Are you a credit card holder? If yes, do you know what kind you are?
Ryan Guina, founder and editor of cashmoneylife.com, lists down the 5 main types of credit card users:
- Max Payers – pay in full on-time, every time. While credit card companies don’t make as much money from Max Payers as they do from other customers, they are still profitable customers to have around. Credit card companies charge stores around 3% for each transaction, so even when they are paying Max Payers a 1% cash back reward, the credit card companies are still making money. Max Payers are also important to the credit card companies because it allows them to lend out more money. Think about this for a second – if credit card holders didn’t pay the money back regularly, the credit card companies would have less money to lend.
- Revolvers – always carry debt. These are the favorite customers of credit card companies. These customers only make the minimum payment or slightly more, and often stretch their payments out for years. Their debt may be large or small, but it is rarely paid off in full. On the occasion when the credit card does get completely paid off, this type of credit card user will usually make new charges. The interest rates and fees these users pay are the bread and butter of the credit card industry.
- Deadbeats – never pay, nor have any intention of paying. These are the credit card companies’ least favorite type of customer. Deadbeats are what keep interest rates and fees high for everyone else. Some of these cards are obtained fraudulently, or by people who make a game out of signing up for every card they can so they can get a free t-shirt, store discount, or other small reward. Deadbeats are bad for credit card companies, and they are bad for the other consumers. Don’t be a deadbeat.
- The Arbitragers – game the system to make money from 0% balance transfers. This is something that has only been around for a few years, and some people have turned this into an art form – borrowing from various credit card companies and earning money from the interest. Many credit card companies have recently cracked down on this practice by reducing the amount of 0% balance transfer offers, or by implementing high fees to transfer the balances. However, there are still enough companies doing it to make it profitable to people who know what they are doing.
- The Reformed Credit Card User, or, the Non-User. These are former credit card users who, for one reason or another, have decided to stop using credit cards altogether – including for emergencies. Usually, reformed credit card users have had previous problems with credit card debt and have decided the best way for them to stay out of credit card debt is to stop using their credit cards. The credit card companies miss these customers dearly because they usually came from the Revolvers group. Credit card companies often try enticing these former customers with special incentives to bring them back.
We’re pretty sure you were able to identify yourself with a certain type of credit card user as you were going through the list. From our perspective, there’s only one type of category that you and any credit card holder should belong in (or at least strive to belong in) – the Max Payers. The general rule of thumb when it comes to credit cards is that you only swipe and purchase what you have the money for. Meaning, if you don’t have liquid cash on hand to make the purchase, don’t make the purchase. Otherwise, you can end up not being able to pay for the things you spend on today and eventually find yourself with an accumulated amount of debt– the kind of debt that grows every time you miss the deadline and don’t pay for them.
Apply the right practices when using credit cards, and be very careful and critical of how you spend your money and manage your budget. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of proper budgeting. People don’t get to pay balances on time when they lack the funds to, and most of the time it’s because they mismanaged their finances and overspent on things. Spend only on the things you need, limit spending within your means, and most importantly, only spend what you have the money to spend on.