10:39 22 August 2013
The credit card could be the essential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of this generation with all the sad stories being told how credit card bills can bring one down to financial disaster and ending up with very poor credit rating. However, a concept which has survived for almost two centuries (the concept of credit cards was floated around 1887) cannot be all that bad.
We can all agree that there are certain benefits and advantages in using a credit card. First of all is the convenience, then having organized records of purchases and expenses, access to instant cash in case of real emergencies, building up of credit reputation and enjoying the perks, discounts and purchase protection coverage. Bringing a plastic card with purchasing powers beats bringing tons of cash to pay for expenses any day.
However, a credit card holder should aim to be a responsible credit card user all the time so as not to negate the benefits of using credit cards. The first important rule should be to pay the charges in full and on time. If settling the entire amount is not possible for now, endeavour to pay more than the minimum and try to fully settle as soon as possible.
Know and use your perks for added value. Avail of special discounts and privileges from the card’s merchant partners. Know your rewards and use then to your advantage. Choose a card which offers the perks you can really benefit from such gas charge backs, if you travel by land a lot or air miles if you travel by air a lot. Know which shops allow 0% interest, avail of your cash back rewards or balance transfers for lower interest rates.
Credit cards should be used responsively. Loosing yourself against the temptation of using your card for luxurious, unaffordable purchases or endeavours can easily trap you into a life of debt. You hold your financial destiny in your hands, so do not be so quick in drawing out your credit card from your pocketbook and live a happier and less stressed life with your credit card.
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