Cash or Plastic? The Differences Can Be Drastic

Credit cards are convenient, and many offer rewards and other perks. However, they also come with some drawbacks. Weighing the pros and cons is important to decide whether you are going to go without your money clip to hold cash and use credit cards instead.

The top benefit of credit cards is their convenience. It’s much easier to carry a plastic card around than it is to carry a large amount of cash in a wallet or money clip. In addition, there are many situations where you may not be able to use cash or another form of payment, such as online sales.

Credit cards can offer safety that cash doesn’t offer. For example, if you lose cash or have it stolen, it’s gone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. On the other hand, if you lose a credit card or have it stolen, you can cancel it, and if someone used it, you usually aren’t responsible for the charges.

Many credit cards also offer you rewards for using them. You might get cash back, airline miles, hotel points or some other perk. This essentially means that your purchases cost less when you use credit cards.

On the other hand, there are plenty of drawbacks to credit cards. For one thing, you are much more likely to be subject to identity theft when using a credit card to pay for something, especially online. Of the approximately 16.7 million cases of identity fraud in 2017, nearly 17% of them involved credit cards. It’s very easy to have a credit card number stolen by someone who has access to your card, such as a waiter.

Another drawback to credit cards is the ease with which they can get you into debt. When you pay for things with cash out of your thin wallet, you are limited in what you can spend. You can’t spend beyond your means. With credit cards, it’s very easy to spend money you don’t have. Then that over-spending gets compounded when you don’t pay the money back right away, because you get charged interest, which means you wind up paying more for the items you bought.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of credit cards and cash and decide which one is right for you in what situations. Sometimes it’s better to use the credit card wallet, while other times it might be better to use the regular wallet.

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