10 bank card advantages (and 4 disadvantages)

Why use bank cards? Different cost choices, like debit playing cards and money, might look like a neater solution to keep inside funds. In any case, bank cards have a popularity for sun tavern encouraging you to spend cash you don’t have — particularly when attractive presents come within the mail.

However right here at Cash Below 30, we predict a very good bank card is a must have. When used responsibly, bank cards might be nice on your monetary well-being. In actual fact, sensible bank card holders can earn cash simply through the use of their card.

So, what are the advantages of bank cards over money, and the way can utilizing one provide help to come out forward?

1. They construct credit score historical past

Maybe crucial cause to have a bank card is to construct credit score historical past.

You may get a bank card it doesn’t matter what your present credit score rating after which use it to construct credit score. Even when your credit score rating is low you may at all times begin with a secured card. This makes bank cards an awesome place for anybody to start out constructing credit score.

A great credit score rating is crucial for those who plan to borrow cash. These scores come partially out of your bank card utilization. Utilizing bank cards responsibly can assist in constructing credit score.

While you pay a minimum of your minimal cost by the due date the financial institution stories that to your credit score file. While you wish to borrow cash sooner or later, collectors can see that you’ve a historical past of paying your money owed on time. And the longer you utilize bank cards, the extra you’ll construct your credit score historical past, enhancing your rating much more.

Learn extra: How credit score works

2. They provide rewards applications


One of many largest bank card advantages are the rewards you may earn. There are nearly as many rewards applications as there are bank cards. The trick is to discover a rewards program that matches with spending habits you have already got. This lets you earn rewards in your on a regular basis purchases with out having to vary your spending habits.

You’ll additionally wish to discover a rewards program that provides you rewards you’ll really use. Whereas everybody can profit from a money again bank card, you could get extra worth from a journey rewards bank card. Nonetheless, a journey rewards bank card just isn’t a lot use for those who don’t journey very a lot.

Rewards applications can embody, however aren’t restricted to:

Money again playing cards: These bank cards provide you with money again in your on a regular basis purchases. Usually they’ve bonus rewards for sure sorts of transactions, resembling further money again on fuel or groceries. You possibly can usually redeem your rewards for assertion credit or a examine.

Learn extra: Finest money again bank cards

Factors and miles journey rewards playing cards: These bank cards allow you to earn factors and miles in your on a regular basis purchases. Like money again playing cards, you may earn bonus rewards in sure classes. You possibly can redeem your rewards without cost or discounted journey. One common program is the Chase Final Rewards program.

Resort or airline particular playing cards: These bank cards permit you to rack up rewards at particular lodges or airways. Whereas these bank cards can get you huge reductions on journey, they don’t seem to be as versatile as common journey rewards bank cards.

Many rewards bank cards have annual charges. Make it possible for the rewards outweigh the annual payment earlier than you enroll.

Learn extra: Finest rewards bank cards

3. They could include welcome bonuses


Many playing cards provide welcome bonuses for signing up. These may embody perks like bonus miles/factors that you would be able to redeem for air journey or lodge stays, or bonus money again that you should use as an announcement credit score.

Normally, you must spend a certain quantity on the cardboard inside a sure time interval to get the one time bonus, so learn the nice print. However it’s nonetheless a useful perk.

Learn extra: Finest bank card sign-up presents

4. They shield in opposition to fraud

One of many largest bank card advantages over debit playing cards is the extent of fraud safety they provide.

Say your bank card is stolen or somebody finds your card data on-line. If the thief begins making purchases, they aren’t spending your precise cash. Not like when somebody steals your debit card.

When you notify the cardboard firm of the theft, they’ll put a maintain in your card and examine. You aren’t accountable for any fraudulent purchases made within the meantime. Federal legislation protections for bank card holders hold you from shedding money. Legally, essentially the most you’ll doubtlessly be accountable for is $50, however I’ve by no means heard of a financial institution really holding to that. Most, if not all, bank card issuers have a zero-liability fraud coverage, you received’t lose something.

Now say your debit card is stolen. Since debit card funds are immediately deducted out of your checking account, any cash spent on unauthorized expenses will likely be gone. Computerized funds you’ve scheduled may overdraft in consequence. If you happen to report the theft inside 60 days, the transactions might be reversed and the cash restored. However this takes time and might be far more disruptive than a bank card theft.

