Which Credit Card is Best for You?
Key points about: choosing the best credit card for you.
The best credit card for you depends on which credit card features you find important and whether you have a good credit score.
Credit cards that offer a 0% introductory APR may be a good option for cardmembers who plan to carry a balance from month to month.
Cash back rewards credit cards are popular because you can earn rewards for eligible purchases.
With so many available credit card offers, it can be hard to know which card is best for you.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all best credit card, there are a few practical considerations to help you determine what kind of credit card will best suit your needs.
A wide variety of credit cards, like cash back rewards or miles rewards cards, offer rewards as a percentage of your purchases. These may be good choices if you want to earn rewards for everyday spending.
Other credit cards may be better options for those with a short credit history or a bad credit score, like secured credit cards. For anyone that plans to carry a balance month-to-month, cards that offer intro 0 APR at account opening can save money. Some users prefer cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee on international purchases.
Let’s compare credit cards of different types so you can decide which card is best for you.
Credit card features to consider
1. A low introductory interest rate
Low or 0 % intro APR cards may be more important to you if you plan to carry a balance rather than paying off your bill in full each month. Finding a credit card with a low or 0 percent introductory APR can save money on finance charges. But remember, you’ll be charged interest at a higher rate once the initial period expires if you still carry a balance.
2. Rewards on things you buy
If you plan to pay your credit card balance in full and on time each month, a low interest rate may not be as appealing since you will be paying off your entire balance and thus will not accumulate interest fees. Instead, you may be more interested in a credit card that offers cash back rewards, such as the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card. With this cash back rewards credit card, you earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.1 Plus, earn 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
The key is to look for a rewards credit card that gives you cash back, miles, or points for your everyday purchases.
3. No annual fee
Although Discover cards have no annual fee, many credit cards charge an annual fee or an amount you’ll pay yearly to keep your account open, regardless of how much you purchase on the card. When you compare credit cards and rewards, make sure that the value of the rewards you’ll receive is higher than the cost of the annual fee. Do your research before signing up; if you opt for a particular bank credit card or rewards card, you could be surprised to find out that there is an added annual fee associated with that card.
4. A low balance transfer rate
If you need to transfer a balance from a card with a high APR, look for a credit card with an introductory 0 percent APR on balance transfers. If you are transferring a large balance, you may find the best option is to have an extended introductory period to give you more time to pay off the balance. Just remember that many balance transfer offers include a balance transfer fee.
5. Travel rewards
Many credit cards offer travel rewards, which may be tied to a particular travel provider, or may be credit card rewards that can be used with different travel providers. For example, the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card lets you earn 1.5x Miles on every purchase, and you can redeem Miles for travel or cash.2
6. Services that save time and money
Any credit card you choose should also offer services that can help you make your money go further. Here are some other factors to consider when you’re looking for the best credit card offers for your lifestyle:
- Online banking is an organized platform for managing credit cards and payments. Look for a card with online resources such as interactive financial calculators to help you manage your budget, track spending, and plan purchases. If you use your credit card to make your bill payments, you may appreciate the convenience of following all your transactions in one place online.
- See what tools are available to help you manage your due dates. (Paying on time is essential to maintain a good credit standing.) Find out if you can change a payment due date to one that works better for you, schedule payments in advance (in case you’re out of town, for instance), and make a same-day payment free of charge online or by phone. You may also be able to set up automatic payments to help ensure you never miss a due date and incur a late charge.
- Watch for special promotions, merchant tie-ins, and reward offers or incentives that can add even more value to your credit card.
7. Flexible rewards redemption options
Some credit cards may let you redeem cash back rewards toward a gift card or charitable donation rather than a statement credit or deposit to your bank account.
The best credit card for you may depend on your credit history
Some credit cards require higher credit scores than others. If you have no credit score, a fair credit, or a bad credit score, you may need to choose a secured credit card, which requires a security deposit. With secured credit cards, you can build up your credit score and improve your credit history until you qualify for a standard card. The higher your credit score, the more cards you will be eligible for.
Should I apply for more than one credit card?
When you’re researching the best credit card to apply for, you may find it hard to choose just one, or maybe you’re not sure what the ultimate reward card is for your needs.
Did you know?
While there’s nothing wrong with having more than one credit card, you should avoid applying for multiple credit cards at once. That’s because each credit card application will generate a hard pull of your credit, and hard pulls will potentially lower your credit score.
If you want to check whether you’re qualified for a particular card, it’s best to find out whether you pre-qualify, as issuers typically pre-qualify applicants using a soft pull, which will not impact your credit score.
Read the credit card agreement before you open an account
Read the details no matter what type of credit card you’re interested in. The credit card agreement will tell you the grace period (if it applies and how long you may have to pay off your balance before you pay an interest charge) and what rates, restrictions, and fees are involved. You’ll also better understand the terms of an intro low or 0% APR offer, including when the intro period expires and what the rate will be afterward.
The more you know, the more value you can gain from a great credit card offer.
The best credit card for you is the one that matches your purchase needs
Preferences on which cards are the best credit cards vary from person to person, but cards with low intro APR and cash back rewards can benefit most credit card users.
While some cash rewards credit cards may seem to offer high percentages of rewards, you’ll want to check whether they match the items you’re likely to purchase.
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