Choosing a credit card can be a challenge, especially if you want to find one with the type of rewards and fees that will work for you. You will need to take time to compare different cards and decide on one that offers you the best option as there are so many different cards within each category.
Identify why you want the card
Creditors market different cards for different purposes so it makes sense to decide exactly why you want a card. Match Financial allows you to compare cards and find out more about information like rates, points, rewards and more all in one place.
For example, you can compare sign-up bonuses and annual fees. Sometimes the annual fee is less than the sign-up bonus. If you want to carry a balance and you can get a lower interest rate if you pay an annual fee, it may be worthwhile.
Whether you are looking for balance transfer, travel, cashback, business, airline, hotel cards or any others, there will be an option that will make the most sense for you.
Decide whether you will carry a balance
If you plan to carry a balance, low interest rates will be more important than any reward programs or sign-up bonuses. You must prioritize the interest you have to pay because you will probably only earn between one and two percent in rewards for most purchases but you are likely to have to pay more than 15 percent in interest annually.
This is especially the case if you find a credit card that offers a promotional zero percent annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases. The APR is the interest rate you pay if you carry a balance. Many cards have a low promotional APR for purchases or balance transfers and it goes up after you have the card for about 12 to 18 months.
If you can repay what you owe before the promotional rate expires or transfer the balance when the rate rises, you do not have to pay any interest. Qualifying for a promotional balance transfer offer usually requires having good credit.
Consider your spending habits
If you plan to pay your bill in full every month, you will want to maximize your rewards by finding a card that matches your spending habits best. Many credit cards offer bonus rewards points for certain types of purchases. You may get rewards for buying gas or groceries, travel, going to restaurants or for business expenses.
More generous rewards may be offered on specific categories of purchases, such as five percent cash back on gas. Check your past few months of credit card statements to see what kind of purchases you make most often so that the card you choose will fit your lifestyle.
Think about what rewards will be most useful to you
You need to think about the kinds of rewards you will actually be likely to use and that will offer you the most value. For example, if you do not travel that often, you may never use free airline miles so it is not really worth having them. If you go on plenty of road trips, it will help if you can earn points you can redeem for gas.
If you are saving for retirement, it may help to get cashback that you can put into an investment account. If you spend a large amount every month on groceries, getting a card that offers generous cashback rewards on grocery purchases may be able to save you plenty of money.