You may be surprised by this, but I carry a credit card. Many people ask my why I would endorse using a credit card because so many have been led to believe they’re evil and only lead to destruction.
I see it this way: credit cards, just like any other form of currency, are neither good nor evil. In their essence, they’re just a piece of plastic that allows the user 30 days of free credit. The real issue is two pronged: It’s how we use them that gives them purpose – to be productive or harmful. And, whether or not the user has self-control.
There are many horror stories of the misuse of credit cards leading to stress, anxiety, financial strain, and bankruptcy. These stories are heartbreaking and I am passionate about keeping people away from the dangers of financial bondage.
But I would suggest that the misuse comes from the one using the credit card, not the plastic itself. When you or I make a mistake with a credit card, it’s easy to blame it, to call it “evil”, and to write it off altogether.
The truth is, the root problem that motivates us to misuse the card is what’s evil.
The greed, insecurity, impatience or lack of self-control that prompts us to make unwise decisions is what needs to be written off, cut up, and cancelled. But in order to do that, we must align our hearts, not just our budgets, with Scripture.
What The Bible Says
See, our problems with money never stem from having too much or too little. Overspending, accumulating debt, or experiencing stress about money are just symptoms of the real root issues – our attitudes and beliefs. In essence, what you believe about money and how you behave with money needs to match up.
God deeply cares about you, and your finances. There are more verses in the Bible about money than there are about heaven and hell combined. Aligning your heart with Scripture will mean that your finances are likely to be in line with Scripture as well.
Matthew tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So where do you take the first step? How do you start aligning your beliefs and behaviors about money with Scripture? Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study was created with you in mind, to help you accomplish this. It takes a deep dive into what the Bible says about money, and how to take practical steps in all aspects of your finances – giving, saving, investing, and spending. It will help you understand not only how to use credit cards the right way, but how to have the right attitude towards your money in general.
Using A Credit Card The Right Way
Remember, the responsibility of a credit card lies with the user, not the issuer of the card, or the card itself. For this reason, my wife and I have strict rules about how we use our cards. Here are the guidelines we follow, and my advice for anyone looking to use a card the right way:
- Never charge more on your card than you’ll be able to pay in full at the end of the month (a budget is the best way to help with this).
- Pay your balance in full every month.
- If you don’t pay the balance in full at the end of a month, don’t use the card again until you have paid your full balance.
- Only carry 1 card.
- Chose a card with good benefits (airline miles, cash back rewards, etc.). You can find some helpful lists at Bankrate.com or CreditCards.com
- Don’t use your credit card for emergencies, or think of it as a fall-back for emergencies. Save so you can pay for surprise expenses in cash (that’s why we recommend having an Emergency Savings Fund).
Having a healthy credit score is helpful when it comes to buying a house, or even applying for some jobs. But many people don’t understand their credit score enough to improve it. Our partners at Christian Credit Counselors created this ebook to help. It’s simple and easy to understand so you take the guesswork out of improving your credit.
But even if you follow all these guidelines, and end up with a perfect credit score, remember that your stewardship score is what really matters. I spent many years of my life striving to have the best finances, but was missing what really mattered. It was a Bible study like Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study that changed the way I view and handle money forever. Going through a Crown study with my wife brought so much healing to our marriage, and finances. If you’re ready to take the next step towards finding freedom, enroll today.