In some markets, getting a credit card is really hard. The requirements are intense and it’s difficult to qualify. In other markets, credit cards are practically handed out in the mail. You barely even have to ask for it. This type of credit card often comes in the form of a store loyalty card. The idea is to encourage repeat business and turn you into a regular. While the news contains incidences of fraud, debt, and bankruptcy related to credit cards, the benefits outweigh the downsides, and the downsides are easily avoided.
Free goods and services
A credit card that comes to you in the form of a loyalty program offers double benefit. In addition to the advantages of the card itself, you can rack up points and exchange them for discounts. Some cards will get you frequent flyer miles which translate into free upgrades, priority hotel stays, and access to airport VIP lounges, and much more. Some store points can be used to pay for purchases.
Cash available in emergencies
The onset of ATM, mobile banking, and internet banking was intended to offer convenience. It meant you didn’t have to go to the bank to withdraw cash, and that you could access said cash even when the bank was closed. Debit cards are part of this concept. They allow you to buy things by pulling cash directly from your bank account. But sometimes, your bank account is empty and you still need cash now, either to tide you over until payday or to let you finance a larger purchase over time. Credit cards solve that, whether you need a few extra dollars for that dress, or you have to pay the tow-truck after a car crash.
Convenience when you travel
Seeing the world opens up your mind. You get exposed to different cultures, alternative ways of thinking, and all kinds of food. You also get to experience foreign currency, which can be frustrating. Even if you get an honest forex dealer with a good exchange rate, you still have to pay a conversion fee. You also have to do some mental gymnastics every time you make a payment, making it difficult to know if you’re being overcharged. Credit cards help here, because you generally don’t have to pay a currency conversion fee. Just swipe your card, you’ll be billed in the local currency, and your statement will typically show you the equivalent in dollars. Carrying a credit card when you travel eliminates the need to carry cash, so you’ll be safer as you navigate potentially unsafe foreign locations.
Better chances of getting a loan
Back home, consistent credit card usage can increase your limits and raise your credit score by establishing good credit–but only if you make your payments on time. Good credit scores make it easier for you to qualify for car loans, mortgages, student aid, installment purchases, and other forms of financial assistance.
For more information on the benefits of credit cards, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.