There are very few things that are as ubiquitous as the credit card. This little rectangle of plastic can give us so much convenience, but to the unwary can also bring so much misery. Credit cards may be the easiest way to get a standby line of revolving credit, always available when you need it, but it can also be the fastest way to get mired in credit card debt. People may complain about credit card debt but everyone agrees that despite the risks, there are too many drawbacks to not having a credit card.
Credit cards as we know them today are relatively new and are continuously evolving. The major laws protecting consumers rights involving credit were passed in the mid-seventies. It may be timely that Congress is currently considering added measures to enhance consumer protection. Yet, for a long time, people were using credit cards as a convenience product rather than as loans. Many people paid their entire balance each month. Credit cards were not as essential then as they are now.
Banks do not make money if people did not carry balances since a grace period for purchases, where no interest is charged for one month, is usually standard. As far as banks are concerned, the best credit card customer is one who carries a balance each month after remitting the minimum payment on time. Credit card issuers got really creative and have managed to make credit cards a necessary part of daily living. They worked to have credit cards accepted in more and more establishments, and to have credit card holders understand the many benefits and conveniences that they stood to gain from using their credit cards.
In our times, credit cards no longer a luxury. If you travel, you need your credit card to book flight reservations and reserve hotel rooms. You also need credit cards to rent cars, to purchase gas, and buy products by telephone or online. Being without credit cards today would make your life as difficult as traveling by horse and buggy. Without our even being aware of it, credit cards have become a business standard.
A credit card is one of the quickest ways to build a credit history. When you apply for a credit card and you still have no history, there are credit card issuers that you can approach. These issuers specialize in providing credit card products to customers who, because they are still attempting to establish or expand their credit history, are generally evaluated as higher credit risks. Many college students, for example, fall into this category, along with those who have limited employment income, or otherwise have poor credit history.
Today, having credit is a necessity. An inexpensive, reliable new car costs thousands of dollars, and although most people may want to pay in cash, the reality is they will need a loan. The rates and terms of that loan will be determined by your credit history, which is easily obtainable from the credit bureaus throughout the country. If you have used credit wisely in the past and repaid previous loans on time, you will be in a favorable position. If not, the result will be a more costly loan with higher interest rates.