The Benefits of Using Credit Cards

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SPONSORED CONTENT: The next time you purchase things like groceries, movie tickets or gas, you will likely have several different payment options. Using your credit card can have several benefits as long as you use it responsibly.

FRAUD/UNAUTHORIZED USE PROTECTION

Most major credit companies, including SECU, provide zero-liability coverage when your account is used fraudulently for unauthorized purchases. In addition, SECU and many companies also monitor for potentially fraudulent purchases and will decline a transaction they suspect is not legitimate. This protection means it is safer to carry cards than cash that is easily lost, stolen or misplaced.

Even debit cards pose some risks over credit cards, as money is taken directly from your checking account. Many banks and credit unions will work with you to replace the stolen funds, but that process can take time, leaving you without access to that cash.

BUILD CREDIT

Using your credit card may help you build additional credit, especially if you have limited history or a low credit score. Keep in mind you don’t have to spend a lot or go into deep debt on your cards to raise your credit score. Make small purchases for which you normally would use cash or debit, and then pay the total bill when your statement arrives. Making timely payments on any credit account is one of the most important elements of your credit score.

TIPS FOR USING YOUR CREDIT RESPONSIBLY

  1. Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back in cash.
    Carrying a balance on credit accounts accrues interest, which adds to the amount you owe. If you pay your account in full each month, you avoid paying any interest while reaping the benefits of using credit.
  2. Do make your payments on time.
    As mentioned above, the credit bureaus consider this one of the most important factors impacting your credit score.
  3. Don’t use a credit card if you are already carrying a balance or struggling to manage your payments. Adding more debt on top of what you already owe just makes it worse. Stick to paying with cash to avoid overspending and focus on paying down your debt first.
  4. Watch out for hidden “convenience” fees.
    Sometimes using a credit card to pay for things like utilities and other services can accrue an extra fee. Make sure to read and understand the fine print before you use your credit card in these instances.

SECU Visa® Credit Cards offer a low rate and more additional benefits and options are on the way for SECU credit card holders. State Employees’ Credit Union – Visa Credit Cards (ncsecu.org)

If you have questions about your credit and using it wisely, please visit your local SECU branch or contact our 24/7 Member Services at 888.732.8562.



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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.