Credit Cards! Do you have one? I’m sure you do. How do you view it, is it a blessing or a curse?
For us it has proven advantageous because of the conveniences it offers :
- no need to carry much cash when shopping
- being able to take advantage of unexpected price reductions on needed merchandise. there are also promos every now then. right now, when we use our citibank card at waltermart makati, we get 2 free 1 liter box of nestle fresh milk. last time it was pepsi max.
- flexiblity that credit card affords by buying now and paying later. we can maximize those 0% interest for appliances.
- quick access to cash in case of an emergency
- convenience of making purchases and payments online and on the phone.
- they also give rewards or miles for purchases you charge to your card. We get to watch a free movies or dine-out using these points.
- i also get to use their one bill payment so that i can pay our bills with ease. no more long lines at the bayad centers.
We also don’t pay for annual fees. I take note of our expiry date and redeem our points and pay our balance before that date. Then i’ll call the credit card company to cut my card. 90% of the time they are more than willing to waive the annual fee for another year and another year and another. hehehe
You see, plastic money can provide opportunities and advantages if properly utilized.
How is it that it can become a trap?
- When credit card holders don’t keep track of their expenditures. It has been observed that many, after acquiring a card, become impulsive buyers.
- When they use it without understanding how credit works. Like the consequences of paying after the due date or not paying the total amount due. They find out later on that interest and finance charges pile up and they are in deep debt.
- There’s also a thing called fraudulent use of credit cards and that is becoming rampant nowadays. I for one had been a victim once.
So how do we avoid the trap?
- determine whether you really need a credit card or not.
- if you decide to have one, use them wisely. handle them as a business. become acquited with the procedures and check local laws that protect you from fraud. carefully check your monthly bills too. make sure that you are not charged for purchases you did not make.
- avoid keeping a debit balance in your account. we’ve been a card holder since year 2000 and we make sure that we pay our purchases in full. however there are times that we need some time to pay or we find ourselves in deep debt then obtaining a credit card debt consolidation can offer a a good solution.
I believe we can avoid the plastic trap by being a thinking consumer and by using credit cards wisely.