Searching for a credit card is so easy. After all, there are thousands of offers out there. The huge number of offers, however, should have you expressing much caution. Indeed, not all cards are alike and some have better benefits than others. Here’s our list of the credit card shopping tips we all can use for Financial Prosperity.
It is important to determine how you will use your new credit card. For instance, if you plan to pay off your purchases every month, then your interest rate won’t matter because you won’t be charged interest unless you spread out payments.
However, if you imagine yourself using the card frequently and spreading out your payments, then you will be assessed an interest rate. At this juncture it is important that you shop for a credit card that has a low interest rate. Further, if you can get one with a low introductory rate, then you can save on interest. That is, as long as your payments are made on time and completed before interest rates take a hike.
Compare Your Rates
Examine each credit card offer carefully. The easiest comparisons are typically with the interest rate. The term APR means annual percentage rate or what you will pay for your purchases that you carry over from month to month.
Many new cards provide an introductory APR. This means you may be charged a small or zero percent interest rate for the first six or 12 months that you have the card. Buy anything during that time and your rate will stay low, provided you pay off your purchase before the introductory term ends.
There may also be various fees charged for using a credit card. An annual fee may be assessed, but these are usually for new card holders or for people with less than stellar credit. You may also find a fee for transferring balances to a zero percent loan. In this case you might be charged three or four percent of the balance to get that loan.
Start With Your Bank
If you have an existing relationship with a bank or credit union, these financial institutions are the natural place to look. Your banker may present you with a special deal, especially if it is tied with your current savings account.
But don’t stop there — there are competing institutions that want your business too. These banks and credit unions may have offers that are better than your present institution. If you like your bank or credit union that much, you could ask them to match your best rate. Some may, especially if they value your business highly.
Read the Fine Print
What disappoints a lot of people about their credit cards is that they discover certain restrictions or charges that they were not aware of. On closer scrutiny, that information was printed plainly on the disclosure statement. They simply accepted the terms without reading them.
The fine print or legalese will spell out important things about your credit card, including penalties for late payments, penalty interest rates, payment address, consumer phone number and much more.
Your Credit Card
It is important that once you acquire a new card, that you make your payments promptly. Set up alerts that can be sent to your smartphone and make your payments online, if possible.
You should know that there are consumer protections built in to your card. For example, credit card issuers must provide you with notice whenever your interest rate changes. In addition, if something is erroneously charged to your account, you will have the means on how to free yourself of that mistake.