9 JULY 2018

How to Choose the Right Credit Card

by Tina Oliver592 348

Looking for a credit card that matches your needs can feel like a daunting task. With so many options, it seems like there’s a lot of information to sift through and even more options to explore. However, finding the right card for you isn’t as tough as it seems when you break the process down into easy-to-do steps.

Before you begin looking at any options, evaluate your spending habits and your credit situation. Be honest about these things with yourself. You want to pick a card that is going to match your lifestyle and budget. If you’re not honest about where you are financially, you won’t pick the card that’s right for you. No one card is going to meet all of your needs, but by asking the right questions and looking into all of your options, you will find one that suits your lifestyle best.

Next, check your credit score. The better your credit score, the greater chance you have of being approved for cards with better perks. There are plenty of ways to check your credit score for free online. If your credit score isn’t exactly what you expected, check your credit report to see what’s causing the problem. Use this information to make a plan and figure out ways to improve your score. This may mean changing your spending habits to disputing an error on your report.

After checking your credit score and evaluating your spending habits, you’ll need to figure out which type of card you need. There are cards that help you improve your credit when it is limited or damaged. Some save you money on low-interest rates. Some cards even earn you rewards for using them. The best card has features designed to meet your specific needs. For example, if you don’t travel a lot, then the best travel card in the world won’t do you much good. Don’t be fooled by flashy ads and offers - be realistic about your lifestyle when searching for your credit card.

Some cards are designed to help you build or rebuild your credit. If these are your main objectives for a credit card, look into student credit cards - they’re often easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards. Or look into secured credit cards, which require a $200 or more security deposit (which is returned to you when your account is upgraded or closed in good standing).

Other cards will save you money with low-interest rates and 0% APR periods. These types of cards are ideal if you plan to use your credit card in case of emergencies, or have an irregular income and carry a balance on your card from time-to-time. If you’re looking for a card to transfer your balance, a low-interest card with a 0% APR introductory period could offer you a way to pay off a high-interest debt without accruing any more interest. If you have poor or average credit, these offers may be harder to come by.

And then there are cards that offer different types of rewards, depending on their terms and how much you’re spending. If you pay off your balance in full every month and don’t incur interest, reward cards may be the way to go. These cards typically have higher APRs, but offer larger sign-up bonuses and give you points, miles or cash back on every dollar you spend.

Once you have an understanding of what you need in a credit card, start asking yourself the right questions to narrow down your choices. If you want a card that will help you build your credit, ask yourself if this card will help you do just that. Consider things like how much it costs to open an account and if there’s an annual fee involved. If you want a card with an introductory 0% APR offer, ask yourself how long this period is and what the ongoing APR is after that period ends. For rewards cards, ask yourself how you spend your money, how quickly you can earn rewards with that card and how complicated the rewards are to earn for that card.

After these few quick steps, you should have narrowed down your options to just a few cards to choose from. You might have already found the perfect card. If so, go apply for it right now and get going on your financial objectives! If you’re at a standstill choosing between a few different options, don’t fret. Look into the little details and differences in order to choose the right card. If you know you want a rewards card and are having a hard time choosing between two, check which card requires the lowest amount of spending for rewards, or if there’s an expiration date on rewards. Although those differences are small, they should be enough to help you choose between two competing cards.

Once you find your right card, don’t hesitate to use it right away and get the most out of your money. If you want to establish credit, pay your bill in full every month and don’t use too much of your available credit. If you snagged a 0% APR deal, stick to your debt payoff plan. And if you’re trying to rack up rewards, use your card for everyday purchases and pay it in full every month. The card you choose will help you achieve your goals in the most affordable, efficient way possible no matter your objectives. Don’t settle for any less than this - the right card for you is out there. A little research goes a long way.

Are you struggling to repair your credit? That can feel like you’ve dug a hole so deep, it’s impossible to get yourself out. Don’t panic, just call in the experts. Reach out to me today for more information on how I can help you start on the path to repairing your credit and taking your finances back.

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