Odds are good that you have at least one credit card. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 183 million Americans have one in their wallets. After all, the convenience of credit cards remains undeniable. Of course, many people use their credit cards without a lot of forethought. They see something they like and they buy it. That’s a good way to rack up debt. With a bit of planning though, you can reap the benefits of using a credit card without damaging your finances. Not sure what those benefits are? Keep reading and you’ll learn about five of the key benefits.

1. Build or Rebuild Credit:

One of the best reasons to use credit card balances is for the building or rebuilding of credit. Your credit score depends on a lot of things, but payment history is one of the heavy hitters in the algorithms. Of course, you can’t build a payment history without using a line of credit.

Using your credit card for small purchases and making payments let you build that history. If your debt gets out of control, though, you should work on ways you can pay off credit card debt.

2. Emergencies:

Sooner or later, almost everyone winds up with some kind of emergency. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Your friend needs a bus ticket back from Alaska for a family funeral.

You can take advantage of credit card available balances to deal with these emergencies right now and work out the financial nitty-gritty with credit card payments later.

3. Safer Transactions:

Most credit card companies have policies in place that strictly limit your liability in cases of fraud. They also have fraud prevention monitoring in place to alert you if they suspect fraud. This makes using your credit card for transactions a safer bet than cash or even debit cards.

4. Rewards:

Another of the big advantages of credit card use is that it opens up the possibility of rewards. Many credit cards will offer cashback for specific kinds of purchases. Others will let you rack up things like frequent flyer miles.

Those rewards can add up over the course of a year or two.

5. One-Time Opportunities:

Every once in a while, people run across one-time opportunities to get something they want. Maybe, it’s antique. Maybe, it’s a signed photograph of their favorite actress.

If you don’t have the cash on hand, a credit card can let you take advantage of these one-time opportunities.

The Benefits of Using a Credit Card and You

There are many benefits of using a credit card, but there is also potential for financial problems. You should look for ways you can maximize the benefits while minimizing the chances of problems.

Use your card with specific intentions, such as building credit or racking up specific rewards. Make your payments on time. Keep your purchases and your balance manageable.

Always leave yourself some wiggle room for emergency situations.

Looking for more finance tips to help you manage your life with less stress? Check out the Finance articles in our Business section.