Why Credit Cards Are Better Than Cash

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Last updated on September 20th, 2023

The coronavirus pandemic has seen more consumers turn away from cash and towards contactless payment options, such as credit cards and debit cards. This shift towards credit offers the benefit of avoiding potential contact with COVID-19 and provides some lesser-known advantages. Here is why credit cards are better than cash for making purchases.

Cash Vs. Credit Cards: Why Credit Cards Are the Better Option

Points, Bonuses, & Perks

Rewards are the most visible of the benefits of credit cards vs. cash. Credit card rewards come in several forms – and provide exceptional value that can save cardholders serious money. Some cards provide airline miles towards specific frequent flyer programs, while other cards provide points towards rewards programs (including hotel loyalty programs), travel portals, and general rewards programs.

Still, others offer cash back rewards. According to a study from Consumer Reports, the average family could realistically expect to save up to $1,000 in rewards each year – with cash back the most popular reward option.

Credit card perks run much deeper than points, however. Some premium cards offer exceptional travel benefits and statement credits that make life easier – and travel more comfortable. The Platinum Card from American Express is at the pinnacle of credit card perks and credits. The card offers airport lounge access, TSA and security fast track credits, savings on streaming services, Equinox gym memberships, and many more.

Consumer Protections

Credit cards feature an array of consumer protections that cash simply cannot provide. When you make a purchase with a credit card, you have the peace of mind that your purchase is protected from fraud, defects, and other concerns.

Zero Fraud Liability

Most credit cards provide comprehensive fraud liability – also known as Zero Fraud Liability. Zero Fraud Liability is a standard feature on all Mastercard and Visa credit cards. It protects cardholders from any fraudulent activity should their card be lost, stole, or used without their consent.

Price Protection

Price protection is another common protection that cash simply can’t provide. This protection helps protect a cardholder from price drops once they’ve made a purchase. If an item purchased goes on sale, or is found cheaper elsewhere, many card issuers will reimburse the cardholder the difference.

Return Protection

Return protection is less common but is another great feature of credit cards that cash purchases do not provide. Purchasing with an eligible credit card offers the holder the ability to return a new, working item to a store within a set period for a full refund. The period for returns typically runs between sixty and ninety days (two to three months) from the original purchase. Only a few card issuers offer return protection, with Chase and American Express the most notable examples.


A chargeback is a form of refund where the card issuer refunds the purchase price to a cardholder at the cardholder’s request. Unlike a merchant-initiated refund, chargebacks allow credit cardholders to regain their money from an unscrupulous or dishonest merchant.


One of the more overlooked benefits of a credit card – and why credit cards are better than cash – is the security cards offer. Carrying cash comes with a level of risk, with just some of the dangers being:

  • Theft
  • Loss
  • Damage to currency, making it unsuitable for purchases

Credit cards, however, offer protection against these issues. First and foremost, credit cards features the protections outlined above. These protections protect the cardholder from unauthorized use after theft or losing the card.

Credit cards are also resilient in the event of a loss – and not just because of Zero Fraud Liability. Many card issuers offer products that work with digital wallets – such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Additionally, many banks offer virtual card numbers – making payments without a physical credit card a breeze.

Other security features with a credit card include EMV chip technology, which adds an additional layer of security for purchases and contactless payments (which can help reduce contact with pathogens and other bugs).

Related Article: Retail Credit Cards: Your Ultimate Guide

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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