The longer I’m in the finance world, the more I realize there seem to be two camps when it comes to credit cards.
The first camp is dead set against them. Perhaps they’ve had issues with debt in the past and just want to avoid them at all costs.
The second camp loves them. They’ve never had a huge issue (or maybe they realized they could change their habits) and they enjoy many of the perks that come with credit cards, like free travel or cash back.
I happen to fall into the second camp. You’d be hard pressed to ever hear me hating on credit cards. In this article, I’m going to explain why.
1. They helped me build excellent credit.
If you are able to use credit cards responsibly they can actually help you build good credit.
Let’s face it, at 22 years old I wasn’t going to qualify for a loan of any sort without a cosigner, so a credit card was just easy access to start building credit.
If you look at them that way, and then actually use them wisely, they can help you build and maintain good credit. Good credit means that you won't be slammed with higher interest rates when you do decide to take a loan later on in life.
In a recent podcast interview I did with Dani Pascarella of
2. I’ve gotten some awesome perks.
If you’ve seen some of my other pieces here, you may know that I like to travel hack. That is the art of using credit card points for free travel. In the last few weeks, I booked free flights number 14 and 15 -- all thanks to my credit cards.
The first flight was paid for by using a $300 annual travel credit I get with my newest credit card. The second flight, which is a trip I’m taking to Nashville on a whim, was paid for using credit card points.
Additionally, my application fee for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check were free thanks to my credit card. Goodbye, airport security and customs lines!
Free flights aren’t the only perks that come with credit cards. You can also get free hotel stays, cashback, rental car insurance, extended warranties, concierge service, price match, and more! The reality is credit cards can be an awesome financial tool if you know how to use them.
3. They help me consolidate my bills.
In an effort to rack up points, I pretty much pay for everything using credit. This method also had an unintentional upside: all my bills are paid for automatically and they are consolidated so I only have to worry about paying my credit card each month.
Using credit has also gotten me out of a bind more than once, especially when I was I just starting my business. Not all clients would pay on time, so credit kept me afloat while I waited for payments to come in. Fortunately, they always came in just in time for me to pay off the credit card.
While I’ll never hate on credit cards, I also have to be real with you: The reason I love credit cards is because I’ve always been responsible with them. I’m also a natural saver, not a spender.
Some people really can’t handle credit cards, and that’s okay. If you happen to be one of those people, then it doesn’t matter how good the perks are, you need to do what’s right for you. If that looks like avoiding credit cards, then so be it.