Back when I was in college, I didn't have a credit card. It was strictly cash for me, whether it was cash in my wallet (unsafe in a dorm) or cash in my checking account. Back then, there wasn't an easy swiper at the checkout to use your debit or credit card to pay for purchases. If I didn't have cash or my checkbook on me, I couldn't pay. It's amazing how much things can change in 20 years.
Now there are innovative and easily accessible ways to own a credit card. GreenDot is one such product and they offer Master Card or Visa branded cards with flexible options including a student card, bill paying card, and online shopping card. These pre-paid credit cards can be purchased at a large number of retailers and can help fill a void that you might have, giving you a personalized approach to finances. My Green Dot choice might not be the same as yours because our needs are bound to be different. Let's look at some scenarios...
First of all, shopping online with my bank's debit card is something that I would never do. I always worry about having my card number stolen and finding a large charge for something that I didn't purchase. A pre-paid card that was used for online shopping only offers a safe online shopping experience. Load money onto the card and safely use it online to shop for items you want without risking your bank account being wiped clean by clever thieves.
Secondly, if you have a teen or college student, a pre-paid card that you can reload can help them learn how to manage their finances. I can remember being at college and running short of money and having to ask my parents to send me $20 to get me through. I had to wait a few days for the mail to come to me, whereas had a product been available then, my parents could just have loaded money onto a card and I would have been set. I have a tween, so this type of product is something that I'd look at in the future.
Finally, a pre-paid or secured credit card can help you re-establish credit or get credit in your name. Having credit in your own name is very important, even if you're a stay at home mom. Aside from our mortgage and car payments, I have a few credit cards that are in my name only. I am always conscious of their due dates and make sure that I pay them on time so that my credit stays in good standing. The Federal Reserve has an informative page discussing the different types of credit cards that are out there to choose from. Plus, I do know a few people who actually don't have a bank account. A pre-paid card would give them some security and the ability to pay bills online or make online purchases.