Credit cards are a major part of modern life. Making on time payments is important, but actually finding the best card for your needs can be overwhelming. Fortunately all of the factors in credit card choices can be broken down into a few simple categories. Then you decide which is the most important for you, and compare the features of the credit card choices available to you.
Credit Card Checklist
- Interest rate or annual percentage rate (APR): This is a rate charge on any unpaid balance every month. If you do not pay the balance each month, you will have to repay a minimum amount of the total you owe, which is usually around 3%.
- Annual fee: Many cards will charge a fee every year that the card is used. You will need to pay the fee in addition to any outstanding balance, and you will pay interest on it too if it is not paid in full.
- Charges: Check the agreement to see if other charges will apply to the card. Some common examples include charges for going over the credit limit, for using the card outside of the country, and for making late payments.
- Introductory rates: Many cards now offer low starter rates that will increase after a set period of time.
- Points or rewards: Loyalty points will be important if you use the card a lot and can redeem them for things that you like to buy. Think about where you get the points and how likely you are to use them.
- Cash back: Some cards will refund money if you spend enough. Most of these rewards depend on how reliable you are at paying your full balance each month.
Where to Get Key Information
All credit card offers and promotions require to have key information about the card in a summary box. This makes it easier to identify what you need to know and compare different cards.
Credit Card Comparison Websites
There are also a number of comparison websites that list credit card offers of up to 300 different cards. However, not all sites will show all of the available cards. Be sure to try a few different sites to get the full view of what is available.