Enable you to make expensive purchases and spread the cost.
You can have the goods or services immediately and pay later. If you pay the total balance due within a certain period of time this loan will be interest free.
Good for using on the Internet.
Safer than carrying lots of cash.
Most cards insure your purchases. Check individual offers and deals.
Easy to carry.
Saves you having to visit the bank
Handy to use just before payday. You could then clear the debt as soon as you are paid, but will you?
High credit limits may encourage you to spend unnecessarily.
Fear of loss or theft
Interest charges can be high.
As a credit card does not feel the same as cash when shopping it is easier to overspend.
Credit card debt can easily spiral out of control.
A credit card can be a godsend or a nightmare. Although much depends on how you use your card, there are other considerations. What may be easily affordable today, may be way beyond your means in no time at all. Unemployment or a withdrawal of bonus payments, are prime examples of financial changes which could spell disaster for you and your family. One thing this Global Credit Crunch has taught most people is that it is better to have some cash to fall back on and as few debts as possible.
In the 21st Century, though, most western people own at least one credit card. Old and young alike seem to have embraced this spend today, pay tomorrow, mentality. Fine and dandy, most of the time, but overuse of your credit card or cards could be disastrous for your long term financial position.
If you have existing balances on credit cards consider applying for one card, just for balance transfer purposes. As long as the opening offer is appropriate to your needs, this could solve many of your credit problems.You may have to pay a balance transfer fee but, in the long run, this will probably be much cheaper than the charges being applied monthly to your existing cards.
Exercise caution with this new card though. If you use this card for new purchases, you could find that the special offer applicable when you took out this new card, will not apply to new purchases. If you are not careful you could end up in more financial trouble. It would be far better to keep one existing card for emergencies and simply use the new card for balance transfers.
With the Holiday Season approaching we are all more inclined to spend a little extra money than we should. A good credit card, used sensibly, can help you spread the cost of Christmas. The trouble is such a card may also, in effect, encourage you to make those extra, expensive purchases. Those that really you cannot afford.
Think very carefully about your relationship with your credit card and its provider and reassess the situation if necessary.
It could be that now is the right time to apply for a balance transfer credit card, in order to finally pay off all of your debts. Then again it may be more appropriate to simply destroy all your credit cards to prevent further use.
If you find that you are unable to make the payments, for your cards, do not simply ignore the situation. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away but will probably make it worse. Contact your card provider and see if you can make a set payment agreement. If you have no luck with the card provider speak to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, or similar, for accurate advice about what you can do.
Remember that if you are not careful you could still be paying for Christmas 2009 as Christmas 2010 approaches, or even further into the future.
Be Credit Card wise before this scenario becomes a reality for you.