, the average Australian card holder is paying over $700 interest on their credit card annually so there is good reason, if you don’t already have a credit card to avoid one.
But, there are a number of reasons why having a credit card
makes a lot of sense and if you are savvy about when you use it, where you use it, and when to stop using it, a credit card can be an extremely useful financial tool.
Here’s our top 10 reasons to have a credit card.
With a rewards credit card
for every dollar you spend you’ll earn points which you can redeem for a range of things from cashback, flights or shopping rewards. The number one rule for anyone considering a rewards credit card is PAY YOUR BALANCE OFF IN FULL EACH MONTH. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying more in interest than you’ll earn in rewards value.
Accidentally leave your brand new Ray Bans on the train or dropped your iPhone 6s and shattered the screen? No problem. Many credit cards come with complimentary purchase protection which means that if you use your credit card to purchase the goods and then they are lost or damaged (usually within 90 days from purchase) you’ll be able to claim them on your card’s insurance.
Another unknown perk of many credit cards is extended warranty insurance which doubles the original manufacturer's Australian warranty up to 12 months provided you paid for the purchase of those goods with your credit card.
Never miss out on a sale.
Some credit cards even have price protection insurance which means that if you buy something like a new washing machine using your credit card and find it advertised for a much cheaper price within 21 days of your purchase you can get a refund for the difference. There will be some conditions and each card will be different so be sure to check the PDS.
Building a credit history.
Your credit card can be great credit building tool. By using your card for purchases and making payments by the due date you’ll build up your credit rating
so that when it comes time to borrow larger amounts of money, like for a car or mortgage you’ll have a healthy credit score.
Speed through the checkout.
With contactless technologies like Visa Paywave and Mastercard Paypass you can now just tap and go for purchases under $100 - you don’t even need to enter your PIN. Of course, there is a downside to that convenience if you’re prone to impulse buys so make sure your spending is budgeted for.
A credit card opens up the shopping malls of America and the boutiques of Paris to you. Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards all have worldwide access and can be used whether you are at the shop in person or at the other end of a computer screen.
Get you out of a bind.
So you’ve just paid the rent, electricity and gas bills and the car won’t start. You’ve still got two weeks til you’re next pay day and the mechanic tells you you’re up for a $500 bill. Having a credit card can be a safeguard for these types of unexpected expenses. Of course the key is to pay the money back pronto so that you can clear yourself of debt as soon as possible.
Tracking your expenses.
When you pay by credit card you can track your expenses easily through your bank’s internet banking or monthly statements. You can easily see what you are spending your money on and how much you are spending so that you can budget more effectively. The paper trail is also good come tax time when you’re tallying up your claimable expenses .
When you’ve got a credit card you’ll be covered for fraudulent purchases
made on the card. Credit cards also reduce the need for you to carry around large amounts of cash when you’re travelling.
Tips for using your credit card the right way:
Mozo compares credit cards from a range of credit card providers including the major banks, mutual banks and credit unions. You can use our handy credit card search tool to find a card that’s right for you.
And once you’ve got that piece of new plastic, follow these tips to help you avoid the bite of credit card debt.
- Pay the balance off in full each month. Use the card’s interest free period to your advantage by paying your balance off in full each month. Follow the link for a list of balance transfer credit cards
- Never use your card for cash advances. While there are some credit cards that have low interest rates for cash advances, the bulk have very high rates, many over 20%. And unlike purchases where you’ll get interest free days, with cash advances you start paying interest immediately.
- Set up automatic repayments. The best way to avoid late payment fees is to set up a direct debit from your account each month.
- Stick to a budget. Get into the habit of budgeting and only spend up to this amount on your card each month. If you find it hard to do this, some banks allow you to put a lock on your card that will limit the spend per transaction or block particular transactions such as international purchases.