Seriously, there are quite a few ways that having a credit card beats having cash.
Despite the last week’s decidedly not-lighthearted blog about responsible spending and the need to manage credit card debt; there are several ways in which credit cards are better than cash. Of course, there will always be situations, based on personal preference, in which some persons will prefer to use cash, but I can give you at least 10 ways on which credit cards are better.
You automatically have a record of all your transactions. Every time you spend, the transaction is recorded on your credit card statement. You can log in online and get the date you did the purchase, the amount and where you did it. This is very handy for keeping track of your spending. I find this is great for comparing month over month spend, as well. Sometimes I just want to know how much more or less I spent on gas or groceries and I can always refer back to my credit card statement. Online statements are easily searchable by date ranges and sometimes even merchant type, so it’s easy to find your transactions for a month, for example.
You would have to find some way of logging your cash transactions and remember to do it every time. That could get to be a bit tedious.
Your card is easily replaced and your funds are recoverable in case of loss or theft of your credit card. This is a very easy and relatively process. You simply call your issuer to report the card lost or stolen and request an immediate block on it to prevent unauthorized transactions. In most cases, disputed transactions will be refunded to you in no time and a replacement credit card sent to you by next day. All credit card issuers have emergency telephone numbers that are manned 24/7 so that you can report your card as soon as you miss it. You definitely cannot do that with cash and your chances of getting back lost cash are very low.
Additionally, most banks have built in fraud protection systems that have the job of monitoring your usage trends and can help to spot fraud even before you report your card stolen. In that case your bank may call you to confirm that you have your card in your possession.
Your credit card gives you cash back and other rewards. When you have a rewards credit card, nothing beats the consistency and regularity of your cash back or rewards earnings. You don’t have to negotiate a discount for each transaction – though you could still do and that benefit from BOTH a discount and rewards earned (isn’t that great!!)
This is also a great way to help save towards a goal or rewards to self. Your cash back could go towards offsetting an expense that would become due in the future or you could set a vacation goal, for example, and work towards earning enough points to take a free break!
Taking advantage of bonus rewards can help you reach your goals quicker, so look out for them and take advantage as best as possible. Note: NEVER spend to just earn rewards. Your rewards should be a byproduct of your normal spending- not what drives the spending. If, however, you can shift the timing of a planned expense to take advantage of bonus rewards, then go for it!
Free money- legally. Yeah!! We’ve dealt with this but a reminder won’t hurt. If you pay your full statement balance on or before the due date, you pay zero interest. This means you can use your credit card- the bank’s money – for free, for up to 55 days if you time your transactions well. You get the longest repayment period when you make your purchase immediately after your statement date. So you can use your credit card and allow your cash to earn a little interest until you need to pay. You cannot do that with cash.
Shop remotely. Isn’t online shopping the greatest?! Using your credit card online allows you to stay comfortably, wherever you wish to be, and look at virtually thousands of items. I find online shopping to be the best way to shop clearance items, I hate physically going through clearance racks, everything is all jumbled together and you literally have to poke through it all. Hate it. But I love a deal! So hoorah for online shopping!!
In addition, with online discounts and virtual coupons from sites like www.retailmenot.com you can score some amazing deals. Just this week I used a 50% off coupon for pizza and a 30% off stuff from Old Navy sales items.
Don’t forget that your issuer protects you in the event you have to dispute a transaction, so if you don’t receive what you ordered, you have recourse.
Takes up much less space in your wallet.
This is self-explanatory. The value on your credit card doesn’t depend on the size. The card is the same whether you need to buy a snack or a car.
Free perks at no extra cost. This is in addition to rewards. Credit card perks may include free airport lounges (a comfortable place to wait for your flight, get a shower, free food, drinks and sometimes business facilities), free auto rental insurance, travel insurance, free seat upgrades, preferential boarding, access to concierges that can get you the exclusive items – think presold tickets to concerts, pretty much, your wish is their command (at your cost of course).
Most of the best perks are on high end credit cards that you must have impeccable credit scores and high income to qualify for but some mid value credit cards do have some great perks. Those brochures you throw away when you get your credit cards do have some valuable information. Take a few minutes to read them. You’re welcome.
You can’t rent a car or hotel room from a formal business without a credit card. Credit cards are used as security deposit in both cases just in case you use more than you initially agreed on. So- must travel, must have credit card.
Purchase protection and extended warranty.
How would you like it if you could claim back the funds to replace your new camera that fell into the pool the day after you bought it? Or how about if you didn’t even get a chance to test your new computer because they broke into your car right at the mall and stole it before you got home and then you were told you could get it all back? This is a reality for a selection of credit cards that insure your purchases so you can replace your purchases with minimum fuss or headache!
Some credit cards automatically double the warranty you receive on items purchased in full using the card. So if, for example, the store gave you 1 year warranty on your new smart TV, your card bumps it up to two years. It does pay to have the right credit card.
Putting a smile on someone’s face from thousands of miles away. I know that there are other ways of doing this but a card sure beats cash for efficiently and quickly making someone’s day. You can send flowers, give a friend the gift of a magazine subscription, pay for a spa day for bae. After all, the whole point of this thing called life is to live well and be happy.
Have a wonderful weekend! Be responsible with your spending.
Spend wisely. Live richly.