Credit card yes or credit card no? The dilemma is not that of the small ones, because the payment instrument scenario has become more complex since debit cards, revolving cards, rechargeable cards and – from last – the virtual payment systems associated with smartphones, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
The result of this crowding is that at best the consumer feels confused by so much abundance, often ending up making poorly informed choices dictated only by hearsay or by fashion. What is lost is the dear, old credit card, the one in the balance, which is considered in most circumstances obsolete because it is linked to a financial world and to saving trends that no longer exist, linked as they are to a company that does not it’s more like twenty or thirty years ago.
In other words: continuous recessions, epochal changes in the field of employment, different lifestyles have made credit cards a relic of a bygone era. And especially in Italy, which has suffered the economic crisis dramatically more than other states.
But is it really so?
The credit card risks extinction
Let’s go step by step: it is certainly true that credit cards suffer from the competition of more agile tools such as prepaid cards, which often present themselves as disengaged from the possession of a CC, or hybrid instruments that are born for the smartphone and are simultaneously accounts and systems. virtual payment.
It is also true, however, that in the face of these revolutions the world of credit cards has every interest in trying to attract as many customers as possible, without limiting itself to being “mandatory” for this or that rich guy. Staying interesting in the eyes of savers is essential to avoid the risk of extinction, and the world of financial institutions has taken the matter head-on, with decidedly aggressive strategies.
All the features to keep in mind
Aggressive in what sense? Will these credit cards be given away?
The answer is: it depends on what is meant by a gift. The banks rely on a certain number of features to make these plastic cards (still) attractive, but there is no single model of customer, so some properties can be very welcome, while others … no. Let’s see the main ones.
- Contactless payment capability: to pay without typing PINs and without having to sign (exceptions exist). Great convenience, but there are those who fear that credit cards of this type are more exposed to possible data theft.
- Increase in the ceiling: for those who are in the habit of using credit cards for very important expenses, the current scenario proposes credit lines that can even reach 20,000 euros (as in the case of CheBanca!) Or even unlimited, as is the case with American Express .
- Withdrawal: those who use credit cards to withdraw frequently (but no!) Will want to move towards those that allow an upper limit of 250 Euro, now too low to cover weekly out-of-pocket expenses, gasoline, occasional dining out and out program.
- Annual fees: almost all the banks have established themselves offering credit cards at zero euros. In this case, however, it is always good to read the membership conditions to the end: for example, American Express credit card costs are zero, except for 75 euros once the first year of use has been used up. The aforementioned CheBanca! it has a fee of zero, but only if you use the card for at least 5000 euros of expenses in the calendar year. Webank, on the other hand, offers it for free.
- Withdrawal commissions: as previously mentioned, banks do not do charity work, and in some way must fall within the costs incurred for their customers’ operations. One of the most frequent ways is precisely the annual fee, but compared to the years in which withdrawing from an ATM was often always free, now some institutions also impose a percentage on the amount withdrawn. These sums vary between 2 and 3% of the total, all Italian standard, but there are also companies like American Express or Hello Bank, which hold 4%!
If these characteristics leave you perplexed, it must be considered that credit cards have, compared to other instruments, also an undoubted advantage: the reimbursement of fraudulent expenses eventually carried out in the event of theft or hacking. The same cannot be said in the case of prepaid cards – although there are also some virtuous examples, this remains one of the advantages of credit compared to debits (or other non-cash payment methods).
As in any situation where an important choice must be made, we always invite you to compare the offers of the various institutes: some costs in exchange for certain characteristics may seem excessive, of course, but they never appear all together.
In fact, a bank that has too many “cons” would never be chosen. It is true, there are also customers who are too lazy to change, but they are an endangered minority. Consumers now demand, and the world of credit cards is realizing it. This is why it is a constantly evolving universe.