Choosing the Best Credit Card: What to Consider When Making a Decision

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021
Updated: May 25th, 2021
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

The consumer credit market is picking up the pace while credit cards are becoming the preferred payment method for Americans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are being drawn to credit cards because of their flexibility and the increased variety and volume of rewards programs.

For any person, a credit card can be a good backup in various situations when money is urgently needed. To get maximum credit card benefits and product satisfaction, the following aspects should be considered when choosing the right credit card.

Where to Start

The first step is to check your credit report. Find out what credit card offers you might be qualified for by checking your credit score. You can get your free credit report once a year, but it’s better to monitor your score more frequently as it can vary month to month or day to day while new data get sent to your credit report. There are different services available, where you can get your credit report. The better your score, the greater your chance of being approved for cards that provide more rewards and benefits.

Purpose of Taking Out a Credit Card

There is no single credit card that is better in all categories or for all people. You should find the best card that fits your spending habits and specific needs.

If your primary goal is to save money you may consider cash back credit cards. Cash backs are rewards that return a percentage of the money you’ve spent with your card. There are lots of cash back rewards cards to choose from based on which spending categories will give you the most value. You can choose from cards with fixed cash back in all categories or cards with increased cashback in select categories.

When it comes to travel credit cards and airline miles credit cards, these cards allow you to redeem miles to offset recent travel purchases, airline tickets or transfer points to other loyalty programs for airlines and hotels. You can consider these types of cards if your primary goal is to book flights and hotel stays. Many of these cards also come with additional benefits such as travel insurance protections, annual credits, lounge access or more.

If you are a student and don’t have much credit history you can look at student credit cards. Also, there are secured cards specially designed for building credit and improving your score.

0% Into APR

One of the most important features in deciding which credit card to apply for is the intro APR period. It’s financially smart to open a 0% intro APR credit card, if you use it responsibly. A 0% intro APR credit card offers no interest for a set amount of time, usually from 12 to 20 months. During the intro 0% APR period, you won’t be charged interest on new purchases or balance transfers, depending on the offer. These cards can help you to pay for new purchases over time without incurring interest charges before a 0% intro period expires.

Annual Fee

No annual fee credit card is the one that does not charge a yearly fee for the convenience of using the card. Not all credit cards have an annual fee. Commonly, cards that have it give you extra benefits that can be incredibly valuable over a year. Therefore, before you apply for a new credit card, weigh up whether to receive a card with an annual fee to get more perks.

Rates and Fees

Do not forget to factor extra fees and interest rates into your decision. That includes foreign transaction fees, late payment fees, balance transfer fees. Generally, foreign transaction fees set up around 3% for most issuers, the balance transfer fee is usually 3% to 5% of each transferred amount. Thus, evaluate rates and fees of a new card and what will save you the most money in the long run.

Bottom Line

These are the main features to consider when choosing the most suitable credit card for your own purposes and lifestyle. And in case you are fixing to open a new credit card, pay your attention to the top offers to find the best card that will be your permanent helper and a good backup in all situations.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

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