7 Good Things About Credit Cards

We all have our fair share of complaints about credit, credit cards, credit card companies, and lenders. More and more, credit seems to become a staple in our society, but it isn't all bad. Yes, even with credit there's a bright side.

Credit Cards Can Help You Build Good Credit

Close-up of Credit Cards
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When you use them correctly, credit cards help you build a strong, positive credit history that lenders view as less risky. As you demonstrate responsibility with credit cards, even those with low credit limits, you're more likely to be approved for credit cards with bigger limits and loans of larger amounts.

Credit Cards Can Help You Rebuild Damaged Credit

Even if you've made significant credit mistakes, your credit doesn't have to be bad forever. You can start rebuilding your credit by using a credit card.

The key is to not use credit the same as you did before. Instead, replace your bad credit habits with some responsible ones: charging only what you can afford and paying your bills on time. When you can't get approved for a regular credit card, getting a secured credit card will work just as well to help rebuild a bad credit history.

Creditors Can't Keep Secrets From You

At least not secrets that are about you. Even though creditors tell other creditors how you've paid (and not paid) your bills, you have the ability to see the same information. By ordering a copy of your credit report, you can remain aware of what creditors are saying about your spending and payment habits.

If there are errors on your credit report, you have the right to have them removed and replaced with the correct information.

Mistakes Won't Follow You Around Forever

Several years from now, that charge-off or collection account won't have any effect on your credit. Why? Because credit bureaus (the companies that compile your credit history) can only report most negative information for seven years. After that, the info falls off your credit report, never to be seen again.

It's important to note, however, that a debt can still exist after seven years. It just won't be listed on your credit report.

If You Play Along, You Can Get Around the Fees

Many credit cards come with fees and if you don't push back, you'll end up paying them. Fortunately, there's a way out of nearly every credit card fee.

To get out of some fees, you'll have to change the way you use your credit card. Other fees might require some haggling with your credit card company. To get a completely free credit card, a little haggling might be worth it. Or, you may have to choose a different credit card completely—one that doesn't charge the fees or that makes it easier to avoid them.

There Are Laws to Protect You

Don't think creditors and lenders have complete power over you. Federal laws exist that keep creditors from taking complete advantage of you and other consumers. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to dispute credit report information that is incorrect. And, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA) gives you the right to request that debt collectors stop calling you.

Professional Help Is Available

No matter how overwhelming your debt might seem, you don't have to tackle it alone. Using a professional organization like consumer credit counseling can help you sort out your debts and work out a payment plan that will get you back on track.