Used responsibly, credit cards can be helpful in an emergency and for establishing a sound credit history.
Paying debts on time, including credit card bills, contributes to building good credit. If a card holder does not honor their payment agreement, your credit rating can be damaged and you may not be able to get credit again when you need it.
A poor credit history may affect an individual’s ability to rent an apartment, get a job, obtain car insurance or buy a car or house. People with poor credit usually pay higher interest rates for loans and the negative information stays on your credit record even if the bill is later paid in full.
Before making a purchase with a credit card, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I really need this item now?
- Do I have enough in my budget this month to pay off the entire purchase?
- If I use a credit card, what additional fees or interest will I pay if I do not pay off the entire balance?
- What might I have to give up in order to buy this?