The advantages of credit cards

Most people use credit cards for their convenience but take for granted some of the cards’ other benefits. When it comes to security, emergencies, efficiency, budgeting and other areas, they’re hard to beat.

Organization

If you’re trying to stick to a budget but are having a hard time keeping track of your spending, credit cards offer specific advantages. Some cards offer pre-selected categories that group similar charges such as gas, groceries, mobile phone payments and utility charges. You should still keep your receipts in case of a discrepancy (or when you have to pay with cash), but having the majority of your expenses laid out in a monthly statement can save you time.

Security

When it comes to protecting your money, the advantages of using credit cards compared with cash, checks or money orders are numerous.

  • If someone fraudulently uses your card, call the number on your statement or the back of your card immediately. In most cases, you won’t be held responsible for any charges if your card or account number has been stolen.
  • Your credit card issuer probably offers optional security alerts; sign up to be automatically notified of any unusual activity on your account.
  • Lost cash can’t be replaced. Most credit cards can be reissued in a short period with no loss to you.
  • Unlike checks or cash, some credit cards have a variety of built-in security features, including chip card technology and photo identification. See how Bank of America credit cards protect you.

Protection

Some credit card issuers provide a number of protection features such as purchase protection for defective goods, car rental insurance, travel insurance and other perks. Check with your issuers to see what is available.

Credit history

One of the main advantages of using a credit card is that it can positively affect your credit score when you use it responsibly. Regular use and prompt full payment of your balance is one of the better ways to build a solid credit history. This also lets creditors know that you can be trusted to lend to.

Potential savings

While it might seem counterintuitive to think that credit cards could save you money, there are advantages to using them, including:

  • The better your credit history, the cheaper it is to borrow money. When paying off a mortgage or student or automobile loan over long periods of time, those savings could add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Depending on your card, you can earn a variety of rewards such as cash back, airline miles and discounts.

Emergencies

Credit cards can be helpful in case of emergency. Not only can they help if you’re in a bind without cash, but many offer helpful features such as roadside assistance or travel insurance. It’s worth checking to see what protections your card might offer. Searching for the right card? Learn more about credit card options from Bank of America.

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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