We all know debit cards are an incredibly convenient way to access and use the funds in your bank account, so you may be wondering why anyone would want to give theirs up in favor of a credit card. The truth is, it’s not really an either/or situation; ideally, debit and credit cards can — and should — coexist in your wallet to give you added buying power and peace of mind. In fact, there are lots of reasons to consider adding a credit card to your financial toolbox. Let’s take a look.
Build, rebuild, or maintain credit. Careful, consistent use of a credit card is a great way to build or maintain credit by demonstrating your ability to make payments on time and use your limit responsibly. If your credit is in need of an overhaul, a secured card — in which you put down a deposit that acts as your limit — is a great starting point for demonstrating creditworthiness.
Increase your purchasing power. Whether it’s used sparingly as a safety net, on a regular basis to maintain your credit score, or in a strategic way designed to reap maximum rewards, a credit card in your wallet increases your purchasing power. Having that card — and using it judiciously — adds another layer of financial security to your situation.
Purchasing peace of mind. It’s nice to have options, and especially for online purchases, you may feel more comfortable using your credit card than your debit card. That way, if something goes wrong, you still have the funds in your checking account available while you dispute the credit card purchase.
Take it on the road. Some credit cards offer on-the-go benefits and travel assistance, like pay-per-use roadside dispatch and auto rental collision damage waivers. In the case of a lost or stolen card while traveling, your credit card company may be able to arrange a card replacement and emergency cash disbursement (and you’ll still have your debit card, so you won’t be in full-on panic mode).
It’s bonus time. The bonus points (or signup rewards) that many credit cards offer new customers can be converted into cash back, gift cards, travel miles, or purchases and services that may actually offset your expenses — or they can provide a well-deserved treat.
More points — and the perks that come with them. The bonuses that come from using your credit card for everyday purchases are a great incentive, especially if you play to pay off your balance each month. For example, a card that is offering extra points for restaurants and grocery stores would offer a great opportunity to save money in those areas. The purchases you typically put on your debit card could work for you on those months, giving your budget some relief.
Show us the money. Many cards offer the ability to accrue cash back from purchases, something that could come in especially handy during months where your budget is leaner. Whether it’s a cash back card or a flexible points card that offers cash back as an option, being able to use your card for things you need and get a little jingle to put back in the bank is pretty savvy spending.
We hope we’ve given you some reasons to consider adding a credit card to your financial repertoire. When used in conjunction with a working budget, your trusty debit card, and a good understanding of your own spending habits, a credit card can be just what you need to make life a little easier.
Learning Center articles, guides, blogs, podcasts, and videos are for informational purposes only and are not an advertisement for a product or service. The accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal, and financial advisors.