Q&A: Why I live without credit cards

By Emma Lunn

Living without credit cards in this day and age is difficult. For one thing, being credit-shy means lenders might refuse to do business with you. For another, you'll have to save up for things you want and, often, go without things you can't afford.

For some, however, a card-less life means freedom -- freedom from the fear of credit card bills and freedom from interest charges. We spoke with Samantha Peters, a 24-year-old PR executive from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has never taken out a credit card -- and doesn't plan to.

Creditcards.com: What made you decide to live without credit cards? no-credit

Samantha Peters: I decided to live without credit cards because I think it's a really bad habit to get into. If you can't afford something right now, you should save up for it, otherwise you become complacent and can get into a really difficult position. Obviously, I realise this isn't realistic for something huge like buying a house, but for the most part, I think it's a sensible philosophy to live by.

Another reason is that I think I'm in quite enough debt just from getting my degree.  I don't think I need any more! I have a hefty student overdraft and have learned my lesson from that.

Creditcards.com: Have you ever had a credit card?

Peters: I've always avoided taking one out. I was offered one with my student bank account and have been offered store credit cards on almost every shopping trip, but have always refused.

Creditcards.com: What is the most difficult aspect of living without credit cards?

Peters: I don't find it too difficult at the moment. My partner and I are pretty good with money and are lucky enough to rent a house that is fully furnished, but I would imagine if we'd had to fully kit out a new home that it would be very difficult to buy everything we need without credit.

Creditcards.com: Are there any things you can't do without credit (like renting a car or booking a hotel)?

Peters: I haven't come across any myself. I think it would be ridiculous to have this as a stipulation, as not everybody needs or wants a credit card.

Creditcards.com: What are some of the most rewarding parts about going credit-less?

Peters: That would definitely be not having to worry about paying off big debts and accruing interest.

Creditcards.com: How do you normally pay for things?

Peters: I mostly use my debit card to pay for things. I don't often carry cash.

Creditcards.com: Do you avoid other forms of borrowing too, such as loans or overdrafts?

Peters: I graduated from the University of Sunderland almost two years ago, and am only just getting into the position of being able to pay off my student overdraft. Looking back, I didn't really need the overdraft, aside from one occasion where my student finance was late in arriving. But as a naïve young student I took it, and have been living in it ever since. I've never taken out any other loan, aside from my student loans, and don't intend to unless absolutely necessary.

Creditcards.com: Are you worried about your credit score not being very good because you haven't got a history of using credit cards?

Peters: To be honest, that has never really crossed my mind.

See related: UK consumers being extra cautious with credit, Britons have an appetite for debit

Published: 30 April 2012