Credit Cards

Should you turn to credit cards if you can’t pay the bills?

Image Source: Getty Images

Credit cards can cover bills, but you’ll need to decide if using them to pay expenses is a good idea.

Key points

  • Sometimes it is difficult to cover the bills of daily expenses.
  • If you have available credit on your credit cards, it can be tempting to use them to pay routine costs.
  • You’ll want to explore other options and consider the drawbacks before using your cards to pay bills.

If you’re struggling to cover everyday expenses, it can be tempting to charge purchases to your credit cards if you have available credit. But while loading things onto your cards may solve the affordability problem in the short term, it could make it more difficult to stay within your budget in the long run.

So is it ever a good idea to turn to your cards in times of financial trouble? This is what you need to know.

Why you should try to avoid using credit cards to pay bills

In general, it’s a good idea to avoid charging anything to a credit card that you can’t pay in full before you start incurring interest charges. Credit cards can be a very expensive way to borrow, and some cards charge interest of more than 17%. This means that everything you load on your card will be much more expensive.

When you charge everyday expenses to a credit card, you’re also committing future income to cover today’s expenses. Therefore, in the future, it will be even more difficult to live within your means because you will have less money available due to the fact that part of it will go to pay for past purchases.

What are your other options?

While you wouldn’t charge everyday expenses to a credit card in an ideal world, sometimes people find themselves in situations that are far from ideal. If you don’t have the money to pay for the things you need, you have to find a solution.

However, before moving on to cards, you should consider other options. If you can sell items you no longer need or put in extra work to cover your costs, this is a better solution. Also, looking for cutbacks you can make to avoid going into debt would also be a better option than charging expenses to credit cards. You could also look into government programs that could help you cover costs, like Medicaid for health care you can’t afford.

But if none of these options are available, credit cards may be a better solution than even more expensive payday loans. You may also be better off charging things with credit cards rather than skipping house or car payments and facing foreclosure or repossession, especially if you’re facing a short-term cash crunch.

In other words, if you don’t have a better solution, using credit cards to help pay for critical expenses may be your best option, as long as you recognize that this isn’t a long-term solution and you’ll need more money later.

When should you use your cards as an alternative?

If you must use credit cards to charge everyday expenses during tough times, you should try to find a 0% APR credit card whenever possible. A 0% APR card doesn’t charge interest on purchases for a limited time so you can avoid owing more money to the card issuer.

You should also come up with a plan to pay off what you owe as soon as possible and make sure you don’t find yourself in a similar situation in the future.

The best credit card eliminates interest until 2023

If you have credit card debt, transfer it to this top balance transfer card locks you in with a 0% introductory APR through 2023! In addition, you will not pay an annual fee. Those are just some of the reasons why our experts rate this card as the best option to help control your debt. Read our full review free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Related Articles