When choosing a credit card it is likely that you will use that card for a very long time. Indeed, a recent study showed that 25 million users kept the same credit card for one decade, and another 20 million never changed the card they use.
Although you can — and perhaps you should — change cards more often, switching the card you use can be important if you have saved your card in online accounts and set up an automatic payment using the card.
8 Basic Tips on How to Choose a Credit Card
Since you are likely to have a long-term relationship with a credit card provider, it is important to choose the right one. This eight basic step guide you that how to choose a credit card wisely and how can simplify this process, so just follow the steps to find the right card for you.
1. Decide What You Will Use for The Card
First of all, you need to decide what the purpose of your credit card is, as this will determine your approach to finding the right one for your situation.
If you need your credit card for general spending, you are probably looking for a card with the lowest interest rate or the most generous rewards, depending on whether you’ll be carrying a balance. But if your goal is to use a credit card for other purposes, such as debt consolidation or business use, you will need to explore various options for the cards.
Creditors specifically offer different cards for different users, so it makes sense to find a card based on your desired use.
2. Determine Whether You Will Be Carrying a Balance
If you plan to carry a balance, a low interest rate should always exceed the sign-up bonuses and a generous rewards programs. Since credit card interest rates usually reach 15% per year, and you usually earn from 1% to 2% in rewards for most purchases, it is easy to see why it is better off preference to the interest paid.
This is especially true if you can find a credit card that offers you a promotional 0% per annum for purchases. If you can repay your credits before the expiration of the promotional rate or transfer the balance when the rate rises, you do not have to pay interest.
3. Look at Your Expenses
If you do not plan to carry a balance, the maximum rewards you can earn by using your credit card is a smart move. It means finding a card that matches your expenses.
There are many types of cards that give bonus rewards points for certain types of purchases. These include cards that provide bonuses rewards for:
- Tourist shopping, such as hotels or flight tickets
- Business expenses
Some cards rotate their promotional categories, which means that at different times of the year you can get additional prizes for gas, groceries, restaurants or travel. Others keep their program in the same year, so you will always receive bonus points for hotels, gas or anything that is what the card promotes.
You’ll want your card to fit your lifestyle, so look at the credit card statements for the past few months to determine trends showing the types of purchases you make most often.
4. Interest Rate
In the credit card offer, the interest rate is displayed as annual or percentage rate. This can be either a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate tied to another financial benchmark, most often to the base interest rate. With a fixed-rate card, you know what the interest rate will be from month to month; a card with a variable rate can fluctuate. However, even a credit card with a fixed interest rate may vary depending on certain triggers, such as a paying your card – or any card – a delay or over-limiting. Or because the credit card issuer decides to change it. Yes, they can really do it; they just have to notify you.
5. Credit Limit
This is the amount that the credit card issuer wants to allow you to borrow. Depending on your credit history, it can be from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. You do not need a situation where you are close to maxing out your credit limit. This can damage your credit score – and some credit card issuers have customers’ credit limits to an amount that is below their current balance. Adding insult to a injury, there is a penalty when this happens.
6. Understanding Credit Card Fees
Credit cards may have a certain amount of fees. Some of them can be avoided depending on how you use your card. Others are required no matter what. Total credit card expenses include:
Annual fee: This is a fee that is charged once a year at the expense of your credit card. Some credit cards waive the annual fee in the first year.
Late fee: Credit cards issuers charge a late fee if your monthly payment is less than the minimum payment or received after the due date.
Balance transfer fee: When transferring a balance from another credit card, you will be charged a balance transfer fee, which is a percentage of the transfer amount.
Cash advance fee: If you use your credit card to withdraw cash from your credit limit, you will be charged a cash advance fee. Advance cash payment is a percentage of the advance amount.
Financial charge: When you carry a balance on your credit card, interest is calculated in the form of finance charge.
Foreign transaction fee: This fee is charged for purchases made in other currencies. The commission is usually a percentage of the transaction amount and can be waived with certain types of credit cards.
7. Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a number that summarizes the information in your credit report. Many lenders and creditors use your credit score rating to decide whether to approve your applications and set your pricing.
Most credit card issuers send updates to credit bureaus, companies that collect and store information about credit reports information. This means that the way you use your credit card will directly affect your credit score.
Using your credit card will help you create and maintain a good credit score. The two best things you can do to get a good credit score are maintaining a low balance and make your monthly credit card payments on time each month. Buy everyting with a credit card.
8. Apply for Your Card
Finally, the last step is to apply your chosen card. You can apply online and get a response within a few minutes to several days, depending on the card issuer and your credit history.
Once you have your card, do not think that you should always use it. After about a year or two, you’ll need to repeat these steps again to make sure that you still have a card that meets your spending needs and gives you the rewards you really want to use.