The internet is awash with information about credit cards. There are several credit card companies and banks educating clients about their products. Other websites and blogs (like us) give you tips and nuggets that help you make decisions.
One thing is for sure, you are bound to get confused by the amount of information on the net.
Before you dismiss this as probably another article jam-packed with obvious information, consider looking within. Ask yourself, how do I find the best credit card for me? You don’t have to get confused by the various offers by card issuers, but you can focus on what you want to accomplish.
If that’s you, read on and find out how you can look within to find the best credit card for you.
For starters, let’s be clear. Even President Trump couldn’t find a credit card that would perfectly fit his liking, and chances are high that neither would you.
The best credit card for a traveling salesperson is not the same as what would fit a school teacher. The best card for a business executive in New York probably wouldn’t fit the bill for another in Texas. So it all depends on what you are looking for and what you intend to use it for.
What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to rebuild your credit history? Do you want to consolidate your debts? Do you want to track your expenses or are you just joining the bandwagon of spend now pay later without any specific objectives?
Your credit card speaks volumes about you. It says a lot about your financial journey and your philosophy of life. If Socrates were alive today, he would probably say this about credit cards, NosceteIpsum (know thyself).
A credit card is a reflection of you and your lifestyle.
If you are looking to be a first-time credit card owner, the first question that came to mind was “Should I get a credit card?” The next thing on your mind was “How do I find the best credit card for me?”
Credit cards offer debts of convenience, but they come at a price. Several studies have shown that credit card holders are bigger spenders than cash spenders. So if you are trying to cut down on your spending, or you want to reduce debt, credit cards are perhaps not the best idea.
But, if you have a financial goal that a credit card would help you attain it, then here’s how you can get the best credit card deals online.
What’s Your Topmost Financial Goals?
Do You want to Build up or Restore Your Credit?
Are you fresh from college? Have you just turned 21 with no previous credit card and you are already on the fast lane? A credit card is an excellent way to build your credit. Also, if you’ve made some wrong decisions in the past which dented your credit, you can consult creditrepair.com and check out how you can rebuild your credit. One option you can use to rebuild your credit is to use a credit card.
Whether you are a nascent user or an erred user, you can qualify for a secured credit card and use it to build your credit.
Do You Want to Manage Your Expenses?
You could be having trouble tracking your expenses, whether in the business or at home. Credit cards are widely accepted in the US and you can transfer this mundane task to the card company. Just use the credit card for every transaction and wait for your monthly statement to reconcile. You can also use your credit card statement along with Apps such as Trim Financials.
Do You Want to Consolidate Debt?
If you have multiple debts and occasionally find yourself falling back on payments, a balance transfer credit card can help you get peace of mind. You can consolidate your loans and credit card balances to one card at very low promotional APRs. That’ll give you the opportunity to supercharge your efforts to get rid of excess debt.
After you have answered why you need a credit card? Then you can proceed to answer the next crucial question on the credit card. How much will it cost you?
Rather, how much are you willing to pay for the Credit Card?
Consider Interest Rates
The basic rule often is, lower interest rate cards are better. However, when you look closely the low-interest rate terms could be an enticement. Just like bait, set out for you to bite and reel you in. Several “low-interest rate cards” often attract debilitating penalties on any delayed payments.
There are also credit cards that have “interest-free periods.” For instance, the issuer could extend a 55 days interest-free period. These types of cards often attract a higher interest rate and you should go for it only if you are certain that you’ll be clearing your balance on time. Not just making the minimum payment.
On the other hand, there are the “no interest-free period” credit cards that also charge higher rates than the “low-interest rate” cards. However, if you know from the onset that you have a weakness in making on-time payments, go for these kinds of cards. You’ll definitely end up paying less in interests.
As Socrates would put it, know thyself.
Consider Card Charges and fees
Credit card companies and banks impose multiple fees. They range from annual account-maintenance fees, reward program fees, late payment fees, fees for exceeding your limit, international transaction fees, cash advance fees, retailer surcharges, and others.
The law requires that all card issuers and merchants disclose the fees due before they hit your account. So before you settle on a credit card, consider and compare how much you will be paying for it preferably on an annual basis.
Perhaps you’d like to make every buck count and get the most returns from every dollar you spend. If that’s you, you’ll be on the look-out for the credit card with the right rewards scheme to accomplish your goal. Some cards offer cold cash back; others accumulate points which you could exchange for various products. There are specialized airline cards which give free travel and hotel cards which give discounted accommodation and occasionally throw in a free hotel night. All in all, a rewards card that matches your lifestyle can help you save money.
So, let’s look a little deeper into the Rewards Schemes
Cash Back Credit Cards
We all love receiving hard cash. Cash back credit cards enable you to claim a portion of cash on every purchase you make. They are not all be the same. Therefore a look at the fine print will help you know which card will give you maximum return for every dollar spent.
In most cases, such cards often require you to go through an elaborate signing up and subscription process. Also, such cards often have a threshold expenditure which you should hit before the “cash back” kicks in. The bottom line is, knowing the right card depends on how well you know yourself.
Points Credit Cards
A less stringent and flexible card is the points credit card. With these kinds of cards, you gain points for each dollar you spend. Later on, you can redeem your points for a variety of products.
How to find the best credit card for me? Find the card that frequently offers bonus points on your favorite brands. And if shopping is your opium, you can add to the credit card deals by getting the best coupon deals. Simply check out coupons.com and add on to your shopping bliss without bursting your limit.
Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards & Airline Miles Credit Cards
If your occupation involves lots of travel and you have a specific chain of hotels which you prefer, or your employer recommends. Or if there’s a particular airline which you just have to fly, then a branded hotel loyalty or airline miles credit card is what you’re looking for.
You will get free nights as well as other perks by using your card regularly. The same applies for airline miles credit cards. If you are a frequent flier and you are loyal to a particular airline, you can earn points as you make purchases with the card as well as gain bonus miles every time you fly with that airline.
When you’ve accumulated sufficient miles, you can trade them in for a free air ticket.
Before you choose a hotel loyalty or airline miles card, you need to understand your expenditure patterns and preferred airlines or hotels.
Once again you have to know thyself!
When used wisely, credit cards become excellent companions for convenient purchasing, building your credit, consolidating debt. They are good vehicles to help us attain our financial goals.
Rewards schemes such as cash back programs, loyalty point plans, hotel loyalty, and airline-branded cards add to the flavor and convenience the credit cards bring. In addition, credit cards have better fraud protection features when you compare them to debit cards. However, when we use them foolishly they could lead you to financial disaster.
These checks within will help you find the best credit card for you. But, if it’s still quite a task for you to go through multiple features online, you can reach out to credit land and they will do the math and comparison for you.
Remember it’s not just about the rewards that you can earn. The most appropriate way to find “the best card for me” is zeroing in on the card which not only rhymes with your lifestyle but also provides the benefits at the minimum interests and fees.