Even though the average American household has at least three credit card accounts, there are still those holdouts that think it’s a virtue never to buy anything on credit and who never want to have a credit card.
If you’re one of those credit card skeptics, I’m here to tell you that there’s another way to live. Not having a credit card in this day and age isn’t only inconvenient – it’s downright damaging to your financial health.
See, having a credit card is the best way to build a credit history, and a great credit score. Without those things, you can forget about getting a mortgage, a car loan, and perhaps even an apartment or a job. A solid credit history and a decent credit score are the price of admission for all these things – and it’s not hard to achieve. But the first step is getting over your hatred of all things credit.
The reason many people give for being averse to credit is that they don’t want to get into debt. But having a credit card doesn’t have to mean going into debt. In fact, it shouldn’t mean that at all.
What you need to do is simply pay off your credit card bill in full every month by the due date. It’s as simple as that. If you never carry a balance over from one month to the next, you’ll never pay a penny of interest. You may even earn money, through cash back cards or points rewards. And you’ll also build up a good credit history, which will help you in so many areas of your life.
So, if you’re in the market for a great credit card, here are a few things to look for:
• No annual fee. There are plenty of cards on the market that do charge an annual fee, and which are very much worth paying that annual fee for. These are generally rewards credit cards that offer lots of perks and benefits, including things like purchase protection, concierge service, frequent flyer miles, and hotel reward points. But it you prefer not to pay a fee each year, then by all means, find a terrific no-fee card. There are plenty of them out there.
• A rewards program.Just because a card offers a fantastic rewards program doesn’t mean it necessarily charges an annual fee. Many cards offer great rewards and no fee. What would you like? That’s the only question. You can choose a card that lets you redeem points for gift cards, cash back, free hotel stays, or free plane tickets. Just choose your favorite form of rewards, and chances are, there’s a card that offers them.
• A low APR. You may plan to pay off your balance each month, and that’s a worthy goal. However, on the chance that something comes up and you need to carry a balance over, you’ll want to have a low APR, so you don’t pay as much interest on the amount you owe.
Credit cards are a useful financial tool, and one you’ll be glad to have – once you overcome your fear.