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One of the most convenient things in our society today is the credit card. Approximately five to ten credit cards is the average number that most consumers carry and more than eighty percent of American consumers own one credit card, at least. There are many upsides to using credit cards, as well as having a few downsides also.
Obviously, the greatest upside to using credit cards is the convenience that they allow you in making purchases without the need to actually pay right at the time of purchase.
Having too many credit cards, however, can get people in serious trouble and cause extreme debt, if they donít use some common sense and self discipline.
Convenience is probably the reason that most consumers use credit cards, although, there are so many perks that come along with using credit cards also.
There are cards that offer zero percent interest for the first year and zero annual fees to be paid within the initial year. Other cards offer perks like frequent flyer miles, rewards programs and cash back options which also make using credit cards beneficial to most people.
Another advantage to having these cards is the ability to balance monthly expenditures when creating a budget as you receive each detailed statement. When your monthly credit card statement arrives, you will be able to track every single transaction to see where you are spending the most.
After reviewing the amounts, you can then reform your spending to better balance your budget.
An extra upside of using credit cards these days is that most bills can be paid online. While paying bills through a secure website it allows you a convenient and quick way to do what would normally take days to accomplish.
You would have to write a check, mail it to the company and then it may be received in a few days. With online bill pay, it is done and posted in a matter of minutes. The expedient payment of your bill, along with the security feature involved, makes this aspect of using credit cards a definite upside.
Now, some of the downsides to having a credit card are getting over-indebted, lowering your credit score and the danger of identity theft.
When it comes to identity theft, using your credit card wisely is essential in protecting yourself from these thieves. Make sure that you don’t lend your card to anyone and by watching your back when using it will help thwart the identity thief.
On the other hand, credit cards have a certain amount of protection from fraud. If your credit card is stolen and they incur an enormous amount of charges to your card, you can report that to your issuer. Credit cards normally carry a protection for this type of downfall and it will allow you zero liability for unauthorized purchases.
Credit scores can be affected if you have too many credit cards with high balances, if the minimum balance is paid in an untimely manner. Using your credit cards irresponsibly and not paying your minimum payment on time would surely be one of the downsides and will have an adverse affect on your credit score.
Some experts say that it is better for your score to keep a smaller number of credit cards with high credit limits, but to keep your balance at around 50% of what is available to you.
There are ups and downs of using credit cards whether you have one card or twenty. Everything in life has some form of upside and downside, but the bottom line and best piece of advice is to remain disciplined when using credit cards and always use them responsibly.