Living Without a Credit Card

Could You Live Without a Credit Card? It was an article on Yahoo! Finance written by Daniel Bortz that immediately caught my attention. Really now! I thought. Of course you can live without a credit card!

Despite the eye-catching title, the article was more about the growing number of people who are living without a credit card, and some of the problems that they could encounter. I’ve been credit card free since 2009. Is it possible? Yes. Especially if you have a checking account with a debit card.The common arguments about the inconveniences of not having a credit card, that you can’t rent a car, or book a hotel, can usually be overcome with a debit card. I’ve booked hotels in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania with my debit card, all without issue. I’ve also rented vehicles in a variety of states without issue, although always at an airport location. My sister and her boyfriend did run into issues trying to rent a vehicle with a debit card at a non-airport location. In the end, they were limited to a certain type of vehicle, and had to pay an additional deposit. I’ve never encountered this at airport rental locations.

I’ve talked before about preferring to keep my spending money in cash. For me, having a visible limit works better. Just by opening my wallet I know how much money I can spend, and how much I’ve already spent. I can’t spend what isn’t there. Others find they spend less when using a credit card. The ease of tracking credit card spending makes some people feel more accountable for where their money is going, which they find causes them to spend less. It’s really just about knowing yourself and your spending habits, and making adjustments from there.

For my day-to-day life, I don’t need a credit card. I also have an emergency fund, so there aren’t any “in case of emergency” reasons for a credit card. But I honestly have been considering if the time has come for me to get a new credit card. Why? My credit score. It’s been incredibly hard to rebuild my credit score without a credit card. Why do I care about my credit score? First off, I’ll probably need to buy another car in the not so distant future. I’m hoping to be able to do so without a loan, by purchasing an affordable used vehicle. But a lot of that will depend on the when, and what’s available. But even if you don’t plan on getting a loan for a home or vehicle, your credit score is still important. It’s used by insurance companies to figure your rates. Apartments in rental considerations. New employers in hiring decisions. There’s no denying that a credit score is important.

If I do decide to get a credit card, I won’t be using it for daily expenses. I would probably use it for some of my monthly recurring expenses, with an automatic monthly payoff. That way I could grow my credit score, and wouldn’t have to do much more than some routine monitoring.I definitely wouldn’t carry a balance. I haven’t decided one way or the other, but it’s definitely something to consider.

– Cindy W.

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