There's a misconception that financially responsible people should avoid credit cards. When used correctly, a credit card can be a wonderful thing.
It's true that being in debt is a bad thing, but the reason why credit cards are often criticized is that first-time borrowers are charged as much as 25% interest. Paying the minimum payment each month makes it impossible to get out of debt.
As long as you don't go crazy with credit cards, they can seriously pay off in the long run. Here are all of the benefits of having some plastic in your wallet.
1. It builds your credit history
If you ever plan to apply for a mortgage or car loan one day, you're going to want to build a healthy credit history. Unfortunately, you won't get a credit score unless you borrow money, but many lenders won't lend you any money without a credit score.
To give you a mortgage, banks will want to see at least five years of established credit history, and you are far more likely to be accepted once you hit the 10-year mark. This means that you probably need to get a credit card now to be able to build your credit score high enough to qualify for a mortgage in your 30s.
I turned 18 in the summer of 2007, and it was easy for me to get my first credit card with a part-time job and zero credit score. I used it to purchase my college textbooks, and two years later, when I moved out, I had enough established credit to take out a Target store card to buy the things I needed.
The best option to start building your credit is to get a secured credit card. These cards have an annual fee and require you to give the bank money to hold as collateral.
After using this credit card and paying it off like a normal card for a while, you will have shown the bank that you are responsible and will have built a starting credit score. At this point you can get your deposit money back and apply for a regular credit card.
The goal with these beginner cards is to pay down your balance and move on to bigger and better things.