How Do You Know If You Have Credit?

How do you know if you have credit? Believe it or not, almost all of us have some type of credit history, unless you’ve paid cash all of your life, or if you’re just starting out and have yet to need credit for anything. But, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t actually know if they have credit or what their credit score is! And, frankly those people who don’t know if they have credit are actually risking their future ability to obtain credit by not knowing.

These days, you owe it to yourself to know if you have credit, and to keep a close eye on your credit report. With identity theft and fraudulent use of credit on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself, and to know your credit history and your credit score.

Imagine, if you will, that you go to apply for a car loan… only to find out that you already have a car loan… or a mortgage… only to find out you already have a mortgage in your name… don’t think that this cannot happen to you! In fact, this type of identity theft is far more common that you realize, and it nearly always happens to people who either have no credit history or have an excellent credit history.

Another reason that you should know if you have credit, and what that credit score happens to be, is so that you can get the credit you need when you need it. Want to get a credit card? Buy a car? Rent an apartment? Buy a house? Before you even apply for that first credit card, you’d better know your credit score! And, forget going to look at cars, houses, or anything else without knowing your score, and having the score that your lender is looking for! (Besides, who wants to be embarrassed at being told “No” when you do go to buy something on credit?)

So, in answer to the question “how do you know if you have credit,” the best answer is not only to get a copy of your credit report, but to have your credit report monitored on a regular basis by a reputable credit monitoring company. A reputable credit monitoring company will notify you when there are changes to your credit report and you typically have access any time that you want to your most current credit score, so you know before you go whether or not you’ll qualify for that credit card, that car loan, or anything else!

Why Do I Need a Credit Card?

Why do I need a credit card?  Seems like a reasonable question, doesn’t it?  Are you asking because you don’t know why you’d need a credit card, or because you’re trying to buy or do something, and the provider is requiring a credit card?   Truthfully, there are lots of reasons why you need a credit card, and those reasons can be different for every individual, but the simple fact is, most of us need a credit card for one reason or another.

 

  • Online Shopping – While you can use your bank issued debit card for online shopping, using a credit card is actually a much safer way to shop online.  Obviously, you want to put as much distance between your bank account and hackers as possible, and using a debit card that is connected directly to your bank account is definitely not putting very much distance between the two.  In the event that your account is compromised, and believe me it does happen, thieves only have access to the limit on your credit card, not your entire bank account.  And, it’s much easier to call a credit card company and cancel the card than it is to wait for the bank to credit the stolen funds back to your bank account!
  • Travel – While you don’t absolutely have to have a credit card to travel, you’ll definitely end up paying more for your airfare if you pay cash at the travel agency, instead of taking advantage of the discounts that you can find online for cheap airfare!  And again, buying those airline tickets online with your debit card is exposing your bank account to potential hackers.
  • Accommodations – Ever tried to pay for a hotel room with cash?  Unless you’re staying in a small Mom & Pop operation, or renting a room in an undesirable part of town, it’s almost impossible to pay cash.  And using your debit card is even more dangerous in many hotels – everyone who has access to their computer system typically has access to your information… your debit card, your home address, your phone number… how easy would it be for a minimum wage front desk clerk to steal your debit card information?
  • Car Rentals – Perhaps the hardest thing to do without a credit card is to rent a vehicle.  In fact, unless you are willing to give them a credit or debit card, you simply cannot rent one.  And, once again, you’re giving an entire rental car company access to your information.
  • Building Your Credit History – One of the easiest ways to build a credit history, especially if you have no credit, or even a less than perfect credit history, is to simply get a credit card, use it wisely, and make your payments on time, every time.   In turn, the credit card provider will report your responsible credit usage to one or even all three of the major credit bureaus, and your credit score will normally improve over time.  And, building your credit history is the only way that you’ll ever qualify for that car loan, or even that home loan, that you will one day want or need.

Of course, if you ask a dozen people why you need a credit card, you’ll likely get a dozen reasons why you need or even why you don’t need a credit card, but the simple fact of the matter is, most of us need a credit card at one time or another in our lives.  And, using that debit card instead of a bona fide credit card is really not the best choice that you can make.  So, instead of asking yourself the question, “Why do I need a credit card,” perhaps you should be asking yourself which credit card is the right credit card for your financial needs!   Check out the selection of credit cards we offer and get started today.