10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash
There are a lot of people out there who are very distrustful of credit cards and the companies that offer them, and I can see why that's the case. With personal debt skyrocketing and conspicuous consumption now heavily frowned upon, many people have been vowing to freeze their cards or intending to feed them to their shredders.
But I have a completely different view of credit cards. My cash back credit cards have only served as positive financial tools for me; in my mind, it's all a matter of how you decide to make use of them. Although obvious, here are some reminders of how I've been able to truly optimize the use of my cards:
How I've Used My Credit Cards For Maximum Benefit
1. I keep my cards to a minimum.
I've managed my debt successfully because I'm pretty conservative about how I use credit. I keep only a few credit cards around not only to avoid the temptation of using them, but also to keep my finances simple. The less plastic and credit card accounts I have, the less stuff I have to track, manage and worry about.
2. I pay my balances in full each month.
I only charge purchases on my card that I know I'll be able to pay off completely by the end of the month. By learning how to make a budget, I've been able to stick to my goal of paying off my credit card monthly bills in full. By doing so, I'm working towards living below my means, and approaching my finances responsibly.
3. I limit the cards I carry around.
Why does using cash only rock? Because statistics have shown that by sticking to cash, people end up spending much less than their counterparts who use plastic. I keep a card and a spare around in my wallet and found that by having fewer things in my purse, it's a surefire way of keeping the lid on my spending!
4. I enjoy the convenience of credit cards.
I don't have much in my wallet, not even cash. It's virtually empty. So thanks to the convenience of a few cards, I'm able to go about my day without having to swing by the ATM machines all the time.
5. I maintain a positive relationship with my credit card companies.
I've actually been pleasantly surprised that the credit card companies I do business with have been easy to deal with. After all the dreadful stories I've read about the tactics these companies impose on their customers, I've come to expect the worst of them. But none of my fears have ever materialized each time I've had to approach them. Here are some cases in point:
- Fee reversals. I've been late with my payments more than once, but each time, the card company has reversed or waived any incurred fees upon my request.
- APR adjustments. I've known people who have successfully renegotiated their APR rates in the past; it helps that they have clean credit records and have consistently paid their bills on time.
It's possible to have a harmonious relationship with these financial companies, but I suppose a lot of it has to do with playing by their rules.
6. I track my finances using my credit card statements and reports.
I appreciate the helpful reports offered to me by my credit card companies. It's just one more way I can properly track my finances. I've actually found that the reports, statements and tools I receive from these companies have been some of the best in my financial arsenal.
7. I use my card as a buffer between me and the merchants I deal with.
I've had a few disputes with some merchants, as I'm sure many consumers have had. But what's great is that I've had the benefit of my credit card company acting as an intermediary between me and those businesses. And just my luck, the disputes have always been successfully settled!
8. I sign up for the rewards.
Because I don't carry a credit card balance, I've been able to leverage the use of cash back credit cards and other rewards cards really well. For instance, by using a gas credit card, I'm able to receive cash bonuses, points or additional benefits just by doing something I already do -- filling my fuel tank each week. But if you struggle with debt, any kind of card -- even the kind that provides rewards -- isn't worth owning. Understanding the rules of the card and knowing how to take advantage of the rewards without incurring fees is crucial.
9. I choose cards that offer a variety of protective services.
What's great about some cards is that they offer other extras such as return guarantees, and price, purchase and warranty protection. So if you've got any issues with the purchases you've made through your card, you have the opportunity to get them resolved via your card company. If you've paid with cash, you may have fewer options.
10. I build credit with a card.
The easiest way to establish credit is with your credit card. By using cards responsibly, you'll begin building your credit scores that can help you secure bigger purchases and perform larger transactions in the future. Before long, you'll be able to qualify for that mortgage!
The subject of credit cards has always been very polarizing. In my case, I'm a lover of cards, and this is because my experiences with them have been purely positive, and downright smooth and easy. I prefer to view credit cards as simple spending tools to help facilitate my life and my finances, and by doing so, I've never been anything but happy with them.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.