Applying for your first credit card is often considered a right of passage for many young adults, but signing up for that introductory offer isn’t necessarily the best move for everyone.
Whether you are a young adult looking to build your credit or a seasoned pro looking to take advantage of a great signup bonus, getting a credit card might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
- Here are five reasons you might want to avoid getting a credit card:
1. You Spend More Than You Make
The first rule of credit cards is that you never want to sign up for more credit or take on more debt if you are already struggling with spending more than you make.
Millions of people around the world use credit cards to make up the difference when they are living beyond their means. This is one of the worst things you can do financially, so don’t even give yourself the chance to get started if you aren’t making more than you spend each month.
2. You Struggle to Stick With a Budget
If you make more than your budget says you should spend each month but have trouble sticking to that budget, you are in the same boat as the people who spend more.
Lacking the discipline to say no to impulse purchases is a serious problem, and arming yourself with a credit card is exactly what you do not want to do in that situation.
3. You Already Have Too Much Debt
Some people have a very reasonable budget but are up to their eyeballs in debt for other reasons. One-time medical expenses, school loans, fancy cars, and expensive houses are all possible problems here.
Anyone who has a significant amount of debt hanging over their personal balance sheets will likely have a hard time qualifying for a credit card in the first place, so get to work paying down those balances before you think about getting a new card.
4. You Want to Avoid Paying Interest
Anyone that has an aversion to paying interest on the things that they buy should also make a point to avoid credit cards. Unless you have a massive surplus in your monthly budget, there will likely be times when you can’t afford to pay off your credit card completely, which will mean paying some interest.
If that bothers you, it means that you have a good financial head on your shoulders. But it also means that you probably shouldn’t be messing around with credit cards.
5. You’re Planning to Apply for a Mortgage
If you intend to apply for a mortgage in the next few months, you want to make sure that your credit report looks as clean as possible when the mortgage company pulls it.
Applying for a credit card will show as an inquiry on your credit report, and your mortgage company or bank is not going to like that.
Credit cards can be an excellent tool for responsible adults to build credit, but they can also be a dangerous trap for anyone that isn’t extremely careful. Before you blindly apply for a new card, make sure that you consider all of the potential outcomes.