Although it’s wise to pay off all your credit card debt, it’s also practical to have one or two good credit cards.
When you travel or want to order something online, it makes good sense to have a credit card. Plus, using your card responsibly will positively contribute to your credit score.
But which card is the best? The answer can be found in which one best meets your own personal needs. The best credit card for someone else may not be the best one for you.
Use these strategies to help you determine which card may best meet your needs:
1. Choose a credit card that has no monthly fee. Never pay a monthly fee just to have a credit card.
2. Avoid a variable interest rate credit card. A variable interest rate credit card has fluctuating interest rates over which you have no control. Make an effort to get a credit card with a fixed interest rate.
- Also, be leery of any cards that advertise 0% interest for the first 12 months. Find out what the interest rate will be after the initial interest-free period. You may find the interest so high that it’s simply not worth it to get the first year at 0% interest. Plus, know what can trigger the end of your 0% interest – you might not even enjoy it for one year!
3. Read the fine print. Even though the fine print “legalese” is difficult to decipher, it’s important to be on the lookout for hidden fees and charges.
- Read the terms and conditions of the card at home when you have plenty of time.
- Highlight any areas of the terms that you have concerns about or need to clarify.
- If you’re unable to get answers to your questions or receive clarifications for a better understanding of the card issuer’s policies, walk away. You’re wise to say ‘no’ as opposed to getting stuck with extra fees.
4. See what’s in it for you. When you’re selecting a credit card, focus on those that either give you cash back, credit toward travel awards, or reward points toward free items – whichever perk you feel you would get the most benefit or enjoyment from.
- The cash back cards are, in essence, reimbursing you with “free money.” Some cards issue cardholders one check per year for a percentage back on specified purchases. Receiving a check in December between $1 and $1,000 based on your credit purchases is a nice perk.
- If you’re a traveler, you might prefer receiving points toward your next flight, car rental, or hotel.
- The third type of rewards credit card awards you points in relation to the amounts charged on the card. The points can be cashed in to purchase various items such as stereos, portable DVD players, kitchen pots and pans, dishes, and a variety of other items.
Shopping for the best credit card takes time and patience. Protect yourself and your financial life by taking every precaution when selecting your credit card. Discover the freedom of using just one good credit card, paying it off monthly, and enjoying its rewards.