The Ancient Greeks believed that our lives were preordained. That every event that we experience ties (however tangentially) into a huge overarcing plan that will somehow lead us to the predetermined fate decided for us by the Gods. People of faith today also believe that while we have agency over our own lives and actions that God has a plan for us and though He may reveal Himself in mysterious ways, he gives us a little nudge when we stray from the path. Another way of looking at it, of course, is that life is a chaotic and unpredictable series of interweaving accidents. Let’s be honest… How often do you feel like your life subscribes to the latter doctrine.
Issues of faith aside, life has a habit of throwing curve balls at us and these curve balls can often be fundamental or disastrous to our financial wellbeing. One month we get a pay rise, the next month our car breaks down. One month we get a promotion, the next we get an unexpected medical expense. As much as we all try to budget and keep a tight rein on our household spending, even the best prepared household can struggle when fate and circumstance hit us with a leaky roof or a broken dishwasher.
Credit cards are the great leveller in these matters, and can help you to meet the challenges of the unexpected while enabling you to keep your delicately planned financial fortunes stable. The trouble is, which credit card. Choosing a credit card is an important decision as these little plastic rectangles are neither inherently good nor inherently bad (yet they’re also somehow both), but they can either elevate your household finances or prove ruinous to them. A big part of choosing the right card depends on your ability to find one that’s right for you and your circumstances. Here we’ll look at some circumstances for which you may need a credit card and which cards can help you to facilitate your need without putting a long term drain on your family budget…
You need credit… fast
Most credit card applications are fairly fast processes involving very little in the way of administration. Nonetheless, there’s usually a waiting period of a few days before your card is ready to use. There may be times, however, when tomorrow isn’t fast enough and you need credit pretty much instantly. Your first instinct may be to eschew cards altogether and get an unsecured loan instead, but there are a few reasons why this may not be for you. The interest rates may not be favorable or a loan may mire you in debt for a longer period than you’d like. It may even be surplus to requirements, as loans tend to offer higher capital sums than the average credit card limit. If you have made an informed choice that credit cards are the way to go, you can start using one pretty much immediately with instant approval credit cards. While you may have to wait for a physical card your credit card number is issued instantaneously, meaning that you can start using your credit in minutes. Perfect for life’s little emergencies!
You want to consolidate debt without oppressive interest rates
Debt is more than just owing money. It’s also a cause of significant stress, anxiety and depression and it can feel like a yoke that holds you back while dragging your household finances ever downward. When you have multiple debts from different creditors, each coming out of your bank on different dates and each with a different rate of interest it can not only make planning your finances harder, it can also exacerbate your stress and the feeling that your debts are inescapable.
Unless things have gotten so bad that you need to file for bankruptcy, consolidating your debts may be great way to overcome them. Many people reach out to debt consolidation loans to help them make their debt more manageable, consolidating it into a single monthly payment. If, however, these debts are fairly small it may be worth using a new credit card to consolidate them. There are numerous credit cards with fixed term 0% interest on balance transfers and while there’s usually an upfront fee of 1-5% they can help you to escape your debts without accruing further interest. Here are some of the best balance transfer cards of 2018.
You want to build your credit rating
Some people use their credit cards for pretty much everything. They use them to buy groceries, pay for gas, settle utility bills and make those everyday purchases that make life a little more special from new clothes to fresh baked cookies. Why use a credit card when a debit card will do just as well? Because using your credit card (and paying it off immediately every month) is a great way of building your credit score without unnecessary spending on extras or interest. Many people use credit cards strategically in this way if they need to demonstrate an exemplary credit rating at the start of a new tenancy or when applying for a mortgage.
Plus, many credit card companies throw in enticing offers and rewards to ensure that you keep using their cards. These can be any of the following;
- Cashback (usually 1-3% but it all adds up)
- Discounts at associated retailers
- Gas vouchers
- Shopping vouchers
- Restaurant vouchers
- Hotel vouchers
This is a good example of harnessing a credit card’s potential and making it work for you, rather than being enslaved by your debt. And if it helps you maintain a great credit score… So much the better!
You want to do some good
Planning your finances is all well and good but there are many for whom, it’s not enough to maintain one’s own wealth, they also have to do some good too. Credit cards have got your back here. By using charity credit cards you can do good without doing anything at all. These cards donate a proportion of your retail purchases to a charity of your choosing every single time you swipe. Most of these cards do not come with an initial fee, nor do you have to pay any extra at the checkout.