A credit card is a tool that can help you build your credit and make purchases. If you’re new to credit cards, there are some things you should know before applying for one. In this guide, we’ll cover everything from how they work to how to choose the right one for your needs.
Understanding How Credit Cards Work
A credit card is a convenient way to pay for things. It’s not free money; you should only use it if you can pay off the monthly balance.
Credit cards are not for everyone. If you’re just starting out in life, don’t have much income yet, or often struggle with debt and spending. A credit card may not be right for you today. In that case, I recommend learning more about how to manage your money before getting one.
A credit card is a type of revolving credit. It’s a way to purchase items and make payments later, usually via an interest-bearing account. This differs from a debit card, which immediately deducts funds from your bank account and removes the option to pay later (although some debit cards allow overdraft protection).
Credit cards are also unsecured debt in that they do not require collateral for use. The money you borrow does not have to be paid back with something else like real estate or gold.
Unlike long-term loans like mortgages or car loans, which have fixed terms that can last up to 30 years, most credit cards have shorter terms (usually one year) and require monthly payments so that you don’t get into debt too quickly.
Pros and Cons of Credit Cards
- Convenient and easy to use
- A good way to build credit
- Rewards and cash-back rewards programs can help you earn money on your purchases, which can be a money-saver over time. Remember that many stores also offer cash-back rewards, so use those before applying for a card with a reward system!
- You’ll have to pay interest on your purchases if you don’t pay off your statement balance every month (though some cards don’t charge interest until after a certain number of days). This means paying more than what the price tag says. So make sure you budget accordingly.
How to Choose the Right Credit Card
Different types of credit cards offer a wide range of features and benefits. Choosing the right credit card for your needs is important in building your credit history. As per the professionals at SoFi, “When deciding on a new credit card that is best for you, it boils down to two basic questions: What do you want from a card? And how strong is your financial history?”
The first step in doing this is to consider what you spend most of your money on, then choose a card that rewards you for those purchases. For example, if you spend a lot at restaurants and grocery stores, look for cards with great dining rewards or cash back on groceries. If gas is more expensive than anything else in your budget, look for cards with a high signup bonus or give extra rewards points when using the card at the pump.
Understanding how credit cards work is important before you apply for one. If you don’t know what to look for in a credit card, it might not be right for your needs. Reviewing this post should help you decide if getting a credit card is right for you so that when the time comes, there are no surprises.