cards can be an excellent addition to your daily financial plan. However, before you open multiple cards, consider the following pros and cons:
Advantages of Credit Cards
1. Simple credit access
The most significant benefit of a credit card is the ease with which credit can be obtained. Credit cards operate based on deferred payment, which means you can use your card now and pay for your purchases later. The money used does not leave your account, so every swipe does not deplete your bank balance.
2. Establishing a credit line
Credit cards allow you to build up a line of credit. This is critical because it allows banks to view your active credit history based on card repayments and usage. Credit card usage is frequently used by banks and financial institutions to assess a potential loan applicant’s creditworthiness, making your credit card important for a future loan or rental applications.
3. Offers and incentives
Most credit cards come with a slew of offers and incentives to encourage you to use your card. These can range from cash back to rewards points accumulated each time you swipe your card, which can then be redeemed as air miles or used to pay off your outstanding card balance.
Lenders also provide discounts on credit card purchases, such as flight tickets, vacations, or large purchases, allowing you to save money.
4. They’re Safer Than Cash
Credit cards are widely used, even by people who have access to cash, because they provide an additional layer of security. If you lose a credit card or your information is stolen, the credit card company can place a hold on it to prevent fraudulent purchases. Furthermore, many credit card companies monitor suspicious activity and will notify you if something seems out of the ordinary with your spending habits.
5. Expense record
A credit card keeps track of every purchase made with the card, and a detailed list is sent with your monthly credit card statement. This can be used to determine and track your spending and purchases, which can be helpful when creating a budget or filing taxes. Lenders also provide instant alerts when you swipe your card, detailing the amount of credit that is still available as well as the current balance on your card.
Disadvantages of Credit Cards
1. Minimum Due Trap
The most significant disadvantage of a credit card is the minimum due amount displayed at the top of the statement. Many credit card holders are misled into believing that the minimum amount is the total amount owed, when in fact it is the minimum amount that the company expects you to pay to continue receiving credit facilities. As a result, customers assume their bill is low and spend even more, accruing interest on their outstanding balance, which can quickly add up to a large and unmanageable sum.
2. Easily overused
Because your bank balance remains constant with revolving credit, it may be tempting to charge all of your purchases to your card, leaving you unaware of how much you owe.
This could result in you overspending and owing more than you can pay back, starting the debt cycle and incurring high-interest rates on future payments.
3. Excessive interest rate
If you do not pay your bills by the due date, the amount is carried forward and interest is charged. This interest is accumulated over time on purchases made after the interest-free period.
4. Hidden costs
Credit cards appear to be simple at first glance, but they have several hidden charges that can quickly add up. Credit card taxes and fees include late payment fees, joining fees, renewal fees, and processing fees. Missing a card payment may result in a penalty, and repeated late payments may result in a reduction in your credit limit, which will harm your credit score and future credit prospects.
5. Credit card fraud
Though it is uncommon, you may become a victim of credit card fraud. With technological advancements, it is possible to clone a card and gain access to confidential information, allowing another individual or entity to make purchases on your card. Examine your statements carefully for any purchases that appear suspicious, and notify your bank immediately if you suspect card fraud. If the fraud is proven, banks will usually waive the charges, so you will not have to pay for purchases made by the thief.
To achieve their financial goals, nearly everyone must borrow money at some point. Credit cards are an excellent way to bridge the wage gap or finance large purchases that you can pay off over time. Credit cards, on the other hand, can quickly erode your credit and financial health if used irresponsibly. As a result, before incorporating credit cards into your financial plan, you should weigh all of the benefits and drawbacks.Featured Image Source: Foundryonline.co.uk
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