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Credit cards are useful for emergencies and big, urgent purchases. But what if you want to buy something that you can wait for? Whether it’s a new smartphone or a hotel booking, you may be wondering if it’s better to buy on credit instead of saving up for a few months. Here’s what you need to know about making big purchases with credit cards.

Benefits of using credit cards for big purchases

Using a credit card lets you get what you want quickly, and is good for time-sensitive deals that can save money. If you wanted to buy something during a limited-time sale, you would not have time to save up for the purchase, so a credit card can help.


Credit cards can also help you save with points, cash back and exclusive deals. These go well with big purchases because you can accumulate rewards faster. With a credit card, your current purchase can turn into airline miles, shopping vouchers and gifts for your loved ones in the future.


For some shops, you can use credit cards to break down big purchases. For example, you may find yourself having to spend RM1200 at a dentist. If you convert your purchase to a 12-month 0%-interest payment plan, you can get your treatment immediately and pay off your purchase in RM100 instalments.

Should you use your credit card for all big purchases?

Although they offer many benefits, it may not be a good idea to throw caution to the wind and use credit cards for every big purchase. So when you should use your card? This depends on your spending and repayment habits, and also your card’s benefits. For example, if your card gives cash back for online spending, it might be beneficial to use it for online purchases, and use your cash to pay off the card.


However, you have to make sure that you can afford the purchase and manage your credit card debt. Try to avoid carrying your debt to the long-term. Pay your bill on time, and make sure you can keep up with the interest if you carry your balance over to the next month.

How to make sure you don’t overspend

It can be easy to make impulse buys when you have a credit card, so it helps to have a set list of things you can buy with it. This can include insurance, travel expenses and household appliances. If you want to buy something big that isn’t on the list, take time to consider if it’s something you need at this time.


When you buy something on credit, you're actually saving up for it in the future. So it’s important to make sure that what you’re buying is something you can also realistically afford through saving. If you can’t afford to pay your credit card bill in full by the due date, you might end up paying much more than the purchase price because of the interest rate.


If you already use your card for daily purchases, be careful that you don't exceed your credit limit with a big purchase. This can make it difficult for you to pay for the smaller purchases you need, especially if you have automatic recurring payments.


With the proper precautions, credit cards can be a convenient way to make big purchases. Looking for a credit card that will maximise your benefits? Check out our selection of CIMB Credit Cards that offer cash rebates, bonus points, CIMB 0% Easy Pay and more.


This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve all our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.