With all of the bad press surrounding the credit card industry over the past few years, this headline might make some of you scratch your heads. However, credit cards are still a valuable tool for the financially savvy. Here are the top reasons why I'm still gaga over my credit cards.
They Pay Me to Use Them!
Many cards offer a rewards program and, with a variety to choose from, it wasn't hard to find one that suited my lifestyle. I use my Chase Freedom® card--which offers cash back rewards--for most of my monthly expenses, and therefore get a percentage of my monthly expenses back from Chase. I always pay in full, so interest charges do not cut into my earnings.
If my cash is lost or stolen, I know I can almost always chalk it up as a loss. And, while debit cards do provide some fraud protection, they leave my bank account at risk. If someone swipes my debit card and quickly drains my bank account before the card is canceled, I could be stuck without access to the stolen funds for 7 to 10 business days while the bank investigates. If the same thing happens with my credit card, I only lose access to a line of credit temporarily.
Credit cards allow me to easily track expenses and are often faster at the point of sale than other payment methods. They also make it possible to pay at the pump when I'm purchasing gas without the risk of the temporary preauthorization hold that can come with using my debit card.
I also set up automatic payments for reoccurring charges to my credit card. That way there is only one bill to manually pay at the end of the month. Of course, I could also do this using my bank account, but until they are willing to pay me cash back it's not likely to happen.
Despite all the changes in the industry, it is still possible to use credit cards to your advantage. Like most things in life, it merely requires that you be responsible and know what you're up against. I personally will continue to beat the credit card companies at their own game as long as they let me! :)