How to Find the Right Credit Card for You
June 9, 2014
With so many options out there for credit cards, it makes sense to shop around and find the card that works best for you. The good news is that the Internet provides you with opportunities to find the right card for you, based on your own preferences. Here are some tips for getting the best result when you look for a credit card:
Make Sure You Have Good Credit
The first thing to do is to make sure that you have good credit. You are more likely to get the credit card you want when you have good credit. Those with excellent credit get access to the cards with the best rewards programs and signing bonuses.
Make it a point to make your payments on time and in full, and to keep your credit utilization fairly low. That way, you can manage your credit in a way that provides you with the best possible outcome for your finances.
Know Your Current Situation and Financial Needs
The reality is that you shouldn’t have a rewards credit card unless you have no consumer debt, and you don’t carry a balance. If you have debt, you might be better off with a balance transfer card. You will need to have a plan to pay off the balance before the interest rate rises, though.
Be realistic about your situation. If you know that you will pay off your balance each month, then a rewards card can be right for you. However, you need to be honest with yourself. If your interest charges will habitually offset your rewards, rethink the rewards card.
Also, think about which rewards would be most useful to you. This includes your signing bonus. If you travel frequently, and can get a card with a generous miles program, it makes sense to sign up for the big bonus, and then earn more points as you move forward. This can result in free trips. I know people who don’t ever pay for airfare because they can get it with their rewards.
Others find that cash back cards make more sense for them, since they regularly spend on things that offer cash back. Rotating category cards can require that you pay attention, though, so if you aren’t likely to sign up for the categories each quarter, these might not make sense. If you do most of your spending on everyday items like groceries and gas, it can make sense to get a card with tiered rewards so that you can get more cash back for the things you spend on anyway.
And don’t forget about perks and protections. Many cards offer rental car insurance coverage, or extended warranties on items you buy.
Ask for Better Terms
You can use the Internet to find a card that works for you, or even call an issuer. Card aggregators allow you to enter your preferences and can help you find what works for you. You can also talk to someone at an issuer to get an idea of what might fit your needs.
While you’re at it, though, see if you can get better terms. One of my card issuers has permanently waived the annual fee – just because I asked. Others might be willing to give you a lower rate, or waive other fees. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you can use a deal offered by another issuer or on another card to help create the perfect card for you.
What are you looking for in a credit card? Leave a comment!
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