Credit cards have, undoubtedly, received a lot of negative press. However, they offer many benefits which are often overlooked in the media hype and security concerns. Let us take a quick look at the diverse advantages you get if you use your credit card wisely and carefully.
You can Exercise your Rights as a Consumer
You can usually return defective goods or flawed products you bought using your card and demand and get a full refund.
Credit Card Purchase Insurance
You may get free insurance of up to 60 days which you forgo if you use credit notes or cash for making purchases. Many cards also offer free travel insurance as a perk, which may save you a few pounds and might be a great bonus during an emergency or crisis in foreign countries.
Make Purchases on the Web
Online payments are generally safe and secure if you follow certain guidelines like using a site with 128 bit encryption and only shopping with reputed merchant sites.
Savings and Bargains
A credit card allows you to buy online, directly from wholesalers enabling you to save on retailer costs and purchase goods at cheaper rates. You can find good bargains on sites like e-Bay and you can have goods delivered to your house, without taking the trouble to carry them home yourself.
No need to stuff cash under the floor boards anymore. In a crisis, you can use your credit card to withdraw cash from ATMs, even in the middle of the night.
You can actually ‘earn’ (or save) a bit of money with cash back cards, which credit your account with a percent of the funds that you have spent every month. However, to benefit from this type of card you do need to pay off the outstanding balance every month or you will find that you have wiped off all your cash back gains with the amount of interest you pay.
With every purchase you make, you get reward points for using your card. When you accumulate enough reward points, you can redeem them for discounts or goods such as cars, wines and flights.
Interest Free Money
If you use your card smartly, and pay off your balances every month, you are able to borrow money, virtually interest free.
0% Balance Transfers
With some calculation, you can keep switching cards and avail 0% balance transfers just before the interest free period lapses on your current card. Theoretically, you can get interest free loans and money for as long as you wish. Savvy rate tarts make a living for themselves this way.
Credit cards also offer several other advantages like quick balance transfers, prepaid cards which are ideal for teenagers, web cards which offer a more secure transaction online, a chance to build a good credit history, lucrative introductory offers and incentives such as bonus points, loyalty points, gifts and holiday discounts to name a few. One almost wonders why they receive so much bad press in the first place!
Matthew Lloyd writes for About Your Money. His articles provide users with useful advice on a variety of financial products, including credit cards .
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