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Is it ever a good idea to get a credit card?

(43 Posts)
SapphireSeptember Tue 10-Jan-17 22:00:44

We had the Vanquis people hanging around outside where I work today, and they got me good. Still don't technically have a credit card as I asked them to phone me back tomorrow. (You need a fucking microscope and a degree to read the terms and conditions leaflet, I've had better luck reading the ingredients on tiny lipstick boxes!)

But as I found out today my credit score is really low, because at the age of 28 I've never had a loan or a credit card, because I want to be sensible! I've seen my parents get into debt through getting loans and credit cards, when I first got a job my now husband was unemployed, so I ended up paying off his credit card debt, and to be quite honest, I don't trust myself with a credit card!

ceeveebee Tue 10-Jan-17 22:02:53

I have a couple of cards - I pay the balance off in full every month. I use them for everything so rarely draw money out of the bank, and I like it because I can see in one place what I'm spending, and also earn cash back - probably around £30 a month

FatimaLovesBread Tue 10-Jan-17 22:03:22

I've got 2 credit cards. One to service a small debt at 0%, one that I pay off in full every month.
I wouldn't get a vanquis though. I'd look at someone like Barclaycard that have a long interest free offer when opening.

soundsystem Tue 10-Jan-17 22:04:57

Definitely worth it to build up credit. I was the same as you, never really had any sort of credit - other than a mobile phone contract - and it was an issue when I came to think about getting a mortgage.

It's definitely worth getting one and paying it off in full each month to build up some sort of credit history. Plus there are some with good offers like cash back/air miles that can earn/save you money as well.

YesThisIsMe Tue 10-Jan-17 22:05:27

You have to know yourself. If you have total control of your money's use a credit card to buy things that you were going to buy anyway, that you know you could pay cash for, and you pay it off in full as soon as you get the bill (e.g. by direct debit) then it is a genuinely good tool. You'll get extra legal protection for larger purchases (it's a quirk of English credit law), you might get cash back depending on the card, and you'll build your credit rating.

If you think you'll be tempted by the mere fact that you possess it into buying stuff you can't afford then yes it can be dangerous.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Jan-17 22:08:40

I use mine purely as a charge card - pay it off in full at the end of each month. I like the facility of being able to use them so easily on the net and also the purchase protection they give you. I could also have a much lower limit than they've given me if I wanted.

I suspect that having one, managed well, would also raise your credit score somewhat after a bit. I definitely wouldn't get anything via someone hanging around outside, though.

Bragadocia Tue 10-Jan-17 22:09:00

I have a credit card, which I seldom use, as the advantage of credit over debit cards is that you have much better protection when making purchases requiring delivery (if a company goes bust after you place an order, the Consumer Credit Act means that Barclaycard lose the money paid, not the customer). Loads of people use them that way, and pay it off in full each month.

Heratnumber7 Tue 10-Jan-17 22:09:19

Credit cards are the work of the devil. If you get one, never, ever use it to buy something you can't afford.

Ginmakesitallok Tue 10-Jan-17 22:09:48

I've got 3. 2 are on a £0 balance - one's on about £2000, Which I'll swap to a 0% on one of the others next week to pay off in the next year. Always useful to have access to unearned money - as long as there is a way to pay it off affordabily

tribpot Tue 10-Jan-17 22:11:31

You can check your eligibility for a credit card at the MoneySavingExpert site - this prevents a failed credit search from being recorded against your history. There's no need to use a 'bad credit' card (i.e. a card intended for someone with bad credit) unless you have to.

I use my cards reasonably frequently - partly for cashback, partly for business expenses as it's easier to manage the cashflow. I have them set to repay in full every month and quite often I will pay them off during the month as well, just to keep everything up-to-date. You can pay off your cards every day if you want to.

You can read about some of the other benefits of careful use of credit cards here - there are consumer protections as well.

If you do get a card, you may be offered a low credit limit anyway but if you aren't, you could always ask for it to be lowered to something you feel more comfortable with. Just remember it's all debt from the moment you spend on it - and ideally don't spend anything on it you can't instantly pay off.

You mention paying off your DH's credit card debt. Does he have a card now?

Ohyesiam Tue 10-Jan-17 22:12:53

I only use mine to but stuff on line, then it is insured. Post of the balance every month.

TrustySnail Tue 10-Jan-17 22:12:54

Yes, because you can benefit from the Consumer Credit Act - if you're buying something for more than £100, if you use your card (even just in part payment) you are protected against the goods being unfit for purpose, seller going bust and so forth.

My advice would be never to borrow on it, unless it's a real emergency - just pay it off in full each month, which will build your credit score.

