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Cash Vs Credit Card in Canada: Which is best for you?

To the point

This article aims to discuss whether cash or a credit card is better to help you decide which method works best for your needs.

The ongoing debate between using cash or credit cards as a payment method continues! While each has its perks and downfalls, whether they work for you and your financial situation remains top of mind.

This article will look at the differences between cash and credit card so that you can make an informed decision on which payment option is best for you.

Will cash remain king? or will credit cards prevail as the go-to payment option. Let’s find out.

When should you use a credit card?

It’s no secret that Canadians are becoming increasingly more reliant on credit cards for their everyday purchases. According to a Bank of Canada survey, 9 out of 10 Canadians own a credit card, and it has become the preferred payment method alongside the debit card. The survey also found that Canadians spend around 56% of total goods and services purchased come from credit cards.

Credit cards are great for larger purchases as they give you protection from fraud and are transferable across multiple channels. If you want a secure and convenient alternative to cash, using a credit card is often the best way to go – if you can pay your bills on time, that is.

Pros of using credit cards

When used wisely, a credit card can offer tremendous benefits to the disciplined user. Here are a few to keep in mind:

Building credit

Credit looks at the ability of one party to borrow money and pay their debts on time. Each time you use your credit card, you are impacting your credit for better or for worse.

In this case, the pro of having a credit card can help you build excellent credit which opens you up financially to get a favourable business loan, qualify for a mortgage or rent out an apartment.

Rewards and cashback options

Credit card providers will typically offer reward points or cashback options on select purchases as an incentive to cardholders. With reward options, you are gaining shopping points that can be redeemed for things like travel, gifts, and more.

The cash back credit cards give you a certain percentage of your money back with each purchase. If you don’t carry a balance or have many expenses you place on your credit card, you could benefit from these programs greatly. Overall, it is not a bad idea to get free perks if you are wisely using your credit card.

Increased protection

Unlike cash, credit cards can provide you with protection from fraud. By law, companies like Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Interac must protect you from financial loss if your credit card is used without your permission.

Con of using credit cards

While credit cards can be a great payment option when in the wrong hands, they can be detrimental to your financial well-being. Credit card providers charge upwards of 19.99% interest on their cards to cardholders.

If you carry a balance month to month, you could be paying thousands throughout your credit cards history.

When should you use cash?

Cash remains one of the most accepted forms of payment even as it is declining in its use among Canadians. The choice of using cash or not depends on your current spending behaviours as a consumer.

Many find it hard to track their spending and may opt to use cash to track where their money is going. Others may find that using cash helps them avoid consumer debt altogether. These practical reasons make it necessary to use cash when needed, as it is an excellent guide for people in their personal finance journey.

By making sure you know what you’re getting into as a consumer, you can enjoy the benefits of using cash while avoiding some of the pitfalls that come with credit cards.

Pros of using Cash

In our previous article on cash vs debit cards, we discussed the benefit of having cash to help manage our budget. There are several cash-based budgets that we can use to our advantage to stay within our means and one step closer to our financial goals.

As opposed to a credit card, where spending is attached to your credit limit, you can no longer spend your money once your cash is gone. This will force you to be more creative and appreciative of how far your dollar can go.

Help you stick to a budget

In our previous article on cash vs debit cards, we discussed the benefit of having cash to help manage our budget.

There are several cash-based budgets that we can use to our advantage to stay within our means and one step closer to our financial goals. As opposed to a credit card, where spending is attached to your credit limit, you can no longer spend your money once your cash is gone. This will force you to be more creative and appreciative of how far your dollar can go.

Avoid unnecessary fees

The day-to-day uses of a credit card can be challenging to manage if you’re not well versed in credit card usage. For example, you must make sure you make your payments in full and on time, pay your annual fees, and if you withdraw money from your credit card, you are being charged additional fees based on the amount you borrowed.

With cash, you have the satisfaction of knowing you are spending your dollar without strings attached.

Universally accepted

Until the day comes that we will no longer be using cash, it remains king and a stable payment method for your everyday purchases. You can rest assured that your cash will be accepted in most physical establishments requiring in-person purchases.

Con of using cash

Cash admittedly presents a huge security risk for people and businesses alike. The larger the value you hold in hard cash, the riskier it becomes.

Without significant assurances and protection, it makes it a challenge to keep in large amounts. Using cash for smaller purchases may be ideal.

Conclusion

Both cash and credit cards should have a place as a payment method. While some may prefer the flexibility of credit cards, others may like the discipline they get from using cash only. It is important to note that it can become equally damaging, for each credit card benefit if left in the wrong hands.

That is why it is essential to stay informed and have a solid understanding of your financial philosophy before exclusively using credit cards as a payment option.

This pros and cons list on cash vs credit cards can now help you make a decision. Use it wisely!

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