If you pay your balance off in full each month, you can take advantage of a lot of perks. The key is to not charge purchases you can’t afford to pay off, since high interest rates and fees usually outweigh the benefits you stand to gain by using a credit card.
There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding using credit cards but the truth is, they can be a great asset if you know how to use them responsibly. If you pay your balance off in full each month, you can take advantage of a lot of perks. The key is to not charge purchases you can’t afford to pay off, since high interest rates and fees usually outweigh the benefits you stand to gain by using a credit card.
Keep reading for five reasons you should put every purchase you make on a credit card:
1. You earn rewards and perks
One of the main advantages consumers stand to gain by making as many purchases as possible with a credit card (again — only ones they can afford), is because they can earn valuable rewards and perks.
Alongside the more common benefits like cash back and travel points, many credit cards offer unique perks such as discounts or credits to spend at major retailers and on rental car insurance. Those who travel frequently may find that travel rewards credit cards can offer them a lot of great perks such as free airport lounge access, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, free checked bags, priority boarding and reimbursement for extra expenses due to delayed or canceled flights.
A lot of these perks are ongoing or offered to cardholders on an annual basis and don’t require a certain amount of spending. But those looking to earn cash back on their purchases (which they don’t get when making a purchase in cash) or who want to earn airline miles or hotel points will find that using their credit card instead of a debit card helps them save money in the long run. This is why it can be advantageous to use plastic for every purchase, especially if you have a cash back credit card that gives you a percentage of your purchase back in cash.
2. You can improve your credit score
Once again, it’s important to remember to pay off your credit card in full each month. Not only will this save you money in interest and fees, it will help you improve your credit score. A record of on-time payments and low credit utilization (the rate of how much credit you have available compared to how much you’re using) are two things that can really boost your score.
3. You stay safer
Carrying enough cash on you to make all of your purchases isn’t very convenient, and you also can’t use cash to make online payments. While a debit card may seem like the right solution, it lacks the same safety benefits a credit card can offer.
A debit card is tied to your bank account, which increases your fraud risks, especially when shopping online. A credit card isn’t tied to your bank account at all, so even if it’s stolen, you only risk unauthorized charges — not someone gaining access to your bank account. If fraud does occur, the credit card issuer will cancel the credit card and cover most of the fraudulent charges thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). Legally, the most a consumer is liable to pay when unauthorized charges occur is $50.
4. You can access purchase and price protection
One of the best reasons to use a credit card for every purchase is because you can potentially access purchase protection.
Purchase protection makes it possible for cardholders to file a claim on eligible damaged or stolen items. There’s usually a time limit on when you can file a claim, so if this happens to you make sure you file one in a timely manner.
Price protection may also be available to you. Let’s say you buy a laptop for $1,000 on Monday and by Saturday it’s on sale for $750. With purchase protection, you may be eligible for a refund.
Double check your cardholder agreement to learn more about what your price and purchase protection options are.
5. It’s easy to keep purchases organized
Using a credit card for everything makes it super easy to keep your purchase history organized. When you use a credit card instead of cash to make a purchase, you can simply check your account statement to view everything you’ve bought. It’s easy to review your expenses when you want to reset your budget or need to get organized during tax season.
It can be helpful to review your credit card statement carefully each month to make sure every charge is one you made and is for the right amount. That way if a mistake or fraud did occur, you can work with your issuer to resolve it. Even better — review your charges once a week to make sure you’re staying on track with your budget and can afford to pay your balance off in full before you make any more charges.
If, when your bill comes due, you can afford to pay off everything you buy on a credit card, there’s really no downside to using one instead of cash. By earning rewards, accessing purchase and price protection and increasing your financial safety, you only stand to benefit from using your credit card for every purchase.