Is it Worth Using a Credit Card for Small Purchases?

Many of us have credit cards and they can be extremely useful. When used efficiently they can give you interest free credit for a period of time until you repay the full balance owed each month. However, some people use them to buy things and then delay paying for them for a long period of time while the interest on the card keeps being charged. This can be an expensive way to buy things due to the cost of the card. It is worth thinking about when to use them and what for in the context of how you use the card. If you are spending small or large amounts, it could have an influence on whether you should use the card.

If you pay it all off

If you pay the card off in full each month then whether you use it for a few things or lots of things will not matter. As long as you are confident that you will be able to repay it all when you need to then it will be fine to use it for anything that you want. Some people make all of their purchases on a card and then pay it all back in full by direct debit each month. This can be convenient and if you have a cash back credit card it can also give you the opportunity to earn more cash back. Unless you think that there is a risk that you might not be able to repay the card in full this particular month, then it is well worth using one.

If you never pay it off

if you do not pay the card back but keep spending on it and just repay the minimum then it is best to use it as little as possible. This is because everything you buy with it will be costing you more money as you will paying for the interest each month. Therefore whether you want to pay for large or small things it is better to avoid using your card if you can. Smaller amounts do add up and so if you think that you will not be paying back the card then it is better to pay those with debit cards or cash to avoid accumulating more debt. It is easy to think that a few small things will not make a big difference, but everything that you use the card for will make some difference.

If you sometimes pay it off

Some people pay off their credit cards in full at times but other times pay off part of it or just the minimum. This is when it can be a trickier decision. If you think that you will be paying it off in full then you can spend all you like on it, but if you are not sure then it is better not to take so many risks with using the card and if you can afford smaller purchases without using the card, then this is the best thing to do. Otherwise you will risk having to pay out more money form the items than the purchase price and they may just not be worth it.

If making online purchases

Online purchasing has a risk to it. Although most online sites have encryption, a credit card offers extra security compared with a debit card. This means that it is probably better to use a credit card for online purchases regardless of how much you are spending. Credit cards have insurance which will pay out if you do not get the items that you ordered or if they are not as described.

If in an independent shop

You may think that small purchases should not be paid for using a credit card but most shops do not mind if you use one. This is because they are happy to serve you regardless. Some smaller and independent shops may request that you only use a credit card if you spend over a certain amount of money. This is because there is a processing fee for using a credit card which they will have to pay and so they may want to make sure that they can cover this cost in their profits and so only accept cards for higher payments. So whether you use a card should not be based so much on how much you are spending but on whether the shop accepts cards for small amounts or not.


It can be a lot more convenient using a credit card than trying to find the cash to make a payment. It also allows you to wait until you pay for items so you get some time before you have to find the money to actually pay. It can also be a lot easier to carry a card with you when you are out and about rather than having to think about having enough cash.

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