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Keep it Open? 5 Reasons You Should Pay Your Bar Tab With a Credit Card

Sept. 11, 2014
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
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If hitting the local watering hole is on the agenda this weekend, you’re probably thinking more about what you’ll wear than how you’ll pay for your drinks. But this is definitely something to consider, and there’s one payment method that should be used above all others.

Here are 5 reasons you should always pay your bar tab with your credit card:

1. With the right card, you’ll rack up extra rewards

The Nerds think you should use a credit card for every purchase you possibly can – after all, that’s how to earn big points, miles or cash back. But if you’re using a credit card that gives extra rewards on restaurant purchases, using it at a bar is an especially smart idea.

Here’s why: Most credit card issuers code most bars as restaurants, which means that you could be earning serious rewards when you use your card at your favorite cocktail joint. Don’t pass up this opportunity!

2. It’s safer than carrying cash

A few glasses of wine tends to cloud the mind, and this can lead to mishandling things you’re otherwise careful with – like cash. A lost credit card can be easily replaced, but lost cash is gone for good. Protect your funds by opting for credit every time.

3. You’ll be able to easily track your spending

Going out with friends for a couple of beers is fun, but the cost can add up fast. If you’re on a budget, keeping track of your happy hour spending is much easier with a credit card than it is with cash.

Since most credit card issuers offer fairly robust online banking tools these days, you can simply go online and add up what you’ve spent on bars and dining out over the course of a month. On the other hand, keeping track of all those cash receipts is a hassle, which could lead you to give up on budgeting altogether. Go with credit to more easily keep tabs on your tabs.

4. If the party goes longer than expected, you’re covered

You never know where the night might take you, and if you end up staying out later than expected, you’ll be glad you brought your credit card along. Withdrawing cash from the ATM at the start of a big night out means you could find yourself running out of money before you run out of party.

But assuming you’re staying well below the credit limit on your card (which you should be for the sake of your credit score), this isn’t a concern. Plus, you’ll be sure to have a way to pay for a cab home when the night comes to an end.

All in all, keeping a credit card on-hand is a good way to ensure that you won’t miss out on funny moments or “you had to be there” inside jokes.

5. You might impress a future date

If you’re headed to the bar in the hopes of finding your next date, your credit card could help you seal the deal. According to a 2014 NerdWallet study, 24% of single women say they are “somewhat” or “much more likely” to date someone who uses a premium credit card.

What’s more, 40% of single folks are “somewhat more likely” or “much more likely” to date someone with excellent credit. Since using a credit card responsibly is a great way to boost your credit score, choosing to pay for your new sweetie’s drink with plastic is a great first step toward something serious. Bottoms up!

» MORE: Why nearly every purchase should be on a credit card

Couple at a bar image via Shutterstock