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krose1223's avatar

Is this a bad idea?

Asked by krose1223 (3254points) December 9th, 2008

I am moving overseas in February and I wanted to have my plane ticket bought by now. The prices are very low right now but I don’t have the money. I will have the money by the end of January but I know prices will have shot up a few hundred dollar by then. I was thinking about getting a credit card just to buy the plane ticket and completely paying it all off next month. I’ve been told before that is the only way credit cards really help your credit. To be honest having a credit card scares me and I would never want to use it again. I don’t want to mess my credit up because it is really good right now. Do you have any suggestions of what else I could do? Or do you think the credit card idea isn’t so bad?

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17 Answers

steelmarket's avatar

If you do not have a credit card now, you are going to want one when you get overseas. It beats dealing with local banks in many countries. Be sure you get one with ATM functionality.

Kiev749's avatar

if you know you can use it responsibly, then not a bad idea.

dalepetrie's avatar

Definitely a good idea. If you can get a credit line opened quickly, you build credit by charging and paying off. The only danger with credit cards is if you don’t pay them in full at the end of every month. Honestly, I write almost no checks anymore, and I pretty much only spend cash for items under $10, everything else goes on a charge card, then after I get my check each month, I pay off all my current charges on the cards I use. I carry a Visa, a Discover and an American Express…I use the AMEX for dining out and gas because I get a 3% rebate on those items (so it’s actually cheaper than paying with cash), I use the Discover for anything that I would put on the AMEX where they don’t take AMEX, or pretty much anything else I buy as I get 1% there on everything (and they always have one category of things where I get 5% back, like in January it will be travel), and then some places don’t take AMEX or Discover and for those I use the Visa. I even put all my utlities, TV, Internet, everything I can that’s monthly billing to pay automatically on my credit card so that I get the cash back rewards on it. Just make sure you don’t charge more than you can pay and a credit card can be your best friend.

krose1223's avatar

@ dale- so should I wait a little longer to get the card or do you think it would be ok to pay it off at the end of January instead of the end of this month?

dynamicduo's avatar

You mention you’re scared of having a credit card. I assume this means you’ve never had one before in the past? If so, your credit score is not as great as it could be. Having a card, even a low limit one, and using it while paying the card off each month actually increases your credit score compared to never having a card, as it demonstrates long term financial stability, reliability, and the ability to pay back the money, which is what lenders of larger loans want to see.

You’ll be fine paying off the card in January if you get it now. You’ll probably pay a bit of interest though, so make sure you’ll be overall saving money compared to buying a ticket later on.

dalepetrie's avatar

No, I’d start working on getting the card ASAP, with today’s credit market, especially if you don’t already have a card, it might be tough. I’d do a search for “best credit card rates” or something of that nature, I think there’s a bankrate.com or some site like that, and find one that has a good program. Pick a good card, apply online and see if you qualify. Then lock in your rate as soon as you have the number. You should then just pay it off before the due date, usually you’ll get at LEAST 25 days from the date you made the purchase to pay it off. They’ll offer you the option to just pay the minimum, but if you do that, then they’ll charge you interest, so just pay it all off, you’ll establish credit, you’ll have a card you can use for emergencies (or you can start charging things and as long as you pay it off by the due date), and you’ll buy yourself some time, and maybe even get some rewards. I wouldn’t wait, just make sure that you’ll have the money by the due date and you’ll be fine.

dalepetrie's avatar

My thinking on this is, today is December 9, if you sign up for a card today, you probably won’t have the card in hand until December 15 or so. Then what happens is most likely, you’ll have a billing cycle which will start on the day you opened the card and will end a month later, so your billing cycle will probably end on January 8 if you opened an account today. Then most cards are going to have anywhere between 20 and 30 days from the end of the billing cycle before you have to pay it off, so you won’t have to pay it until somewhere between January 28 and February 7.

Discover is a great card to have in fact. They offer 4 different card options right now, and 3 of them have no interest for the first 6 months. But even if you went with the card that is offering 3.99% for the first 6 months, they give you plenty of time to pay off your balance. My card has a billing cycle that runs from the 11th of each month to the 10th of the next month. So, let’s say I was going to make a big purchase this month (indeed, I need a new furnace for my house, it’s going to cost me $5,400 and I’m having it installed on Thursday). Well, Thursday is the 11th, so I’ll charge $5,400 on the 11th. My billing cycle will run until January 10th, at which time I’ll actually get a bill for that $5,400. I will not have to pay for that until February 10 to avoid paying interest. There may be better offers out there, but I’d say you can’t go wrong with Discover…almost anyone who books travel is going to take it, the only problem will be if you want to use it a lot, not everyone takes it, but most merchants do now days. You can check out their offerings at www.discovercard.com

windex's avatar

Step 1: Get Card

Step 2: Buy ticket

Step 3: Cut up Card

Step 4: Pay Card Off

dalepetrie's avatar

I agree with all but step 3. Only do step 3 if you can’t resist the temptation to charge more than you can pay. If you can use the card responsibly and pay it off in full each month you’ll actually MAKE money (if you have a good cashback plan), AND you’ll build great credit so you won’t have to worry if you want to buy a house or a car someday.

jessturtle23's avatar

If you decide to get a credit card try to get one with a higher limit than what the ticket cost because depending on the card if you go over a certain percentage of the credit limit it will drop your credit score. It sounds good to immediately pay it off but to build your credit even better you really want to pay it off over time and always pay more than the minimum payment. I wouldn’t cut the card up in case an emergency happened over there and you needed the extra cash. If anything freeze it in a bag of water so if you really want to use it for something you have to think about it for a while. This is a good question because many people just get a bunch of cards and blow them and ruin their credit. It’s good that you asked advice first.

chicadelplaya's avatar

I’ve been hearing credit card companies are not handing out credit like they used to. But If you can get your hands on one, GO! Just plan smart and travel smart. Hey, you only live once.

augustlan's avatar

There are lots of good reasons to get a Discover card, but one really big reason not to. It is not accepted everywhere, and that could cause you big problems overseas. I recommend you get a Visa or Mastercard if it is to be your only card.

dalepetrie's avatar

Of course, if she’s not going to rely on it, and is just going to have it at minimum for this airline ticket and at most for some measure of convenience, but is used to paying for everything via cash or check, I don’t think the fact that it’s not accepted everywhere is probably a dealbreaker. But it is a valid question to ask…are you going to keep using it, and do you want it to be accepted everywhere…if so, get a Visa.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Actually, a good idea is to ask the bank to reduce the credit limit if you don’t think you can trust yourself. There’s nothing to say that if a bank gives you a $5000 credit limit, you can’t ask to have it reduced to $2000 or less.

scamp's avatar

I must be the only person alive who has never had a credit card and has no intention of ever getting one. And I’ll add, I am probably one of few that are debt free!! @krose1223 , Best wishes to you whatever you decide to do!

Mizuki's avatar

If the airline goes bankrupt, (a distinct possiblity) you will loose your ticket and the $.

Factor this risk into your decision. I would wait, chances tickets will go up in a deflationary economy is slim. The may even be cheaper then.

Jack79's avatar

get the credit card, buy the ticket, then cut the credit card into tiny little pieces and BURN THEM!

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