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It’s nearly impossible to get through life without a credit card nowadays. Whether you want to purchase concert tickets online or just need to fill your gas tank and you’re in a hurry, plastic is the way to go.

However, choosing between paying cash/using your debit card and using credit can be tricky. It is often tempting to just “throw that purchase on a credit card” and worry about paying for it later.

But that can get you into trouble quickly. Let’s think about some of the pros and cons associated with choosing a credit card over cash or your debit option:
Pros Cons
Low-limit credit cards are usually easy to get (you may need a cosigner if you haven’t already established credit somehow) It can be tempting to spend up to your credit limit if you aren’t careful
Worry about paying off the bill later You must be careful not to miss your credit card bill’s deadline
By using your credit card and paying it off in a timely manner, you start building a good credit history Having available credit can lead to impulse spending, so only purchase what you can afford to pay off
There are lower or no fees associated with credit union credit cards Other card lenders may charge fees for a variety of transactions, so always read the fine print
Credit cards give you immediate access to credit Credit cards give you immediate access to credit – yes, it’s both good and bad!
You may earn rewards on purchases Sometimes first-time credit card holders aren’t eligible for rewards on low-limit cards

Keep Your Credit On The Up And Up
The best way to start on the fast track to building a solid credit history is to apply for a low-limit credit card – and to pay off the balance on the card each month. This way you won’t be sitting with a pile of debt and no end in sight (which is incredibly stressful, as you may have already learned).

Having good credit ensures you get the lowest loan rates, which means you will spend less on things like a house and a car if you have to borrow in the future!