Choosing the Best Credit Card for You
When looking for the best credit cards to add to your wallet, there are several factors you need to keep in mind. Obviously, what makes a certain credit card the “best” is dependent upon your personal preferences and lifestyle. Therefore, it is important for you to weigh the pros and cons of various features in order to find the card that is best for you.
The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is what will determine how much you will have to pay in finance charges for using your card. If you will not be able to pay off your credit card balance in full at the end of each billing cycle, you should search for the card that offers the lowest APR. Even a couple percentage points can add up to a big savings in the long run. Be careful, though, as many credit card companies offer special introductory offers with low APRs that skyrocket after the introductory period is over. Read the fine print so you know what you are really getting yourself into.
The Rewards Programs
Since credit card companies are competing so heavily for your business, many are now offering cards with excellent rewards programs. Typically, you can choose from amongst four different types of rewards programs. These include:
- Cash rewards
- Airline/Travel rewards
- Gift certificate rewards
- Points for goods
The type of rewards program that is right for you depends upon your personal interests and spending habits. Obviously, a credit card that offers airline rewards is of little value to you if you are not one that enjoys traveling. Similarly, a card that offers points that can be redeemed for certain goods or items is no good if you have no interest in the goods that can be purchased. Be sure to do your homework and find the type of rewards program that is right for you.
If you will not be paying off your credit card balance at the end of each billing cycle, it is best to stay clear of most reward credit cards because they generally come with a higher APR. In the end, the rewards you earn will likely be of less value than the finance charges you pay.
The Offered Benefits
Many credit cards, particularly platinum credit cards, offer attractive benefits that are provided for free to cardholders. Some of these benefits may include travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty services, car rental discounts, and more. Take a look at all of the additional perks the card provides and find the card that offers the ones that are the best suited for you.
Once again, if you will be carrying a balance on your card from month to month, the most important factor will generally be the APR. Nonetheless, if you have several cards offering the same low APR but the benefits of the card vary, take the time to select the one that offers the best benefits – it will be time well spent.