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Is there any positive financial reason to charge a credit card other than to raise my score?

Yes. Credit cards when used correctly (i.e. paying the entire balance off monthly) can give you incredible benefits. These include:

Credit cards offer more protection giving you greater control over your money.

  • Debit cards are riskier than credit cards. Money that is taken from checking accounts can be immediately withdrawn. Until the investigation gets resolved you don’t have access to that money. It could take weeks for your bank to resolve the issue and meanwhile, you may not be able to make other payments like mortgage, car, or student loan payments while you wait. If you notify your bank before charges hit your account you aren’t liable for the charges. You can be responsible for up to $50 of unauthorized charges if you notice the charges and tell your bank of the loss within two business days of the loss. The longer you wait the greater the charge (up to $500 between notifying your bank from 2-60 days). Longer than 60 means you’re potentially responsible for all the charges.
  • Credit cards are protected from both fraud and the Fair Credit Billing Act. So If your card is physically stolen then you may be responsible for up to $50 in fraudulent charges however if you report it stolen before any charges are made there is no charge. If you’re still in possession of your credit card and the data is stolen from the card then you’re not responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Credit Cards earn rewards

  • From airline miles, cashback, perks at restaurants and bars, sign up rewards, etc. If you’re disciplined and pay your entire balance off each month then you can avoid fees and interest charges while accumulating additional benefits for money you’d already be spending.
  • Debit cards typically don’t offer rewards.

Build Credit History

  • Not only is your score important but your history is as well. The longer you can show you are disciplined with your credit cards the better it is for you when you need credit.
  • Debit cards don’t affect your credit score.

Travel & Purchase Protection

  • Trip delay insurance covers costs for things like hotels, clothing, food, and toiletries for up to $500 per person if your flight or other travel is delayed overnight or >12 hours.
  • Purchase protection covers you up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account for something you buy that is damaged, lost, or stolen. Some credit cards offer you extended warranties as well for an extra year of coverage on eligible purchases that come with the manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less.
  • Debit cards don’t offer these benefits.

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