Credit Cards – Why Are They So Popular?
Credit cards have ballooned in popularity over the last decade. While once the preserve of the very rich, or very indebted, they are now available to practically everyone who wants them. They have become far easier to get a hold of. There is also a huge variety of choice out there for anyone who wants a credit card.
Different Types of Credit Cards
There are exclusive cards that offer their holders a huge array of benefits in exchange for a fee. But there are also cards that carry no subscription fee, give zero per cent on balance transfers and sometimes on purchases to for a certain period and offer quite competitive rates after that.
The credit card industry has experienced a massive amount of competition in recent years. Not only have a huge number of new players entered the market, but with the growth of store cards and debit cards, the traditional credit card providers have had to vastly improve the terms on which they do business with customers. This means that customers have more choice and better offers than ever before and this is also fuelling the demand for more credit cards.
Credit cards are becoming increasingly popular for people who frequently travel abroad. Rather than carry traveller’s cheques or a host of currencies around with them, they simply take a credit card. This can be used to pay almost anywhere in the world, and even when this becomes difficult, you can still use your credit card in a local bank machine to take out cash in whatever currency you need. Of course credit cards will charge a fee for all of this, but increasingly, as these fees become more competitive, customers are deciding that the fees are well worth the convenience and reliability that they offer while abroad. They are also very secure and if lost or stolen, can be cancelled quickly and easily.
Online shopping has been another reason for the growth in popularity of credit cards and one of the main advantages to younger shoppers who are buying more and more goods and services online. From flights, to car rental bookings, to books and cds, shoppers would find it increasingly difficult to make such purposes if they did not have a credit card.
All of these benefits are what is leading to the phenomenal growth in the popularity of credit cards, but this is also leading to a serious problem of debt. The economy is in dire straits mainly due to consumer debt and with the lure of credit within everyone’s easy reach the problem looks set to increase. Only a massive swing in consumer attitude could change this problem without the intervention of the government. The Bank of England in fact is, at the time of writing, contemplating another increase in the base interest rate in an attempt to curb further spending.
Therefore, anyone considering taking out a new credit card should check the terms and conditions carefully and find out if they can afford it or not.
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