There are some situations when it’s advisable to pay for something with a credit card, rather than cash, check, or debit.
Nowadays, it’s often easier to pay for a purchase with a debit or credit card than with cash. In fact, some of us rarely even keep cash on hand, because there are very few cases when it’s absolutely necessary.
Some pundits deplore this practice, not just because it’s pulling us away from our roots (progress tends to do that) but because, they say, it isolates us even farther from the value of money. You might be surprised to learn that we don’t believe that.
A Realistic Viewpoint
It makes no sense to hide your head in the sand when faced with economic realities. The gold standard is long gone, and the currency standard is dying; it was an illusion anyway, since most currency is worth only what the issuing government says it is.
The electronic economy is proving inevitable, relatively painless. And the truth is, there are situations when a credit card purchase is simply the best way to pay for something.
Needless to say, as a savvy consumer you’ll need to find a credit card with the lowest possible fees and finance charges, and pay your bills promptly and in advance to avoid those atrocious late fees the issuers love to charge.
If you can get an awards card, all the better. Even a few percent cash back, or loyalty rewards at an electronics store, can help you save a little money in the long run.
The Dispute Issue
There are lots of reasons you might pay for something with a credit card; convenience, the ability to spread out the payments, and payment consolidation are just a few. But the best reason is so that if something goes wrong, you can dispute the charge with the credit card company.
If you don’t receive something you’ve ordered online, or it arrives damaged, or you try to return something to a shop and they won’t take it back, contact the issuer to dispute the charge. The card company will mediate the credit card dispute with the seller, and you may well get your money back.
What To Charge
These days, it’s tough to even rent a car without a credit card. Hotel reservations also generally require a credit card; and it’s easiest to just pay both with the card, because it requires less hassle.
You should also pay for online purchases and anything that requires an upfront deposit with a credit card, especially home or business improvement projects. Scammers love to demand cash deposits before absconding with the funds, which you’re never likely to see again.
In either case, if you pay with a credit card, you’ll be able to dispute the fee and probably recoup what you’ve lost… eventually.