Learn extra: The 5 largest debit card risks

5. Steadiness transfers allow you to transfer your debt to a decrease fee

Usually time, bank card welcome bonuses embody a time period with 0%, which usually consists of stability transfers.

Steadiness transfers permit you to transfer your debt from one bank card to a different. Different money owed, like automobile loans and month-to-month installment funds, will also be moved to a stability switch bank card. Take into account there’s usually a stability switch payment whenever you do that – 5% is a standard payment for stability transfers.

Now, this doesn’t imply you wipe out the debt. You’ll nonetheless must pay what you owe, in fact. Nonetheless, the 0% APR for the primary yr will make it simpler to repay what you owe since all the cash you’re placing in direction of it goes in opposition to the debt, which is able to get monetary savings on curiosity expenses.

How a lot you may switch to your new bank card will rely in your credit score line. And for those who hold including extra expenses to the cardboard, you then’re going to wrestle to repay the debt, even with 0% curiosity.

However for those who do them responsibly, stability transfers can consolidate your debt, decrease your curiosity funds, and make your life simpler.

Learn extra: Finest stability switch bank cards

6. They could include buy safety

Client safety is a large perk of many bank cards. If you happen to purchase an merchandise with a bank card and later discover out it’s broken or the standard is poor, you may return the merchandise and an announcement credit score for the quantity of the acquisition worth. It could additionally cowl you if the merchandise is misplaced or stolen.

Bank cards may provide prolonged warranties on electronics, furnishings, and different objects you hope to make use of for a very long time. In lots of circumstances the cardboard doubles the time on the producer’s guarantee. Make certain to maintain your receipts!

Learn extra: Finest bank cards with prolonged guarantee safety

7. They’ve built-in grace durations

Supply: Giphy.com

Basically, bank cards provide a zero-interest mortgage for 30 days or much less. Not like debit playing cards, bank cards don’t require you to afford a purchase order instantly. There’s a grace interval so that you can make cost preparations.

This grace interval is the time between the tip of a billing cycle and the day your cost is due (30 days). Throughout this era, you’ll not obtain curiosity expenses to your stability. However you will need to pay the stability in full by the due date. If you happen to don’t, then all of the accrued curiosity will apply to your account.

Use this grace interval correctly. Even for those who pay the invoice on time, however not in full, or for those who pay it off in full, however behind schedule, then the interest-free grace interval is over.

Learn extra: How grace durations work (and the right way to make them give you the results you want)

8. They observe your spending for you

Wish to funds higher? Bank card statements are a built-in expense tracker. Your purchases get recorded on-line with all of the important data — the place, when, how a lot, and the way usually you’re spending. Some bank card firms hold your spending data round for years.

This profit turns into particularly helpful come tax time. With one report of the previous yr’s spending already compiled, you’ll save effort and time in your taxes. Enterprise bills, rental property bills, charity contributions, and extra difficult tax return areas all present up on a bank card invoice.

Learn extra: How one can funds utilizing bank cards

9. They tack on insurance coverage

Take a look at the patron protections provided together with your bank card. Likelihood is you’ll discover bank card advantages you didn’t even know you had.

Along with prolonged warranties and buy safety, many playing cards provide return safety, rental automobile insurance coverage, and journey insurance coverage.

Journey reward bank cards are identified for offering some fairly candy journey insurance coverage perks. For instance, a number of Chase bank cards provide main rental automobile insurance coverage. Which means that you would be able to decline the rental automobile insurance coverage on the counter and use the insurance coverage supplied by your bank card as a substitute – with out having to contain your private automobile insurance coverage firm if that you must make a declare.

Many bank cards additionally provide journey cancelation or interruption insurance coverage. Which means that if you must lower your journey brief, or cancel it utterly, you’ll get reimbursed on your prices. In fact, the journey must be canceled or interrupted attributable to coated occasions, resembling sickness or harm.

Learn extra: Is it price it to get a bank card only for the insurance coverage advantages?

10. They’re universally accepted

Talking of journey, your bank card is your greatest buddy whenever you’re touring. Lodging and rental automobiles are a lot simpler to guide with credit score than debit. Rental providers usually place a maintain of some hundred {dollars} in your card. This maintain might be inconvenient with a debit card.

