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When Do You Really Need Credit Cards?

Aug 18, 2007
If you don't have a credit card or have one that you don't use very much, you may be asking yourself: "why do I even need a credit card?" Many people are sceptical about the need to have a credit card, even though so many others have more than one. If you are not sure whether credit cards are really necessary, then here is some advice to help you to decide if you need a credit card or not.

Do I need a card?

The first thing you should ask yourself is whether or not you really need a credit card. If you have managed perfectly well for years without a credit card, and your situation hasn't changed, then perhaps you don't need a card. If you have money saved then you don't need a card for emergencies, and there is no need to pay fees and interest if you can live comfortably the way you do now. However, if you find that you are unable to buy large items that you need because you cannot afford to buy them in one go, then you should look at getting a credit card.

Credit history

Although you might not need to spend on a credit card because you are perfectly fine with cash or a debit card, not having a credit card can harm your credit history. If you are a responsible spender then having a credit card will help to build up a credit history. Although you might have never been in debt, this can actually be a problem when you come to get finance such as loans or mortgages. Lenders like to see that you can handle debt such as credit cards. Having a credit card simply for the purposes of improving your credit history is a good idea. If you spend on the card wisely and pay your bills on time then you will have a better chance of getting great deals on loans and mortgages when you need them.

Security

Another reason why having a credit card is important is security. Credit cards are much more secure than cash or debit cards, and you can stop people from taking your money. Also, if someone does use your card you are usually covered and can claim all or part of the costs back. Card security also works the other way, and many retailers or service providers require a credit card for bookings or purchases. Perhaps the best examples of this are hotels, which often require a credit card in order to allow you to book a room or pay for extra services.
Debts

Of course, there are reasons why you don't need a card. They are extremely tempting to use, and with high credit limits you often feel like you are not really spending money. This can put you deeply into debt and will severely harm your credit rating if you cannot make the repayments. If you are someone who cannot easily control their spending, then you should probably steer clear of credit cards.

Are cards necessary?

Although credit cards can cause debt and other problems, for most people they are a necessity for everyday life, and are required for them to live their life properly. However, this doesn't mean that getting a credit card is right for everyone. If you are honest with yourself and look at your lifestyle, you will be able to decide whether getting a credit card is right for you. As long as you can make the repayments and you use the card responsibly, then having a credit card is a good idea.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Unsecured Loans and Reclaim Bank Charges
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