Do you think you can get a credit card? This could help you spread the cost of purchases while offering purchase protection over other forms of payment. In addition, credit cards can help reduce existing interest payments while offering rewards and cash back in some cases.
Similarly, credit cards have a number of disadvantages: you may end up paying interest on any debt, additional fees may be charged for the use of the card under certain circumstances, and the use of the card may be limited in certain situations.
It is therefore worth considering the advantages and disadvantages of a credit card. Here’s how to do just that.
Benefits of credit cards
One of the main advantages of a credit card is the ability to spread the cost of a purchase. It is possible to buy goods or services and not pay for them immediately, which can help improve the financial flexibility of the consumer. This is a debit card in which the funds must be in the current account of an individual to be able to make a transaction.
Credit cards also offer greater consumer protection than other forms of payment. If the good or service costs more than £ 100, the payment of a portion of the purchase with a credit card means that the product or service is covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act . This legislation stipulates that a credit card company is jointly and severally liable with a retailer for any problem during a purchase. Defective products or the non-provision of a service, as described, are examples.
A number of credit cards offer rewards or cash back, which are accumulated when a credit card is used and can allow consumers to maximize the benefits they receive on their daily expenses.
Balance transfer credit cards could help people with existing debt reduce the amount of interest they pay. There may be a balance transfer fee, but a lower interest rate, which can go up to 0%, can help improve an individual’s financial prospects.
Disadvantages of credit cards
Because credit cards are a form of debt, they can be risky if they are not managed effectively. If the balance is not fully refunded each month, interest charges are charged. Interest costs can be much higher than for other types of debt, such as mortgages or personal loans, and it can become more difficult to repay the initial balance as interest increases.
Credit cards also have limited utility in certain scenarios, for example if a person needs cash. Interest is generally charged to cash withdrawals made with a credit card. The use of an ATM with a credit card may also incur charges.
Some credit cards also charge additional fees for use abroad. Transaction costs other than sterling are commonplace in the credit card industry and apply to all payments in currencies other than sterling. Travel credit cards often incur lower fees for use abroad, but may have high interest rates compared to non-travel credit cards.
Is a credit card for you?
Credit cards can be a useful payment method in some situations. The protection they offer compared to other forms of payment and the financial flexibility they offer could make it a good idea for many consumers. Similarly, rewards and cash back can be surprisingly high in the long run.
However, credit cards require careful management. It is too easy to oversize in terms of the amount of debt accumulated. This can result in high interest costs. Therefore, it is useful to take into account your own financial situation and your attitude towards budgeting before applying for a credit card.
There are great credit card offers – just find out where to look! If you are looking for the best deals on the market, we suggest you start with our list of the best credit cards.