Everywhere you turn, advertisements encourage you to open up a credit card—or multiple credit cards. Print and TV ads all seem to suggest your life will be better with one. And you receive mailings assuring you that you are pre-qualified for the next, greatest card with the best benefits. But you are a little wary.
Should you open a credit card? That answer is a little complicated and will differ for each person. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow. Below, we explore when (if ever) it is smart to open a credit card.
Do You Have a Credit History?
One benefit of credit cards is that they help you to build a credit history relatively quickly. And you need a solid credit history for almost every major purchase. Buying a car from a dealership, taking out a bank loan for personal or business purposes, and buying a house all require some credit history.
If you have no credit history or need to rebuild yours, opening a credit card can help.
Some jobs require that you make occasional work-related purchases but do not offer company cards. You then have to submit your receipts for reimbursement and provide the appropriate purchase information. You can successfully do this with any card. But having a dedicated credit card for regular work-related purchases will make your job so much easier.
You Have Ample Funds Available
You may consider opening a credit card if you have a sizable chunk of money sitting in your checking or savings account. However, the reason is not what you think. Rather than using it to build credit, you can use it to get points. Find a card that offers a great point system or includes rewards such as cashback.
Make major purchases on the card that you would otherwise spend cash on. Then pay off the balance promptly.
These are just a few guidelines to get you started. Contact a professional for more guidance if you have more questions or concerns.