10 big reasons why I love (and hate) credit cards
Editor's note: This article originally ran on the personal finance blog Len Penzo dot com. It has been reprinted here with permission.
The other day I overheard a couple of nice ladies going on and on about why they loved, loved, LOVED their credit cards.
And let me tell you, they really loved them.
At first, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Like most people, I have a few credit cards in my wallet — but I typically don’t go around extolling the virtues of them to my friends.
You know, the more I think about it, the fact is there are a lot of things I like about credit cards too. Then again, there’s stuff I dislike about credit cards. And why not? After all, credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages.
So to prove it, I compiled this list of 10 reasons why I love — and hate — my credit cards. How does it compare with yours?
10 Big Reasons Why I LOVE My Credit Cards
10. With a little practice, a credit card provides a fail-safe back-up for opening the office door on mornings when I forget my key.
9. The small print on the back side of my credit cards makes for an awesome Scrabble cheat sheet. (Okay, this one is a stretch — especially now that I find myself needing “cheaters” to read.)
8. I can get my interest charges waived on the rare occasions that I forget to make my credit card payments on time.
7. If I lose a credit card, I can usually call and get a replacement within 24 hours. (Don’t try calling the US Treasury for a replacement if you lose a $100 bill.)
6. Because I use credit cards for almost everything I buy, my credit card companies act as a very effective de facto expense-tracking service for me.
5. The consumer protections offered by credit cards are like having a big brother at my side every time I make a purchase.
4. As a victim of two armed robberies, I appreciate that my credit cards allow me to shop for big-ticket items without having to carry big wads of cash.
3. When it comes to online purchases, credit cards and the Internet are a match made in heaven.
2. When used responsibly, credit cards help build my credit score — and that ensures my continued eligibility for the best long-term loan deals.
1. Many credit cards offer rewards just for using the card; I estimate that I’ve earned well over $5000 in cash and other perks since 2005 — and that’s the easiest money I’ve ever made!
10 Big Reasons Why I Absolutely HATE My Credit Cards
10. After two decades of loyalty, none of my credit card issuers have ever made me their “Customer of the Month.”
9. Even though credit cards can be quickly replaced when lost or stolen, it’s still a pain when you have to update your new credit card number at multiple websites.
8. They’re ugly. (Yes, this is another stretch. No, I don’t have one of those cards with my face on the front of it.)
7. Credit card numbers are too long and, therefore, hard to remember.
6. I occasionally call my credit card customer service departments to request a shorter number — like, say, “6″ — but they always refuse.
5. The annual cash dividend payouts are typically limited to $300.
4. Their terms and conditions change more frequently than Denny’s changes their soup du jour …
3. … and it often helps to have a lawyer on hand to decipher those terms and conditions.
2. Despite my high credit rating and proven track record of always paying off my creditors, I’m still subjected to absurdly high interest rates approaching 30%.
1. My credit card companies never fail to send me the monthly bill.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some shopping to do. Yes, I’ll be using a credit card; but, as always, I’ll also be paying off the full balance at the end of the month to avoid paying those onerous interest charges.
Of course, you know what that means: There goes yet another chance of me winning their “Customer of the Month” award.
Len Penzo is a personal finance blogger with a strong disdain for debt. His blog, Len Penzo dot com, has been featured as one of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best Money Blogs in 2010 and 2012.