If you’ve gotten the jitters about running “credit card Philippines” on the search engine of your choice, you can’t be blamed. Credit cards often get a bad rep for enabling impulse buying, getting in the way of one’s budget for living expenses, and helping to incur debt.

But as with many other things in life, the best policy to take with a credit card is to use it in moderation. With some self-control, responsibility over your spending, and awareness about your overall financial health, you’ll be able to see your credit card as a ticket to financial freedom—and not a ticket to spiraling debt.

Get to know the positive side of owning your own credit card before you search for options and apply for a card issued in your name at a bank or a credit card Philippines company. Here are five ways to use a credit card to save money, spend wisely, and stay on top of your financial goals.

  1. You can use it at your convenience. Having a credit card at your disposal means that you can make important purchases at virtually any establishment, all on a cashless basis. If you are the type of person who feels uncomfortable carrying large amounts of cash around, a credit card tucked safely into your wallet dispels the need to do so.
  2. You can use it for online purchases. If you’re after a product or service that’s only available online, you’ll have the means to pay for it immediately with a credit card. In most cases, paying with a credit card is the safest option you’ll have. A reputable e-commerce website will come outfitted with security software for credit payment, and some companies also offer purchase protection insurance in case the item you bought with your card is lost or damaged. You’ll get the most value out of your purchase by receiving it on time, via a secure platform, and with fewer chances of dealing with fraud.
  3. You can accumulate points for the reward programs the card is tied to. A number of credit card companies in the Philippines market their products through reward programs, and they have good reason to do so. As a customer, you’ll have access to the many useful incentives tied to your credit card. You could save a lot of money if your purchases with your card helped you score discounts in retail stores, rebates for gasoline, or frequent flyer miles.
  4. You can use your transaction history to organize info on your monthly expenses. For some credit card users, the billing system is as important as the card itself. When you sign up for a credit card, you’re also signing up to use state-of-the-art data tools that make tracking expenses easier. You’ll be able to check your credit on the company’s website—or through an app—and get a bird’s eye view of your spending situation.
  5. You can use your card to build your credit history. In what is perhaps the most important function yet, a credit card can help you attain a good standing with financial institutions. If you keep a good transaction record with your card—and follow practices like paying your bill before the due date—you’ll demonstrate your trustworthiness with your finances and your ability to pay back debts. There are considerable benefits to having good credit. For example, it could help you score better interest rates on your next card, increase your chances of being accepted for a business loan, or make it easier for you to secure a travel visa.

Of course, these are only possible if you apply a common-sense approach to spending with your credit card: never charge for what you can’t afford, don’t use your card to take cash advances, and resist the urge to impulse-buy or spend on what’s not necessary. It would also be a good idea to create a monthly budget just for your card, take notes about your expenditures, and go over the fine print several times.

The bottom line is: if you are a responsible spender, a credit card will make things easier—and not harder—on your financial situation. With that said, don’t overlook the possibilities with your own credit card, and don’t be afraid to apply!