I have a financial confession to make. Even though I had $100,000 in credit card debt back in the early 2000s, I still use credit cards a lot, for everything from online shopping and utility payments to gas for my car and meal-delivery services.
Why would someone with a history of being heavily in debt still have a wallet full of credit cards and use them so frequently?
I see credit cards as a tool, not inherently evil or bad. (By the way, about my past debts, I paid them all off in three years, and I never missed a single payment. I even wrote a book, Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom, about all the strategies I used to conquer my debt, and it became a New York Times best seller.)
I’ve also learned plenty about when it’s smart to use a credit card — and when you shouldn’t.
Here are four reasons using credit is better than whipping out a debit card.
Boost your credit rating
Credit scores range from 300 to 850 points. The higher your score the better, since great credit helps with everything from getting certain jobs to obtaining mortgages.
Unfortunately, the Urban Institute reports that only 21 percent of Black households have credit scores above 700. Additionally, 33 percent of Black households have “thin” credit files or no credit score at all. (Editor’s note: New research from The American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality also shows that credit scores are one of the top three financial priorities for Black women).
Using a credit card is one key way you establish and build your credit rating. In fact, paying your credit card bill on time each month increases your credit score. But that doesn’t happen when you use a debit card, because those purchases aren’t factored into credit scores. Continue reading on Sisters.