I don't like credit cards. Many smart people — including my wife — use them wisely and never have problems. I'm not one of those people. Most of my money woes stem from credit card debt acquired when I was first out of college. Eventually I wised up — I have not carried a personal credit card in more than five years.
I have not used a credit card in over two years. So far, I have yet to find myself in a situation where I had to use my credit card. (I still have one, active, credit card account. I keep my card tucked away in my wallet. I'm not sure it actually works anymore. I do not plan to find out.) I do not advocate closing credit card accounts. I have an account that is open and in good standing. I just don't use it. What have I learned about NOT using my credit card?
Among the lessons NCN has learned:
- Spending cash hurts more than swiping a card.
- If you don't use your card, you don't get a bill.
- He doesn't care about missing cash-back bonuses or card rewards.
- He can use a debit card in nearly every place a credit card would work (including car rentals and hotel reservations).
I, too, have suffered no adverse effects from giving up personal credit cards. It helps, of course, that I use a debit card. I also carry a couple of business credit cards, but I have no problem using them responsibly. Business is business, and is completely separate from my personal life.
I'll admit that I've considered trying to use credit cards once more now that I seem to have developed a solid understanding of personal finance. Ultimately, however, I've decided the rewards are minimal and the risks too great. For now, I'm credit card-free and proud of it.
[No Credit Needed: I Do Not Use Credit Cards]