We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. We're on your side, even if it means we don't make a cent.
At Nerd Wallet, we thoroughly research financial products and companies, and adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to find you the best choices.
We even share how we make money so you can rely on our expert advice and recommendations with clarity and confidence. Like the real world, it’s full of malice, deceit and people looking to make a fast buck.
But unlike the real world, criminals can run their operations from the safety and anonymity of a keyboard.
And if you have enough savings to buy upfront, you won't need credit for big purchases, like a new car, either.
If you have the resources and if you're willing to live simply and forego some opportunities, a credit-free existence certainly isn't out of the range of possibility.
Debit cards, which come with checking accounts and are supported by major credit card companies, work just like a credit card would. If you're looking to only rent forever, you can probably compensate for a low score with larger security deposits or by looping in cosigners.
Secured credit cards, for which you make a cash deposit equal to your credit limit, also will get the job done without requiring any preexisting credit history. If you're trying to take that next step though, good credit is enormously important. Cash might get the job done, but if you're choosing not to use credit cards you're probably leaving money on the table, plain and simple.
Achieving the full benefits of credit health takes time.
If you haven't had many credit accounts in the past, you might not have a score at all at this point.
If you lose a credit card, it can be canceled and replaced. then credit will likely be necessary at some point in your life.