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Credit cards have become the easiest way to manage money. For that reason, some people shy away from them — afraid of exceeding their means. However, when used responsibly, a credit card can offer you flexibility and help manage your cash flow.

If you’re still thinking about it — or you’ve just gotten your first credit card — remember, like anything else, the better you understand it, the better it will work for you.

Here are six ways a personal credit card may help you:

1. Develop responsible financial behavior

You’ll be getting regular statements that will reflect your spending habits and you’re going to have to make your payments to your credit card provider. Responsible spending and self-accountability will play a big part in your ability to stay on top of your bills.

2. Ensure your bills are paid on time

Set up automatic payment for utility bills, subscription services and other recurring expenses. Apart from not having to worry about missing payments, you also save yourself the bother of getting into a line if you or one of your payees does not bank online.

3. Increase your peace of mind

You can never be too safe and not having to carry around a lot of cash can help reduce your vulnerability to theft. Your PIN also offers a level of security and chip cards offer an extra level of protection on transactions. Many credit cards offer payment protection. Unlike cash, credit card payments can be tracked so it’s easier to resolve transaction issues.

4. Access the money you need, when you need it

When used responsibly, credit cards are a helpful tool to cover a cash shortfall. You might be low on cash but still need groceries or medication. Or maybe you want to take advantage of a much-needed savings opportunity: imagine a 25% sale on that new fridge you really need, but it’s only on this weekend and you don’t get paid for another two weeks

5. Use your credit card almost everywhere, 24/7

Credit cards are almost universally accepted. In some cases it’s even necessary: to book hotels or to rent cars, for instance, you usually need to provide a credit card. Private healthcare facilities will ask for them too. And certainly not least of all: online shopping—it’s not just for Amazon anymore. Locally, in 2020, with many of us trying to stay Covid-safe by buying online and ordering food for delivery or curbside pick-up, credit cards have been indispensable.

6. Earn rewards when you spend

Different credit cards offer various perks and loyalty programs such as cash back rewards and using points to purchase eCertificates from various retailers. You may even be able to use rewards to pay your credit card balance: now that’s smart spending.

Ultimately, a credit card can offer a safer and easier alternative to cash transactions. Responsible use of your credit card builds your credit-worthiness and helps to strengthen your financial profile.