Did you know there are approximately 60 million credit cards in circulation in the UK?
In a country where an estimated two-thirds of the adult population use credit cards, we must be open and transparent about the benefits and drawbacks of this personal finance pick.
Millions of people use credit cards to navigate large purchases and last-minute costs. But these cards aren’t always beneficial. Credit cards also have various drawbacks all users should be aware of. In this blog, we’re delving into the advantages and disadvantages to help you get informed. Scroll down for more.
Before we jump into the pros and cons of this payment method, make sure you’re aware of credit cards and their history. Jump to our credit card guide online here.
One of the main advantages of these cards is their convenience. Shopping and managing finances can be completed with the tap of a card rather than paying with cash or a cheque. Most credit cards come with online banking portals, allowing you to repay them up with ease.
Credit cards often come with rewards. For example, the more you use your card, the more points or incentives you earn. Some also offer cashback or free travel points. Remember to include rewards in your search criteria if you’re looking for a credit card.
If you’re using a credit card, you’re more protected if something goes wrong. What’s known as Section 75 claims mean your credit card lender can be equally liable if there is something wrong with your purchase and the seller does not put it right. Not all credit card purchases will qualify for this protection and you would need to speak to your credit card provider to find out more.
Finally, a significant advantage of credit cards is the ability to build your credit score. Paying your card bills on time shows your lenders that you’re a responsible and trustworthy borrower. This can help you qualify for other credit products and loans if needed.
Personal finance tips might be quick to suggest a credit card. But you should know the disadvantages before you use these credit products.
Sometimes, credit cards lead users to overspend. Having credit in your wallet at all times can lead to impulse purchases and budget-breaking. When not managed, overspending can cause financial stress and debt.
Credit cards aren’t free products. Even just to start using some cards, you may need to pay annual fees. You’ll also have to pay over-limit or late payment fees if you’re not timely with your bill payments. Annual credit card fees can cost anywhere between £10 to £150.
In addition to fees, credit cards usually come with high-interest rates. If you leave unpaid balances on your cards, you may pay much more than you originally spent. High balances, missing payments and credit card misuse can also lower your credit score, meaning you’re restricted from certain loans and credit products in the future.
Read more about credit score myths here.
Credit cards are a game-changing financial option for many, but only when used responsibly. If you’re considering a credit card, explore the terms and conditions before signing up. Taking the time to research your options now may save you time in the future.
Want an alternative option? Polar Credit provides credit lines with a fast online application process. Credit line approval is subject to creditworthiness. Explore our FAQ to see whether our products are an appropriate match for your financial situation.
For more helpful information about how to manage your money, different financial products or what we do at Polar Credit, take a look at our Info Hub.