As we move closer to becoming a cashless society, reaching for the plastic has become more ingrained in societal norms. However, there are many times when it’s better to say “debit” than “credit.”
Let’s look at some purchases you should never put on a credit card.
A New Car
For some people, having a credit limit sizable enough to swallow the purchase of an automobile is a point of pride. However, if they are truly intelligent, they also know using it that way is the height of folly.
As of this writing, the average new car loan interest rate is just over 4.7 percent. Meanwhile, the average credit card interest rate is just over 14 percent. If you can qualify for a credit card with a limit that high, you could certainly qualify for a new car loan.
Why pay nine percent more in interest?
Your Mortgage Payment
A classic example of robbing Archie to pay George, making your mortgage payment with a credit card — or even worse, one of those cash advance checks card issuers love to send — is a sign you’re in serious financial trouble. In fact, that’s why most home loan providers won’t accept credit card payments.
Of course, the free market finds a way to scratch every itch. There are third-party payment processors out there who have no qualms about facilitating this — for a fee.
With all of that said, if this is where you’re heading, a better move would be to get in touch with a debt relief company to explore some strategies for getting your debt back under control. Before you settle on one though, look for information like these Freedom Debt Relief reviews to help you make a smart choice.
Make no mistake about it; college costs have spiraled well out of reach for a lot of people. However, there are always alternatives, such as starting your college career in an affordable two-year institution before transferring to a more prestigious school for your undergraduate degree.
Nobody ever asks where you started; they only care where you finished.
This strategy will reduce the student loan debt you’ll have to shoulder and help you avoid trying to pay for college on a credit card at an average of 14.14 percent in interest, vs. 4.8 percent for undergrads taking federal student loans.
By now, you’re probably anticipating our reasoning. However, there’s yet another wrinkle when it comes to taxes. The IRS charges processing fees for credit card payments. Those levies currently stand at 1.87 percent of the amount you charge, plus a$2.59 processing fee — on top of the interest burden your card issuer will impose.
The smart play is to work out a payment plan. IRS interest charges are currently three percent annually plus .25 percent of the outstanding balance each month.
Bills of Any Kind
Similar to the mortgage payment we discussed above, this is basically robbing one bank to pay another one. However, it’s even worse in this instance because you’re also robbing yourself.
In the case of telephone and utility bills, you’re introducing interest charges where they didn’t exist before. Yes, you’ll encounter late fees, but they tend to be significantly lower than the interest on credit card charges.
As for medical bills, you’re amplifying the interest charges you’ll face. In most cases, hospitals will set you up on payment plans, and some are even willing to negotiate their fees. But you have to ask; they won’t volunteer to do this.
Another thing to keep in mind here–every time you shift one of these obligations to a credit card, you’re using more of your credit limit, which can result in a diminishing of your credit score.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you’ll make all of the above cost you more when you say, “charge it”. That is, unless of course, you’re in a position to pay off the entire amount before the grace period ends and interest is applied to these balances.
Otherwise, there are far more affordable ways to defer payment in each of these circumstances.