In all areas — or for all persons — no single credit card is better than the others. You can choose the card that’s perfect for your spending patterns and credit position by evaluating your alternatives and asking the correct questions.
To find the best credit card for you, follow these four steps.
1. Run a credit report.
Check your credit score to see what credit card offers you might be eligible for. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for cards with superior benefits. Many credit card companies provide free FICO scores to their customers.
Credit scores are sold by the three major credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
Check your credit reports to see what’s causing the problem if the figure isn’t what you expected. If necessary, you can then start looking for measures to improve it, such as modifying your purchasing habits or challenging a reporting error.
Every 12 months, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus under federal law.
AnnualCreditReport.com, a federally authorised site, offers free credit reports.
2. Determine the type of credit card you require.
Credit cards are divided into three categories:
- Cards that assist you in repairing or improving your credit if it is limited or damaged.
- Cards that let you save money on interest charges.
- Cards that award you points.
The best card for you is one that has features tailored to your individual need. If you don’t travel frequently, for example, the best travel card in the world won’t help you much.
IF YOU WANT TO BUILD OR REBUILD CREDIT, FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS: STUDENT CREDIT CARD OR SECURE CREDIT CARD
Student credit cards are easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards because they are unsecured and designed for college students who are new to credit. Secured credit cards, which often require a $200 or more security deposit, are also available. When the account is upgraded or closed in good standing, your deposit is returned to you.
LOW-INTEREST, 0% APR OR BALANCE TRANSFER CARD IF YOU WANT TO SAVE ON INTEREST
If you plan to use your credit card for emergencies or if you have sporadic income and carry a balance from time to time, a card with an introductory 0% APR and ongoing low interest rate can be a suitable fit for you. A balance transfer offer could be able to assist you pay off a high-interest loan without paying any interest. Keep in mind that if you have average or low credit, these offers may be more difficult to come by.
REWARDS, TRAVEL, OR CASH BACK ARE ALL OPTIONS IF YOU WANT TO EARN REWARDS.
If you pay off your debt in full every month and never incur interest, a rewards credit card is an excellent fit for you. These cards have higher APRs, but they come with bigger sign-up bonuses and reward you with points, miles, or cash back for every dollar you spend.
3. Ask the correct questions to narrow your options.
Search for the type of credit card you want. Consider the following questions as you browse the best options.
CARDS FOR STUDENTS AND SECURED CARDS:
Will this card assist me in improving my credit?
Look for a card that notifies the three major credit bureaus about your credit card payments. This is something that many protected cards don’t do.
What is the cost of opening a bank account, including the annual fee?
The rewards on these cards aren’t usually good enough to justify the annual cost. Unless you have extremely bad credit, you should be able to avoid this charge. Although your credit limit may be directly related to how much of a deposit you pay, the lesser the security deposit, the better with secured cards.
Is it possible to upgrade to a better card later?
Choose a card that will allow you to accumulate credit and eventually upgrade to a card with better terms. This makes it easier to keep your card active for extended periods of time, increasing the average age of your accounts over time.
BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS OR LOW-INTEREST, 0% APR CARDS:
What is the duration of the 0% APR period, as well as the continuous interest APR?
Look for a card that allows you to pay off your debt without incurring interest. Consider a credit card with a low continuing APR if you plan on maintaining a balance for several years.
What is the balance transfer policy for the card?
Look for a card’s balance transfer costs if you’re doing a balance transfer. Find out what categories of debt you can transfer and whether there is a maximum amount you can transfer. It’s worth noting that a card’s balance transfer APR may differ from the purchase APR.
Is there a reward programme with the card?
If you simply need a few months of 0% APR — perhaps as a substitute for a sign-up bonus — you might be able to discover a card that also offers considerable recurring benefits.
CARDS FOR REWARDS, TRAVEL, OR CASH-BACK:
What am I going to do with my money?
Choose a card that offers the best rewards in the categories where you spend the most. If you’re a frequent shopper, consider getting a card with an annual fee if the benefits you’ll earn will cover the cost. If you plan to use the card outside of the United States, search for one that has no foreign transaction fees and supports chip-and-PIN technology rather than the chip-and-signature technology that is common in the United States. This also applies to other types of cards.
How difficult is it to use this credit card?
Consider a card with flat-rate cash-back benefits if you don’t want to deal with limited award seat availability, spending limitations, rotating bonus incentives, or loyalty tiers.
4. Consider the card with the best overall value for you and apply for it
It’s easy to narrow down your selections, but choosing between two or three similar cards can be challenging. After Step 3, if you’ve already established a clear winner, stick with it. If not, a tiebreaker round will be held.
Keep your eyes peeled for Here are a few things that could make a card stand out if everything else is equal.
CREDIT LIMIT AUTOMATICALLY INCREASES FOR STUDENT AND SECURED
CARDS. Certain credit cards allow you to boost your credit limit following a string of on-time payments.
On your deposit, you will be paid interest. Your security deposit may be placed in an interest-earning CD with some secured cards. You can earn a modest bit of money this way.
BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS OR LOW-INTEREST, 0% APR CARDS:
Plan to pay off your debts. Some creditors allow you to build your own debt repayment plan through an online portal, which might be a useful tool if you’re drowning in debt.
There are no late fees or APR penalties. These fees are waived with some credit cards. This could be useful if you get behind on your payments.
CARDS FOR REWARDS, TRAVEL, OR CASH-BACK:
Spending requirements are reduced. The lower the minimum deposit required to qualify for a sign-up bonus, the better.
The awards have no time limit. You can utilise your rewards on various cards as long as you keep the card open.
When choosing a card, keep in mind that you can list whatever money you have reasonable access to on the application, not just your own income. Money from grants and scholarships, as well as allowances from parents, can be used by students. Others may include a partner’s or spouse’s earnings.
It’s crucial to choose the greatest credit card, but don’t stop there. To get the most out of your card, use it correctly. If you’re attempting to build credit, make sure you pay your bills on time and don’t use up all of your available credit. If you get a 0% APR agreement, stick to your debt repayment plan. Use your card for everyday transactions and pay your payment in full every month if you want to earn points.
Whether you’re looking to establish credit, borrow money, or earn rewards, the credit card you use should help you reach your financial goals in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.
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