Prior to the coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 emergency, the prevailing wisdom among most financial experts was that Americans would be far better off putting the breaks on credit card use.
After all, credit card bills can come with double-digit interest rates. Additionally, the lure of plastic is just too tempting for some people, causing them to overspend.
While credit cards do have their disadvantages, they’ve also proven to be a financial lifeline to many individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Given this reality, it’s wise to know when it’s actually fine to use credit cards amid the current economic uncertainty.
Below are four occasions when using a credit card during the COVID-19 pandemic may be to your benefit.
Utilities – If You have a Rewards Card
Paying your utility costs with a credit card helps ensure that vital services stay connected, and that you have no service lapses to power your residence during the pandemic.
Depending on the credit card you have, you can rack up rewards points or receive cash back based on your utility expenses paid with a credit card. Some credit card options offer cash back without an annual fee, while others provide two percent cash back on each purchase. These perks can add up if you are paying more for utilities every month.
Since more people are working remotely and staying indoors to adhere to social distancing requirements or stay-at-home orders, it’s natural that utility costs will rise.
Take a look at your energy costs, including gas, electric, and water, along with things like Internet service and more.. This credit card perk can be a bonus since it’s tied to spending you were going to do anyway.
Online Shopping Items
Whether you are shopping for clothes, electronics, or takeout, buying goods and services online is becoming the norm due to COVID-19. Additionally, using a credit card for online shopping during COVID-19 can make transactions more straightforward and protect you from fraud.
Most credit card companies allow you to dispute charges and seek resolution through the company if fraud has occurred. No one wants to deal with the fallout of a fraudulent charge alone, especially during a pandemic, and using a credit card during COVID-19 to purchase items online can prevent this.
Most of us are not going to step foot on a plane or plan a vacation for a while. Nevertheless, if you need to travel for work or have to make an urgent trip to visit a family member, it helps to use your credit card for expenses. Not only can it add points to a rewards program, but it can also protect you in the event you have to cancel your trip. Many credit card companies offer secondary travel insurance, which is incredibly useful as travel restrictions are constantly changing due to the outbreak.
Use Wisdom With Credit Cards During This COVID-19 Crisis
Again, credit cards are a tool — and not something to be used haphazardly.
However, knowing when to use the plastic in your wallet can help you if you use those cards strategically during this pandemic, or you just want to receive other benefits for your spending.
Credit cards can offer fraud protection, insurance options, and numerous ways to receive cash back on purchases. These perks can come in handy during a time when we are buying more things from home.
For more help related to COVID-19, please take a look at our current articles and videos.