Credit gives a number of benefits you don’t get when paying with cash or checks:

  • Convenient, hassle-free shopping. When you use a credit card to make a purchase, you don’t have to carry a lot of cash, pay by check, or present additional identification. A credit card also simplifies and speeds up catalog ordering and currently is virtually the only way to make Internet purchases. 

  • Emergency protection. Credit cards are the ultimate financial security blanket. They can get you through nearly any emergency situation. 

  • Easier budgeting. With a credit card, you can make purchases and pay them off on a schedule that fits your budget. Credit cards also allow you to take advantage of sales and special offers. 

  • Security. If you lose cash, it can be used by anyone. If you lose a credit card and report the loss to the card’s issuer before it is used, the issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your card before you report it missing, the most you will owe is $50. 

  • Travel expenses. You’ll find that a credit card is almost essential for renting a car, purchasing an airplane ticket, or booking a hotel room. Whether you’re across town or on another continent, a credit card is the universal guarantee of your good financial standing. And if you need cash, you can get it at ATMs or banks around the world that accept your credit card.