In the war of cash versus card, it seems there’s only going to be one winner. These days, you’ll find most people wandering around with plastic and nothing else. As of 2017, the UK Cards Association estimated that 96% (51 million) of adults in the UK have a debit card, while 60% (32 million) hold a credit card.
Since then, the numbers will only have risen. The question is: are you part of the credit card demographic? If not, here’s why you think about joining the masses.
While the safety benefits of not having to carry a load of cash around in your pocket are obvious, credit cards are also much better protected against fraud than a debit card.
Should a thief steal your debit card, money will be taken from your account instantly, which can have significant knock-on effects, such as going overdrawn, payments bouncing and insufficient funds to make future purchases. Whether it’s your fault or not, this sort of activity can seriously damage your credit score.
Should your credit card be used fraudulently, you won’t face the same trouble. Notify your provider and they’ll resolve the issue, and you won’t have to pay for anything you didn’t buy.
The Comfort Zone
Credit card payments come with a grace period where your money is held in a checking account until you come to pay your monthly bill. With debit card and cash payments, the money is gone there and then.
This matters on a couple of fronts. Firstly, your account balance stays healthy and money remains in your account for longer. This is particularly beneficial to high-interest accounts where extra interest is generated during the grace period.
Secondly, the grace period provides a security blanket against services you’re dissatisfied with. For example, if you’d contracted someone to do repairs on your house, only to find that the work carried out was substandard a week later, you can dispute and withhold funds from the business via your credit card provider.
Because of this, using a credit card in the first place often discourages vendors from any sub-par or fraudulent behaviour, meaning you’re more likely to be guaranteed the right service for your money.
Rewards and Perks
Better credit cards often come with an array of rewards and bonuses to incentivise consumers to spend. Use your credit card well, and you’ll find yourself enjoying a whole host of benefits in exchange for purchases.
Users with good credit can find sign-up bonuses that are worth hundreds, while points reward systems mean you can earn points against your spending that can be redeemed against the likes of gift cards, catalogue items and fuel.
As long as you’re paying your balances in full and on time, a quality credit card will add value to your purchases.
For those who carefully structure their personal finances,credit cards offer a range of benefits outside of purchasing, including key areas like debt management and credit score building. They also lead the pack in terms of convenience, accessibility and security, which is why they make sense for well over half of the UK population.