Credit card use is on the increase amongst retired people for two distinct reasons. Some use them for the convenience and to maintain their credit scores. Others are becoming increasingly more reliant on credit to meet the challenges of living on a fixed income. As with all groups of credit card users no one card fits all, as those who typically carry a balance will have far different requirements to those who remain free of credit card debt.
Retired people who are indeed struggling to keep on top of their credit card balances need to choose credit cards which can free them from the cycle of paying interest. Balance transfer cards present the best option as they often offer 0% APR introductory periods which give the opportunity to clear the debt down without incurring further interest.
It is well worth seniors becoming rate tarts if interest rates are an issue, as applying periodically for new credit cards with 0% APR’s will not have a very detrimental effect on the credit score if the debt itself if being reduced and paid on time.
Even if retired people carry no balance at all it is worth keeping hold of a credit card which offers an introductory period of 0% on purchases, just in case it becomes necessary to finance an emergency medical bill on credit, one of the major causes of credit card debt amongst the retired.
If a card with 0% APR is held then at least it won’t compound the problem if an unexpected medical bill is paid by interest free credit, as opposed to a credit card carrying a high interest rate.
The majority of retired people who use credit cards do not carry credit card debt and can take advantage of rewards cards which meet their needs. If retirement is the time when vacations will be taken it is worth considering cards which offer free air miles or hotel stays, or good travel insurance cover.
Cash back rewards cards offer the best return on credit card spending, and retired people should consider choosing cards which offer a slight boost to their income in the form of bonuses or statement credits. There are a number of cash back credit cards which offer bonuses as well, which are worth using if the balance is cleared in full each month thus making the interest rate immaterial. The Chase Freedom Visa, the Discover More, and the Chase Sapphire card all give bonuses as well as cash backs on their initial use.
It may be only a matter of time until a credit card issuer follows the lead of the Saga credit card issued in the UK, which is designed specifically for use by the over 50’s, and is one of the most excellent cards available.