Around a quarter or less of sale purchases are now made with cash. And about a third or more are made by a credit card, with another third or so made by a debit card. Paper checks and other minor payment methods would make up the rest.
Thus, almost everyone can use a credit card as a convenience tool that saves them time, allows them to avoid carrying a lot of cash around, and also helps them improve their credit score by making consistent on-time monthly payments.
But how do you know which credit card offers are the best?
After all, it seems like even when you have less than perfect credit, tons of credit card offers keep coming in the mail.
How do you sort through the never-ending stream of offers and find the ones that best fit your needs?
1. Choose A Reputable Company
Do a little research on the credit card company before you decide to send in an application. Some companies have a reputation as “loan sharks” or of extremely poor customer service.
Others are well-known household names or, at least, are well respected by those who are familiar with their business dealings. Do a little online research to put yourself “in the know.”
2. Look For A “No Annual Fee” Policy
In the final analysis, an annual fee is the money you automatically have to pay just for the privilege of using the card. With all other fees, there are ways to avoid having to pay this.
You are probably better off with a higher interest rate and cash withdrawal fee rate than with an annual fee. If you can’t avoid an annual fee entirely, look for the lowest one possible.
3. Look For How Paying Interest Can Be Avoided
The one other exception to the avoidability of fees (besides mandatory annual fees) is when interest is accrued as soon as you make the purchase.
Most cards allow you to avoid interest by paying off your balance in full before the end of the billing cycle. Others may only give you 20 or so days.
You should be able to find a credit card that lets you pay no interest if you pay it off in full every month. Make this a high priority factor.
4. Find The Lowest Interest Rate Possible
If you have poor credit, you may not be able to get a super-low interest rate on your credit card. As we have noted above, there are some factors more likely to cost you extra money than even a higher interest rate, but certainly, this is also a key factor to consider.
A 15% or 20% APR is pretty average, depending on card type. APR of 13% is often available for those with great credit, while 23% might be more normal for poorer credit. Compare and save.
5. Get Your Maximum Credit Line
It’s no secret that one credit card company will limit you to, say, a $1,000 credit limit, while another one might let you have $2,000 or more to work with.
A higher limit will prevent you from getting too close to the limit (which can hurt your credit score) besides giving you more financial flexibility.
6. Check Out The Perks The Card Offers
As to perks, it depends on your preferences. Some will prefer a card with travel points, that is accepted widely overseas, and that has low or no foreign transaction fees. Others might prefer some sort of a cashback scheme.
Still, there are those who might prefer to earn gift cards or prizes. This really shouldn’t be your number one decision-maker, whatever the hype, but perks can definitely tip the balance in one direction instead of the other.
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