Should you get a credit card?

They ‘reward’ you by giving you an interest free period on your purchases,

Credit Card companies also earn a small % of all transactions as a fee though its less than it used to be. I imagine most would actually prefer customers who pay in full most of the time (the majority) as those are lower risk customers for them.

I’ve just done the same thing with AMEX. Got a cashback credit card with fixed 9.9% for the membership points but with a month of spending (~£900) it’s the equivalent of about £3.85 in rewards. I love the idea of getting a little something back, but unless you’re really churning your life through it, it’s going to take an insane amount of time to be rewarded with a free hotel night, let alone flights, so I think I’m just going to stick with my Monzo budgeting/overall spend notifications instead and keep the AMEX as my emergency credit card - it’s half the interest rate of most of my high street bank cards.

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What card do you have??

I have the Gold card and earned 100,000pts last year (admittedly not all through spend, some offers, referrals etc.) And that’s worth ~£500.

Even on the free Platinum cashback card I’m sure you get 1% back.

Just the regular rewards credit card. Didn’t want an annual fee card as I won’t use it enough to justify the charge.

That’s good going though, I’ve got 896 this month :see_no_evil:

I’ve had the free plat cashback card for a year, putting all my spending I could through it. I’ve racked up about £120 in cashback and it appears to me that my score has improved quite a bit.

I’m now switching to a Gold but I don’t think I’d ever use their benefits so it wouldn’t justify the fee. Might cancel after a year and go for the free points card?

Any clue on the ballpark annual spend that you put the card through to get around £500 worth of points?

In general you get 1 point per £1 spent so if you spend £100k you get (at least) 100,000 points.

But some transactions reward you with 2 or 3 points per £1 spent (foreign currency transactions, airline ticket purchases, and Amex travel site purchases) and and you get bonuses for meeting certain spending thresholds as well as referring others. So I imagine people who accumulate 100,000 points will generally do it with a far lower spend than £100k

For example:
Sign up via a referral bonus and spend at least £3,000 in first 3 months: 12,000 point bonus
Spend at least £15,000 in 12 months: 10,000 point bonus
Refer 8 friends: 8 x 6,000 = 48,000 bonus points (can earn up to 90,000 per year this way).
£5k in flights purchased direct from airlines = 10,000 points
£20k in general spending = 20,000 points
Total = 100,000 points.

Amex have reduced their bonus rates in the last few months so someone using the card 12 months ago would have benefited from more generous bonuses than used in example above.

The £500 per 100,000 points comes from the value of each point if converting to gift cards or some other forms of pseudo-cash.

But points can be worth more if converting to airline miles or hotel points so can get £500 worth of these types of rewards with less points.

I personally regret taking out my credit cards. I took them out to help build some credit, but due to a few too many nights out on the town I’ve actually damaged my credit slightly by using too much of my available limit.

As useful as they may be, I suggest ONLY opening a credit card if you can trust yourself to use them responsibly. For young adults looking to start building a credit profile, they can be very useful in terms of opening up better and more credit options in the future.

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I too think credit cards can be extremely dangerous. They need to be handled with complete discipline… It’s all too easy to let them run out of control.

I keep a Barclaycard in a drawer - and have it for emergencies. I have been trying to get my wife to save with me (she wants a bigger house - only way is to save), but she has been extremely reluctant too. I then discover she had a 10k loan at 12% (an insane rate - especially as she has an excellent credit rating) from before we were married…

Barclaycard offered me 0% for 16 months with a 2% fee - so I stuck the 10k on it. Will have it paid off within 6 months.

This is the cheapest “loan” I could get - however, if we don’t pay it off in time it will be the most expensive. This is where credit cards are dangerous.

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I use my credit cards for large purchases or purchasing online as it’s not my money or if I am paying for work expenses.

I agree they can be dangerous and I learnt that the hard way and it took years to fix my credit record.

However these days I feel it’s a wise choice to have one, unless you’ve 3 months wages in the bank. It gives you cover for unexpected purchases or repairs etc.

Just be prudent, always pay more than the minimum, try not to spend more than 75% of the limit, don’t ever max it and if you’re close to the limit, don’t apply for another one. And finally keep the number of full credit applications low.

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I buy virtually everything on my credit card for the added protection and for reward points. I pay it off every month and I never spend more than I have backed up in my savings pots to cover it.

In the past I have had two cases of fraud on a current account with HSBC (years apart) and it took ages to get the money back. This has never happened to me on a credit card, I am not saying it cant happen, its just my experience!

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