Six Fears of Credit Cards and How to Get Over Them

© andystjohn/

Hearing other people's credit card horror stories can scare you away from credit cards completely.

Many credit card troubles come from how credit cards are used, not the credit cards themselves. Most common credit card fears can be eased with understanding of the truth about credit cards.

Fear of Hurting Your Credit Score

Your credit score can be a fickle number. Unfortunately, many consumers have big conceptions about what affects their credit scores.

These misconceptions can cause an unnecessary fear of credit cards, which, if used correctly, can help build a solid credit score.

Abusing your credit card – running up big balances and paying late – can hurt your credit score. Responsible credit score use – maintaining a low or now balance and paying on time each month – will actually help build your credit score.

Fear of Overspending and Getting Into Debt

It’s true that many Americans owe several thousand dollars in credit card debt. The truth is that this debt is the result of personal spending decisions not something inherent with credit cards.

It’s possible to use credit cards and not get into debt – you have to be disciplined enough to charge only what you can afford and pay your bill in full each month with no exception. When you break either of these two rules, you put yourself at risk of getting into credit card debt.

Fear of Credit Card Fraud

The incidents of credit card fraud have risen steadily in the past several years.

Thieves have a number of ways of gaining access to credit card information and using it to make fraudulent purchases.

Fortunately, the U.S. credit card industry is going to a more secure EMV credit card that will make it harder for hackers to get access to credit card numbers. And in the meantime, Federal law and credit card issuer policies limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges.

Fear of Paying High Interest

Credit cards, on average, have a higher interest rate than many other forms of debt, including personal loans and mortgages. However, most credit cards do present the opportunity to avoid interest charges.

Most credit cards have a grace period that allows the cardholder to pay the balance in full and avoid paying interest. Qualified applicants may even qualify for 0% introductory rates on balance transfers or purchases or both, allowing the cardholder a certain interest-free period on the credit card.

Fear of a Financial Trap

Some people feel that credit cards are just a bank gimmick used to lure people into debt and keep them there. While credit cards are a product that banks hope will generate a profit, if you know the rules, you can avoid falling into any credit card traps. That means knowing the costs of your credit cards and how to avoid them. It also requires you to maintain self-discipline and avoid racking up more debt than you can afford to repay.

Fear of Hidden Fees

Federal law requires credit cards to disclose all credit card fees in a credit card offer before a consumer applies for the credit card. This disclosure will also be included with the new credit card.

Over the past several years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has fined almost every major credit card issuer for hidden credit card fees, so know that the government is watching for these fees.

You can catch hidden fees by monitoring your credit card statement closely. Stop recurring fees by calling your credit card issuer to cancel any services that cause recurring fees.

Getting Over the Fear of Credit Cards

Delaying your credit card use because you’re afraid of credit cards can prevent you from building a good credit score. Without a credit score, you may have a harder time with certain other tasks like renting an apartment, getting utilities established in your name, or even getting a cell phone contract. Learn the truth about popular credit card myths so you can learn to use credit in a way that benefits you.