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Do You Really Need a Credit Card?

Have you ever thought that maybe you could live without credit cards? It may sound crazy, but there are people who actually get by without credit cards. Ideally, you should pay the full balance on your credit cards each month, or at least keep them under the 30% utilization; this is how you will build and maintain healthy credit. However, credit cards may not be for everyone, especially for those who cannot manage them carefully. Before you start applying for credit cards, take a look at your spending habits and finances to better determine whether or not you will be able to use your credit cards responsibly.

What are the pros of credit cards?
A lot of people benefit from credit cards, because they are convenient and can help them organize their finances. For example, if you put all of your expenses on one card, you will only have one bill. Credit cards will also help you build credit history, as long as you use them responsibly. For those who are just starting to build credit, this can be really enticing.
Credit cards also offer a lot of perks and rewards, like cash back on purchases, which you can then use towards a statement credit or even to purchase gift cards. Also, credit cards offer protection on purchases in the event that there is fraudulent activity on your account.

What are the cons of credit cards?
Believe it or not, there are some people who should not have a credit card. If you are someone who is struggling to stay out of debt, or cannot keep up with payments, it may be a good idea to stay away from credit cards.
Credit cards can help you build credit, and they can ruin it as well. If you start maxing them out or missing payments, your score will suffer. You’ll also end up paying more money in the long run, because carrying balances on your credit cards will cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in interest fees.

How do you build credit without credit cards?
Is it possible? Absolutely! Don’t think that comes without any challenges though. For a lot of young people, a credit card is not only one of the first steps toward adulthood, it’s a way to help establish credit.
There are other ways for young adults to establish credit though! Student loans can help you build credit and your on-time payments will be reported to the credit bureaus. You can also use a monthly service to report your rental payments, as most rental payments are rarely reported to the bureaus.
Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card is another great way to help build credit history. As long as the primary account holder has demonstrated positive payment history and owes less than 30% of the available balance on the card, this will help you out. However, if the account holder has reached the credit limit or has any missed payments it will reflect negatively on your credit report.

Can you rent a car without credit cards?
I understand how frustrating it is when you want to rent a car for a family vacation, only to be turned down from the rental company because you don’t have a credit card. You can still rent a car with cash or a debit card, but you should contact the rental car company first because they all have their own policies. If they do happen to accept debit cards, don’t be surprised if you see a hold on your bank funds, which is usually the cost of the rental plus a $200 deposit.

What other challenges can you face?
If you ever have a financial emergency, you might find yourself in a bind if you don’t have cash on hand. A credit card can be a quick solution to solve emergencies, like if your car broke down.
Also, if you shop online using your debit cards, thieves can access your account and leave you without any money. A credit card offers extra security measures when making online purchases.
You may also have an issue when checking in at hotels that require a deposit for any incidentals. If you use your debit card, you will have less funds available to you until the hold disappears. You eventually get your money back, but it could be a problem if you live paycheck to paycheck.
Remember, credit cards may not be for everyone. Some people like using cash and debit cards, while some people love using credit cards. As long as you analyze your spending habits, you can decide for yourself if you are responsible enough to handle a credit card.

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