I will disagree with the other answers. The idea that there is some to establish a "credit history" is largely a myth propagated by loaners who see it as positive propaganda to increase the numbers of their prospective customers.
You will find some people who claim they were rejected for a card because they had no "credit history," but in every case what these people are not telling you is they also had no income (were students, house wives, or others with no steady income). Anyone who has income can get a credit card or other line of credit regardless of their "credit history." Even people who have gone bankrupt can get credit cards if they have proven income.
If your answer to this is that "you have no income, but still want a credit card", I would advise you to re-read that sentence several times and think carefully about it.
I have never had a credit card and never missed having one, except when trying to rent cars which was somewhat complex and annoying to do in the 2005-2010 time period without a credit card.
Credit cards have a number of disadvantages:
- They provide a temptation to waste money on luxury goods you do not
- The interest rates on credit cards are relatively high
- You greatly increase your chances for having your identity stolen
- All your purchases using the card are tracked and the information is
provided to various organizations and people around the world, many
of whom you would not want having your purchase information if you
knew who they were.
I definitely agree with those who will tell you credit cards are convenient, they are, but for someone who wants to be financially prudent and build wealth they are unnecessary and unwise.
If you don't believe me, read "The Total Money Makeover" by David Ramsey, one of the most famous and best-selling books ever written on personal finance. He actually will give you much better and detailed reasons to avoid CCs than me. After all, who am I, just some dumb rich schmuck with lots of money and no debt and a happy life.
Comment on Culture
I think it is pretty funny we have a lot of spendthrift Americans in this thread basically telling the OP to get lots of credit cards as soon as possible. If you asked the same question in Japan you would get completely different answers and votes. In Japan its hard to even use credit cards. The people there are much more responsible financially than Americans; the average Japanese person has much higher wealth than a person with the same income in the United States. One of the reasons for this, among many, is that the average Japanese person does not use credit cards. A Japanese person, if you translated this question for them, would think the whole thing a typical example of how foolish Americans are.