Planning on getting a new credit card? Here are tips on how to make the right choice:
1. Read online reviews. There are many types of credit cards in the market and credit card review websites are great tools to help you narrow down your choices. These sites arrange credit cards based on specific categories. You can also read about the best and the worst features of each card without the need to hop from one website to another.
2. Check the interest rate. Of course, you want a credit card with a low interest rate. But watch out for zero interest or low interest rate promos. Before you sign up make sure that the interest rate will still stay reasonable when the introductory period expires.
3. Compare all costs. Remember, the interest rate isn’t the only highlight of a credit card. Be sure to check out the other fees as well (annual fees, late fees, transfer fees, currency conversion rates, transaction charges, etc.).
4. Read the fine print. To compare credit cards better, take the time to read the Terms and Conditions page, after you’ve narrowed down your choices. Here, you’ll see all the costs associated with your card as well as the rules and disclosures.
5. Understand the rules of your card. If you’re applying for a reward credit card, make sure that you are clear about the specific rules of the reward program. For example, most reward credit cards forfeit rewards if you missed even a single payment.
6. Choose a card that matches your lifestyle. Different credit cards are created to match different lifestyles. This is especially true with reward credit cards. For example, if you’re often on trips, you may want to consider a travel rewards card. If you own a car, maybe you’ll want to get a credit card with gasoline rewards. If you’re not a traveler and you don’t own a car, perhaps a cash back rewards card is the more practical choice for you.
7. Don’t base your decision on the ads. Don’t choose a credit card because the ads say it’s the best for you. Remember that the ads only present the best features of the card. The weakest points are often hidden in the fine print.
8. Know what others say. Before choosing, you’ll also want to find out what other people think. Based from their experience, what do can they say about it? Would they recommend it to friends or family?
9. Don’t send many applications at once. Some people send online applications just to get the free shirt or free mug. But sending out many applications to different credit card companies at one time can pull down your credit score. This is especially true if one of your applications get declined.
10. Make sure that you’re ready for it. Do you really need it? If you already own one or two cards, do you really need to get another one? Are you ready for the responsibilities of being a cardholder? Remember that owning a credit card isn’t a ticket for spending. Being a credit card holder comes with the obligation of paying back your debts at all times.
*Do you have a credit card? Which one would you recommend? Do you have other tips to add to the list?