Can You Live Without a Credit Card?

Can You Live Without A Credit Card

A few years ago, my boyfriend and I were trying to rent a car for a day trip. I was under 25 and we didn’t want to pay the extra underage charges, so he filled out all the paperwork on his own. He was denied the rental because he didn’t have a credit card.

He’d never missed a bill payment in his life and made well over a six-figure salary, but none of that mattered.

We offered to leave a large cash deposit, forms of ID and any collateral we could think of, and that didn’t matter either. The policy required a credit card.

That experience made me question whether it’s possible to live without a credit card.

1. Travel

As you can tell from my anecdote, travel expenses, be they renting a car or reserving a hotel room, are difficult to secure without a credit card.

Many companies require a credit card at check-in to cover possible incidentals and/or damage.

You may be able to use a debit card from a major provider like Visa or MasterCard instead, but that often comes with a sizeable hold on your checking account.

You’ll want to make sure you have enough money in the account to cover any funds put on hold.

2. Secure spending

While you can use a debit card to make both in-person and online purchases, credit cards have more protections in place to prevent fraud.

Debit cards are directly linked to your bank account and once the cash is gone, it’s gone. Whereas with a credit card, you can call your credit card company to cancel the card, stop or withhold payment, prevent further loss and even recoup stolen funds.

“Unfortunately, debit card use does

not appear on your credit report.”

3. Tracking

Credit card statements serve as an excellent way to track spending, which can be quite helpful come tax time.

If you’re sticking to cash, you’ll have to come up with a comprehensive and well-organized system for all your receipts.

4. Emergencies

In an ideal world, emergencies should be covered by the savings in your designated emergency fund, but having a credit card can serve as a back-up plan, providing some additional peace of mind.

5. Credit building

On time and reliable payment of bills is a huge factor in determining your credit score. Unfortunately, debit card use does not appear on your credit report, so it can’t help you build or improve your credit.

Is it possible to live without a credit card? Yes, but it can be quite inconvenient, even dangerous.

You may need to dedicate some extra time to researching alternatives in all situations where credit card use is customary.

Photo source:

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free for users, we receive advertising compensation from the financial products listed on this page. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear on the page (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include listings for all financial products.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.