The beginning of a new year is one of the best times to review your finances. This includes deciding for or against using a credit card.
Let’s get the biggest downside out of the way: the potential to overspend and find yourself racking up debt that you can’t manage. There’s no way around this. If you don’t feel that you can spend responsibly, do yourself a favor and stay away from credit cards for the time being.
Now, here are some of the reasons why people choose to use credit cards:
- Building credit: Using a credit card responsibly can help you build a good credit score, which can be important when you need to borrow money in the future, such as for a mortgage or car loan.
- Convenience: Credit cards are accepted by a wide range of merchants and can be used for online purchases. They are also easier to carry around than cash.
- Rewards: Many credit cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points, cash back, or other perks for using the card.
- Security: Credit cards offer protection against fraud and unauthorized charges. If your card is lost or stolen, you can report it and have a new one issued.
- Emergency fund: Having a credit card can be a useful backup plan in case of an unexpected expense or emergency.
Tip: just because you qualify for a credit card doesn’t mean that you have to use one. There is nothing wrong with maintaining a cash system if that’s what you’re most comfortable with. It’s better to stay the course than it is to take a risk with your finances.
Now, if you’re ready to proceed with using a credit card, it’s time to make sure you have access to the right offer. Here are some questions to answer as you begin your search for a credit card:
- What is your credit score? What does your credit report look like?
- Are you only interested in a particular type of credit card, such as a cash back or rewards card?
- Does your current bank issue credit cards?
- Have you read expert and consumer reviews of the offers you’re most interested in?
- What are the top three to five details on your must-have list?
The answers to these questions will move you closer to applying for a credit card that you can responsibly use in 2023 and beyond.