How to Select the Right Credit Card
With so many credit cards to choose from, consumers are left to fend for themselves in finding the best credit card deals. Fortunately, the Internet, which is loaded with online credit card search and comparison sites, makes the task far less daunting than it once was. Still, unless you know with a fair amount of certainty what it is you are looking for, that “best deal” may remain elusive. Herewith are some tips on how to find the best credit card deals.
Assess Your Credit Needs and Circumstances
In the vast universe of credit cards, there are as many different types as there are varying individual needs. What may be a good deal for one person may not be so good for you. You can quickly narrow down the choices by carefully assessing your particular needs and what it is you want to accomplish by getting a new credit card. If you are trying to build or rebuild your credit, you will be choosing from among a completely different type of credit card than someone who wants to upgrade to a premium credit card with more benefits and a higher credit limit. Many people want to enhance their rewards programs while others are simply trying to lower their overall credit costs. It is important to know what it is exactly that you need from your credit card to zero in on the one that is right for you.
Assess Your Credit Standing
In most cases, the credit card deals you will qualify for will be dictated by your credit standing. What initially appears as a great deal may look entirely different to you when you are approved for a card. The reality is that not everyone qualifies for the best deals. If you have good to very good credit, you could qualify for rewards cards and some with better terms. It is important to know your credit standing so you don’t apply for credit cards for which you have little or no chance of qualifying, otherwise you will hurt your credit score. If you know your credit score, and what is generally required for premium credit cards, you can work to improve your score before applying.
Know How You Use Credit
People use credit in different ways which can be a determinant in the type of credit card to select. Some people will need to carry a balance for period of time. Obviously, you would want to select credit cards with the lowest APRs or look for low or zero interest balance transfer cards. Some people prefer to pay their balance off each month, so they could choose a charge card, such as American Express Gold, or a credit card with a higher APR but a robust cash back program.
Know How Fees Work
It is very important to read the fine print to fully understand the fees that are charged on the account. An increasing number of credit cards do not charge an annual fee, so you should be able to avoid it by shopping and comparing cards. Most cards also charge a late payment fee, which shouldn’t be concern as long as you make on time payments. Avoid applying for any credit card that charges an application fee or an activation fee. These are generally subprime cards offered to people with bad credit.
Shop and Compare
While this ought to go without mentioning, it’s important to recognize the valuable tools available to you online for thoroughly shopping and comparing credit cards. There are a lot of moving parts within credit cards and one great feature could be completely negated by a couple of stealth fees or too many restrictions on the rewards program. With your in-depth assessments of your needs, circumstances, credit standing and use of credit, you can use these tools to quickly shrink the universe of credit cards that might best fit your specific situation.