10 reasons I use a credit card

This post is a response to Money Saving Mom’s 4 reasons I use cash instead of credit cards.

1. I am not a child

I understand that if I don’t pay my balance in full every month (after the promotional period ends), I’ll be forking over usurious amounts in interest. I understand that my credit card isn’t “free money.”

2. It’s convenient

I do not need to fuss with counting out dirty bills (especially not into precious individual envelopes, according to my permitted spending categories for the week). I don’t need to fumble with anyone’s ass pennies. I save everyone time with each purchase I make. Have you ever tried to spend cash online? How does that work? Call customer service and ask if they accept envelopes of cash in the mail?

3. Bonus points/perks

  • Amazon Visa = 3% cash back on amazon.com purchases, 1% elsewhere
  • Capital One = No foreign transaction fees
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards = 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, 1% elsewhere
  • United = travel points and free luggage

Those are just a handful that I’ve heard of. With cash, there’s no cashback. Ironic? Or…

4. Accountability

I can’t keep track of cash. In part a willful amnesia, I’m sure. Has this never happened to you? $20 disappears from my wallet and I have no idea where it went. Probably Starbucks, bubble tea or light-up cell phone accessories from a street vendor. But when I use a credit card, the bill comes and I’m forced to face the evidence that I’ve been buying embarrassing amounts of frilly underpants and fountain pens. Mint.com tells me the same thing. If I can’t face what I’ve done at least twice more, I just won’t buy whatever-it-is.

5. Circumventing the homeless

I can honestly tell panhandlers “I don’t carry cash”.

6. I lose things all the time

If I lost my wallet, I’d probably never see whatever cash was in it ever again. The last time my credit card was used fraudulently, I didn’t even know. The credit card company called ME to verify that the charges weren’t authorized, canceled my card, sent me a new one and I was never charged a cent. If I lost my wallet and someone used my cards, I wouldn’t be responsible for those charges either.

7. I love Mint.com

Keeping track of purchases is trivial with credit cards linked to a Mint.com account. With cash I’d have to keep receipts and record every purchase manually.  You know, like in the Dark Ages.

8. No need for currency exchange

I have a sad jar of foreign money in my childhood bedroom. It has a few hundred Hungarian Forints, a $5 from Australia, a pound or two, some Canadian pennies and maybe a few hundred Taiwanese Yuan. It’s sweet if you’re sentimental about monetary instruments, but I just feel sorry for the poor little things. They’re not fulfilling their life’s purpose in that cruel captivity. No such issues when using credit cards abroad! My collection has not grown since I’ve become dependent on credit cards.

9. No trips to the bank

Never. Never ever. I don’t have to figure out how much cash I need from now until the next time I want to go to a bank. I will never be just $1 short of my purchase and have to go across town or pay a $3 ATM fee + a $3 fee from my own bank. I don’t have to remember my PIN or feel nervous about the lurker behind me at the ATM.

10. It is impossible for me to overspend

My credit card score must be quite low, because the combined limits on all my credit cards total to less than half of my net worth. They’re all credit cards for babies. Highly recommended! Lust as I may over the Montblanc Boheme Skeleton (only kidding — so gauche, I know), I couldn’t buy it even if I put all of my cards all in.

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