Bank cards are additionally extra readily accepted than debit playing cards worldwide. If you happen to’re touring to a overseas nation, plan to make use of the decrease alternate charges in your bank card as a substitute of paying excessive alternate charges for money at airports. Take into account that many bank cards cost overseas transaction charges – nevertheless not all do, so examine earlier than journey.

Learn extra: Finest bank cards for worldwide journey

Disadvantages of utilizing a bank card

Whereas bank cards include a whole lot of comfort and adaptability, there are some cons of bank cards that you just want to concentrate on as properly, notably for those who’ve had a rocky cost historical past prior to now.

Excessive rates of interest

It’s not unusual for bank cards to return with an rate of interest of 20% and even increased. That’s a lot increased than different types of debt, like mortgages or automobile loans. It might rapidly add up and lead you into debt for those who don’t repay your stability every month.

While you carry a stability from one month to the following, you accrue curiosity expenses on the unpaid stability. This results in an accumulation of debt over time and makes it difficult so that you can pay it off.

Potential for overspending

For some folks, utilizing a bank card doesn’t really feel like “actual” cash. So it’s simpler to lose observe of your spending for those who’re undisciplined, which may result in a shock stability on the finish of the month.

Overspending is a standard drawback of utilizing a bank card. You aren’t restricted by the amount of cash you’ve out there in your checking account, solely by your credit score restrict. This will result in the temptation to overspend and accumulate debt that is likely to be exhausting to repay sooner or later.

Bank card issuers usually present incentives, like money again rewards or factors, to encourage customers to spend extra with their bank cards. These bank card rewards might be attractive and may result in impulsive purchases that aren’t crucial or inside your funds.

Annual charges


Some bank cards cost an annual payment, which might be as a lot as a number of hundred {dollars} per yr. These charges can add up rapidly, particularly for those who’ve bought a number of bank cards.

If the annual charges don’t outweigh the bank card advantages you then’ll wish to begin searching for one other bank card. If you happen to don’t journey very a lot then journey rewards might be troublesome to redeem. Journey rewards bank cards additionally are likely to have the best annual charges.

If you end up on this state of affairs then search for a rewards card with extra easy rewards.

Learn extra: Is an annual payment bank card ever price it?

Incentives and rewards can have circumstances

Bank card issuers provide incentives and rewards to entice folks to use. However typically there are caveats that make it troublesome to take full benefit of the rewards.

For instance, a bank card might promote as much as 5% money again, however for those who learn the nice print it’s solely on sure rewards classes or as much as sure spending limits.

One other widespread situation is to have rotating rewards classes. Every quarter the classes you may earn rewards in modifications and that you must register every quarter to qualify for the additional money again or bonus factors. It’s straightforward to overlook to register or the bonus classes aren’t at all times going to suit into your spending habits.

Irresponsible use can injury your credit score rating

Irresponsible use of a bank card can injury your credit score rating. Late funds, excessive balances, and maxing out playing cards are all reported in your credit score file and might all negatively affect your credit score report. This will have long-term penalties.

A low credit score rating could make it exhausting to get credit score sooner or later, particularly for big objects like shopping for a home or a brand new automobile.

How one can discover the very best bank card for you

There’s no one-size-fits-all resolution with regards to bank cards. Discovering the cardboard that’s best for you will rely on numerous elements resembling your credit score historical past, in order for you journey perks or money again, in case you are seeking to consolidate your debt with stability transfers, or quite a lot of different elements.

For instance, you may prioritize a card that has no annual payment. Otherwise you is likely to be after a card with a very good welcome bonus.

It’s a good suggestion to fastidiously study how, and the way a lot, you spend to determine the rewards card that makes essentially the most sense for you.

MoneyUnder30’s bank card comparability device can assist you rapidly slender down the playing cards that meet your standards. Test it out right now! Then you may learn our opinions to see the professionals and cons of every card and make an knowledgeable choice.


Bank card advantages embody rewards, safety, and comfort, in addition to common reporting to the credit score bureaus, which builds your credit score.

The secret is to be sensible together with your card and pay it off every month. Doing that may really get monetary savings and hold you shielded from unauthorized purchases. And, relying on which card you select, you’ll have some good perks thrown in as properly. Simply watch these annual charges.