There are some security benefits to shopping with a credit card and this could influence you as a factor for getting one. There are pros and cons to getting a credit card though and it is important to weigh these up so that you are sure that you are making the right decision for you. Sometimes the advantages may not be worth it, depending on how you see yourself using the card and how much it will potentially cost you.
Security of a credit card
A credit card can be a more secure way to pay for things both offline and online. This is because there is an insurance on the card and so if you do not receive the goods that you paid for and they are faulty you can get the money back through the card issuer. You will need to raise a query with the person you are buying form first but if you have no success with this than the card holder will normally take it over and reimburse you with the money that you spent.
It is also a more secure way of buying things online due to the anti-fraud measures that are in place. If spending takes place that is seen as suspicious the card will be blocked to protect you against money being stolen. If some one gets hold of your card number and uses it online, then you will be able to let the fraud department know and they will reimburse the money you lost. This does not happen with a debit card.
You may feel that this additional security is well worth it and you want to get a card for this purpose. There are other ways to make sure that transactions are more secure such as using a third party like Paypal to make payments through, although not all companies will accept payments from them.
Problems with a credit card
It is really important to bear in mind that credit cards can be really expensive. If you do not repay what you have spent on it when your statement arrives then you will end up paying interest on it and that could be expensive, particularly if you do not repay it for a long time and you end being charged months and months of interest.
A credit card can also be very tempting. Knowing that you have this money might make you decide that you will go on a big shopping spree and treat yourself to lots of things. Then, as you do not have to repay it all, you make minimum repayments over a very long time until it is repaid. Or you may continue to use the card and it is never repaid. It is very hard to keep track of how much interest you have paid in total as you only get told monthly how much you owe and you pay it off each month. If you take that figure and multiply it by 12 you will see how much you are paying a year and this may be enough to make you realise that not paying off the card is costing you a significant amount of money. It is best not to get out of control with your spending so that you are not in this situation.
How to make a decision
A credit card can therefore be very useful as it can help you to make purchases more securely and give you peace of mind when you are buying items online and are not sure whether they will actually arrive or not. However, if you feel that having the card might tempt you to be reckless and spend more money than you can afford then it might be better to avoid getting one. You might be able to find different methods to make sure that your payments are secure and protected, such as using trusted sites that are secure which have good reviews. You could also just buy in stores offline rather than paying for things online, although many people do like the fact that they can get more competitive prices and a bigger range if they shop online. If you are happy that you will pay off your card each month in full and will not spend more than you need to then it could be something that you could take advantage of. If you feel worried about having a card but want the security of being able to use it online then you could always just keep it at home for using online and not take it out with you when you are shopping at stores. This would limit how much you will be able to use it and could give you more reassurance that you will not overspend on it and that you will be able to afford the repayments.