NannyR Tue 10-Jan-17 22:13:40

I have a credit card that I use for everyday expenses, food, petrol, online purchases etc. It gets paid off in full every month, I've never paid a penny of interest on it. I also get cash back from it.

I used one two years ago to help me buy a car instead of using the dealership finance. I got one that had an interest free period for two years and just paid off each month what I would have been paying the car finance company, just without the fees and interest.

Having a credit card, using it regularly and paying it off actually improves your credit rating. You also need one for things like hiring a car, it's quite difficult to do that on a debit card.

Crumbs1 Tue 10-Jan-17 22:13:54

I don't think,they are credit cards - the are debt cards. My view has always been if you can't afford it, don't buy it. That's hard and I understand some people are disciplined enough to move money around and profit from clever accounting but still think they lead to misery, avarice and a sense of entitlement.

afromom Tue 10-Jan-17 22:14:22

We use ours for large purchases like holidays, paying for things abroad, white goods etc. I have online banking with it, so we then go online straight away and pay it off. I don't wait until end of the month in case I'm tempted to spend more and can't afford to pay it all back. It also offers a bit of security for if we ever needed it.

SheepyFun Tue 10-Jan-17 22:17:30

I have one for overseas travel (which I haven't done since DD was born, so it's not a frequent occurrence) - it means I have another way of getting hold of money if necessary (e.g. if another card was declined). But I don't use it in this country. Others' advice about using one and paying it off every month is good if you want to improve your credit score.

Oblomov16 Tue 10-Jan-17 22:19:51

Yes they have benefits. Great for credit rating though. Pay mine off in full each month.

PickAChew Tue 10-Jan-17 22:23:20

I have a card that I always pay off in full and I earn cashback on it.

So long as you don't fall into the deluded mindset that it's free money that you don't have to keep track of, it's perfectly fine to have a credit card.

Some offer added warranty cover for large purchases, too.

eurochick Tue 10-Jan-17 22:33:19

I also pay mine off in full every month. They are useful because they offer some protection on purchases. They also let me keep track of how much I am spending. I put day to day essentials (travel, petrol, lunches) on my debit card or pay cash; clothes, homewares and other big ticket items go on the credit card.

SapphireSeptember Wed 11-Jan-17 08:52:25

To the person who asked if my DH had a credit card now, no he doesn't. He does have a job now.

There's some good advice on here, and even though I think Vanquis are dodgy the way they hang around they have very good reviews on trustpilot. Though I'd rather get one from the bank I'm with already.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 11-Jan-17 09:55:31

Vanquis are fine as long as you pay them off in full every month. They are easier to get if you have a poor or non existent credit record and cost nothing if you use them this way so it doesn't matter that the interest rate is higher than other cards.

I currently have several credit cards that earn me money through cashback and borrowing at 0% interest while getting up to 5% on savings - you have to be disciplined and if you aren't you can get into a mess. I also have a card that means I get the bank rate when taking out cash abroad, which is cheaper than using bureaux de change.

I also put almost all my spending on my credit card, which has the added advantage that the current account isn't really touched during the month so I only have to look once a month to check that there is enough money in to pay the coming month's direct debits, which includes the credit card bill, which I just treat as another bill - if you are using your current account to pay for food, petrol and general spending, you would have a a harder time keeping track on money available for direct debits?

If you have no credit record, you might find it hard to get a mortgage, mobile phone contract or other essential credit, so it's always a good idea to have at least one and use it responsibly.

tribpot Wed 11-Jan-17 09:58:55

I'd check your eligibility first on the Money Saving Expert website and then you'll know whether you will need to use a firm like Vanquis if you do need a credit card, or if you can shop around for one with better fringe benefits like cashback - or the convenience of one from your own bank.

Fuckityhi Wed 11-Jan-17 10:03:11

I have three credit cards. Two are never used unless an emergency. The other I lightly use and pay off each month to built up my credit score/keep it good.

misscph1973 Wed 11-Jan-17 10:14:45

I had a credit card when I was young, and I didn't handle it very well. But now I am older and earn more, so I recently got a credit card, and I have been very sensible, I only use it for petrol and meals out, I pay it off in full every month, and I stay well below the max. I got it because I wanted a good credit history and it's quite useful as a backup.

My view is that it is much easier to handle a credit card if you have a good income. When I was young and poor it was not a good idea.

NotCitrus Wed 11-Jan-17 10:16:24

Definitely avoid firms like Vanquis. I use my credit card for everything as I get 1-2% back in vouchers I use (not bad getting a couple free weekly shops a year), and pay it off by direct debit each month.

And the consumer protection is great - I've had half a dozen refunds sorted within a day of phoning, when firms have tried to refuse. And the time I ordered some DVDs from a fake company and they cancelled my payment before I even knew, so I got the perfectly-functional DVDs free!

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