This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

A Credit Card Isn't an Emergency Fund

Many people consider a credit card their emergency fund. While convenient, it's rarely a good idea for most people, especially during times of economic turmoil.

There seem to be two reasons that people opt for the credit card as an emergency fund rather than building a stash of cash in a savings account: the time it takes to raise enough money and the paltry interest earned from a bank account. Here are a number of reasons to reconsider.

Better interest rates: Placing emergency-fund money in an investment that earns a better return than a savings account usually relies on the false assumption that some securities always rise. Stocks and other investments can be volatile, especially in the short term.

Since by definition an emergency occurs unexpectedly, money invested in other financial vehicles might need to be withdrawn at any time. This includes times when it isn't financially in your best interest to do so.

Time factor: There is no doubt that it takes time and discipline to build up an emergency fund. In doing so, you may even need to use a credit card as an interim safety net. But, eventually, you will have saved enough money.

Credit card limits can be reduced: Credit card companies, to reduce risks, are lowering spending limits, even on cards whose owners have good credit. The likelihood of a reduction increases as your financial situation worsens. If you lose your job or fail to make payments on some debt obligations, it's possible your credit card limit will be cut.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,089.62 -23.92 -0.14%
S&P 500 1,987.86 +4.33 0.22%
NASDAQ 4,473.2920 +17.2760 0.39%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs