I am probably the only odd ball who had a father that insisted I open up credit cards the moment I turned 18. No, he wasn’t trying to enable my makeup addiction, but rather, was trying to help build my credit score.
If you pay your monthly bills diligently, the higher your cumulative credit limit is. The result? A better your credit score!
Why is your credit score so important?
Your credit score can affect whether or not you get get a job, rent an apartment and the rates you pay for mortgages, insurance and auto financing.
But opening up a bunch of credit cards hoping to create an awesome credit score can be a terrible mistake for those who are not financially savvy, not good at paying bills on time or who have a hard time spending within their means.
Check out a list of pro’s and con’s below for opening credit cards and see whether opening cards is the best decision for you!
Convenience: You can pull out your credit card anywhere and not deal with the hassle of counting change, searching for quarters and not having enough money on you.
Rewards: Almost all credit cards offer some form of rewards. Discover offers 5% cash back of what you spend, American Express offers free stuff and 2% cash back, etc. So if you pay your bills on time, why not earn 5% back by swiping?
Popularity: Everyone has a credit card. It’s come to the point that people start dreading the person in line who writes a check or hands a one hundred dollar bill to the person at the register.
Builds Credit: As stated above, the major incentive in getting more credit cards is that you are building your credit which can help you a LOT in the long run when you need a loan.
Spending Too Much: It’s hard to resist splurging on that Mac Book Pro you’ve been dying to buy when your credit card company has just given you a $3,000 limit. This kind of temptation can cause overspending and debt which will hurt your credit score and finances.
Debt: Debt is an easy pit to fall in. You start with being $50 in debt, then that creeps up to $100, to $500, to thousands. Living off cash is tough and a pain, but prevents you from owing a credit card company thousands of dollars in late fines and interest.
Annual Fee’s & Hidden Fee’s: Many credit cards come with a hidden fee or annual fee. Make sure to check the fine print and get a no-hassle card that doesn’t charge you extra for their services rendered.
Late Payments: If you’re disorganized and forgetful, having a credit card can cost you…a LOT. Credit card companies are forgiving once or twice for late payments, but if you’re chronically late, the late fees on top of interest will hurt your credit score and your savings balance.
If you’re good at meeting deadlines and don’t suffer from overspending, then by all means open up credit cards that don’t have strings attached and build up your credit score!
Why should you start now?
Because the longer you’ve been paying your bills responsibly, the better your score! Why NOT start while you’re in college?