What are credit cards?
A credit card is an unsecured loan that allows the cardholder to make purchases based on an agreement to pay the issuer back. This is basically a card giving the account holder an option to borrow funds. Credit cards charge interest and are usually used for short-term financing. These cards can be lifesavers or in some cases the very thing that brings you into debt. Credit cards can either allow the cardholder to make purchases and payments on a line of credit or the option to make cash withdrawals at ATMs or banks.
2 types of credit cards
Business credit cards
Business credit cards are designed with unique benefits for business users. These cards are intended for business use and makes business expenses easier to track and keep record of.
- Banks reward businesses with incentives, points and cash if the credit is well maintained. These rewards have more value than the rewards that come with a traditional credit card.
- Business credit cards serve as the ultimate convenience tool for business owners. This is a way to build your business even if the necessary funds are not available yet.
Secured credit cards
If you have little or no credit history, this is the option to consider. A secured credit card is backed on a savings account used as protection/collateral for the funds used on credit. Just like any other credit card, there is a limit. However, a secured credit card’s limit is based on the amount deposited into the backing savings account and/or the account holder’s credit history.
- These cards provide an opportunity to rebuild a poor credit record. The purpose of secured credit cards are to establish the user's’ credit score up to a point where an unsecured credit card can be obtained once again.
- Secured credit cards also simplifies overseas shipping.
Why credit cards?
Let us not hide away from the fact that credit cards are not cheap and are high risk for creating debt. Bank charges and interest on the credit is a big disadvantage. Yet, so many people have and use credit cards on a daily basis. Why is that?
- Convenience - As simple as that.
- Renting a vehicle - many rental companies require a large amount of collateral funding to be secured before the renting procedure can be finalised. Not many people have large amounts of money, just lying around. A credit card makes renting a vehicle possible, without actually paying anything from the account that is already empty. The money is reserved inside the account.
- Rewards - credit cards were designed to entice spending. Most banks encourage this by rewarding users abundantly on certain purchases.
Tips for effective credit card use
Pay your bill on time every month
Avoid paying interest on your purchases by paying the agreed amount each month in full. Missing a payment is not an option. If you are afraid you might forget, set a reminder on your phone. Skipping payments can result in late payment fees and an increase in interest.
Check your credit card balance online once a week
This can help you stay on top of spending. Do not be caught by surprise by a nasty bill at the end of the month. If you see that you are spending more than you can afford to pay back at the end of the month, stop using the card immediately until the owing amount is paid off.
Use the card for needs, not wants
You need to be strict with your purchases. Having a credit card is a big responsibility. Consider only using your card only for the necessities.