How do I decide what credit card offer is best for me?
When you’re checking out the many credit card offers out there, there’s a lot more to consider than a low interest rate or 0% introductory APR (annual percentage rate) credit card offer. In fact, you might find it hard to choose from the thousands of offers for the best credit cards for rewards, travel or miles credit cards, platinum cards and no annual fee credit cards.
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What’s the best card for you?
The best credit card offer for you depends on how you plan to use your credit card!
A low interest rate
Low or 0% introductory APRs 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 low interest credit card with a 0% introductory purchase APR can save money on finance charges. But remember you will be charged interest once the introductory period expires.
Rewards on the things you buy
If you plan to pay your credit card balance in full each month, a low interest rate may not be as appealing, since you will be paying off your balance each month. You may be more interested in a points, Miles or cash back credit card with no annual fee.
Look for a rewards card that gives you cash back, bonus points or travel miles at the places where you spend the most—and offers redemption options that you would actually be able to use.
A low balance transfer rate
If you need to transfer a balance from a card with a high APR look for a credit card that offers an intro 0% APR on balance transfers. Some offer a slightly higher rate for a longer period of time. If you are transferring a large balance, you may find the best option for you is to have a longer introductory period.
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Services that save time and money?
No matter what card you choose, look for a credit card that offers benefits as well as a low intro APR and excellent rewards. Any credit card you choose should also offer services that can help you make your money go further.
• Check to see what the current customers think of the credit card’s customer service. Knowledgeable customer service reps can be of great help with merchant disputes, investigating potential unauthorized charges and much more.
• Look for 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 being able to track all your transactions in one place online. Online statements that help you track purchases or transactions for several years, and can be sorted by month, merchant or amount can be a big help at tax time.
• See what tools are available to help you manage your due dates. (Paying on time is important to maintain a good credit standing.) Find out if you can change a 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.
Finally—don’t overlook other valuable perks such as price protection, purchase protection, travel assistance, travel insurance and car rental insurance.
No matter what type of credit card you’re interested in, be sure to read the details. The credit card agreement will tell you the grace period (how long you 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 a low or $0 intro APR offer, when the intro period expires and what the rate will be afterwards
The more you know, the more value you’re able to gain from a great credit card offer.