The Benefits of Credit Cards
Love them or hate them credit cards are here to stay. The next time you whip out your little plastic friend spare a thought for what life was like before they came along.
Easy does it
It has to be said, the best thing to come from the invention of credit cards has been the way they make paying for things so easy.
Credit cards were basically invented in the fifties but it took some other major advancements in technology for them to get established in general use.
Put something aside for a rainy day
Let’s face it, unless you are extremely wealthy, incredibly disciplined or a skin-flint most of people don’t put anything aside as savings. So often a credit card is sitting waiting to be used instead when those large unexpected bills inevitably pop up from time to time. It’s not really a substitute for Grannies advice, but it certainly serves the same purpose. The trick is to then find a way to clear off the balance as quickly as possible.
Spread a little happiness
Another benefit of credit cards is to enable people to spread payments. You can easily buy expensive items (like computers) and spread the cost across several months. So credit cards do allow flexibility of repayments enabling you to choose exactly how much you want to pay back each month. But if you are buying from a major electrical retailer, they will quite often have very low cost finance deals available, so always check with the retailer before reaching for your credit card.
The customer is always right
If you buy an item with your credit card then you get even more rights as a customer because if it turns out to be faulty then not only is the retailer responsible but so is the credit card company. Using your credit card in everyday purchases helps protect you as a consumer.
If a problem arises and you find that you are having trouble getting satisfaction from a retail outlet you can make a claim against the credit company instead, as long as the item you bought costs more than £100 but less than £30,000. That applies even if you have only paid a deposit with your credit card!
With some cards you get additional rights too, such as ‘price promise’ from Barclaycard, where if you pay for goods with your Barclaycard and then find them cheaper elsewhere the credit company pay the difference!
Room to breathe
By using your credit card you can delay the day of payment by up to 59 days, interest free, depending on the terms of your card. This can be really handy when you need to buy something immediately but the cash isn’t going to be around for a while. That’s when a credit card can act as an interest free bridging loan.
Credit cards are international. You can use Mastercard and Visa cards almost anywhere in the world. They truly are global brands. So whether you’re shopping from the comfort of your living room or out there, in the heat and dust, exploring the far reaches of some distant country when your camel collapses and you need a Land Rover fast, a credit card will usually pay the bill.
Cashback, incentives and introductory offers
The proliferation of credit cards being offered to the public by so many companies has created an environment that can be of benefit to the consumer. The credit companies compete against each other with incentives such as cashback, points reward schemes and balance transfer offers at zero percent, all of which the British pubic accept gratefully with open arms. Some even make money for themselves out of it all.
Credit for credit’s sake
Finally, the last benefit of credit cards is to build credit itself. If there weren’t credit cards out there how would one be able to build up one’s credit rating?
But then again, would one need to?