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The impact of credit card use in society

Many of us abuse them and end up in debt. But contrary to popular belief, if you can use the plastic responsibly, you're actually much better off paying with a credit card than with a debit card and keeping cash transactions to a minimum. Let's examine why your trusty credit card comes the impact of credit card use in society on top. Signup Bonuses There's nothing like a welcome-aboard perk. Other cards thank newcomers by bestowing on them a large number of reward points that can be redeemed for fun stuff more on those below.

In contrast, a standard debit card that comes with a bank account offers zero money or very small rewards. Rewards and Points Many card rewards work on a point system where you earn up to five points per dollar spent. Often companies will offer special three-month promo periods where spending in a certain category, like restaurants or transportation, nets you double or triple the usual amount of points.

When you reach a certain point threshold, you can redeem your points for gift cards at some stores, or to buy items outright from the credit card company's "rewards catalog. Get a co-branded card issued by a gas station chain, a hotel chain, a clothing store or even a nonprofit organization like AAA and your rewards may increase even faster. The trick is to find the card that best fits with your spending patterns. Doing the inverse — altering your spending patterns to fit with a particular card — is foolish.

But if you're already spending a few days a month patronizing a particular hotel or airline, why not use the card that will encourage your continued patronage by offering you discounts? Cash Back The cash-back credit card was first popularized in the United States by Discover, and the idea was simple: Today, the concept has grown and matured: Frequent-Flyer Miles This perk predates almost all the rest. Now, it seems like every airline has at least one credit card available.

Cardholders rack up miles at a rate of one mile per dollar spent, or sometimes one mile per two dollars spent.

The price of the plane ticket you ultimately end up redeeming your miles for will determine how valuable this credit card reward is, but many frequent flyer cards are made immensely more valuable by their mileage signup bonuses. Safety Paying with a credit card makes it easier to avoid losses from fraud. When your debit card is used by a thief, the money is missing from your account instantly. Legitimate expenses for which you've scheduled online payments or mailed checks may bounce, triggering insufficient funds fees and making your creditors unhappy.

Even if not your fault, these late or missed payments can also lower your credit score. It can take a while for the fraudulent transactions to be reversed and the money restored to your account while the bank investigates.

Keeping Vendors Honest Say you hire a tile setter to set some tile. Workers spend the weekend cutting, measuring, grouting, placing the spacers and tiles and letting the whole thing set. You draw upon your savings account and write a check. But what do you do when, 72 hours later, the tile starts to shift and the grout still hasn't set? Your entryway is now a complete mess, and that vein in your forehead won't stop throbbing. You can take up the issue with your state licensing board, but that process could take months and the contractor still has your money.

That's why, if you can, you should pay for a big-ticket item like this with a credit card. The issuer has an incentive to discourage fraud among its vendors, and if there is a problem, they have a mechanism to try to resolve it.

  • The price of the plane ticket you ultimately end up redeeming your miles for will determine how valuable this credit card reward is, but many frequent flyer cards are made immensely more valuable by their mileage signup bonuses;
  • Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing;
  • When a critical number of consumers are unable to keep up with their debt and default on their credit cards, the overall economy is affected;
  • You tend to spend more than you can afford.

More important, if you dispute the charge, the card issuer withholds the funds from the tile setter, and not only will you get your money back, you might even get help finding a new contractor.

Grace Period When you make a debit card purchase, your money is gone right away. Hanging on to your funds for this extra time can be helpful in two ways.

Credit Card Debt

First, the time value of money, however infinitesimal, will add to wealth. Postponing payment makes your purchase that much cheaper. Beyond that, your cash will spend more time in your bank account, and if you pay your credit card from a high-interest checking account and earn on your money during the grace periodthe extra will eventually add up to a meaningful amount.

Insurance Most credit cards automatically come with a plethora of consumer protections that people don't even realize they have, such as rental car insurance, travel insurance and product warranties that may exceed the manufacturer's warranty. Universal Acceptance Certain purchases are difficult to make with a debit card.

  • The price of the plane ticket you ultimately end up redeeming your miles for will determine how valuable this credit card reward is, but many frequent flyer cards are made immensely more valuable by their mileage signup bonuses;
  • But the merchants still have to pay the major credit card companies a cut of every sale;
  • You tend to spend more than you can afford.

When you want to rent a car or stay in a hotel room, you'll almost certainly have an easier time if you have a credit card. Rental car companies and hotels want customers to pay with credit cards because it makes it easier to charge customers for any damage they cause to a room or a car. So if you want to pay for one of these items with a debit card, the company may insist on putting a hold of several hundred dollars on your account.

How Does Credit Card Debt Affect the Economy?

Also, when you're traveling in a foreign country, merchants won't always accept your debit card — even when it has a major bank logo on it. Building Credit If you have no credit or are trying to improve your credit scoreusing a credit card responsibly will help, because credit card companies will report your payment activity to the credit bureaus.

Debit card the impact of credit card use in society doesn't appear anywhere on your credit reporthowever, so it can't help you build or improve your credit. Retailers honor credit cards because they want to make it easy for you to shop there. But the merchants still have to pay the major credit card companies a cut of every sale. Since a cash sale means more to the retailer's bottom line than an equivalent credit sale does, some retailers give discounts for the privilege of taking your cash immediately.

On a big item, like a furniture set, the difference could be substantial. However, you'll forego the previously mentioned consumer protections offered by credit cards.

Then there are other reasons when paying with credit isn't better, and they have to do with you and your spending habits. Using a credit card may not be right for you under the following circumstances: You can't pay your credit card balance in full and on time. If this tends to happen, stick with the debit card or cash to avoid racking up interest. You tend to spend more than you can afford. You can only get a credit card with a low credit limit and you have a hard time staying under the balance.

Exceeding your credit limit results in costly fees, and doing this can also put a dent in your credit score.

10 Reasons To Use Your Credit Card

The Bottom Line Credit cards are best enjoyed by the disciplined, who can remain cognizant of their ability to pay the monthly bill preferably in full by the due date. If you do, the combination of rewards, buyer protection and the value of cash-in-hand will put you ahead of those who deal strictly in green.

With all that cash back and those frequent flyer miles piling up, knowing how to juggle debt, no matter the size, is key to good financial health. Investopedia Academy's Master Your Money course will not only teach you how to manage your savings but also how to invest for the future and increase your earning power.

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