There are now more credit card options than ever, with companies virtually fighting over your business. It can be confusing when trying to pick the right one for your situation. However, there are a few key factors that will determine which suits your needs. By going through a checklist below and you’ll be able to narrow your selection down to the perfect credit card:
Know Your Score
If you don’t know your score, it’s going to be difficult to know which you should apply for. Most have a minimum score allowed. And of course, if you have a higher score, then you want to know which cards have the best perks for people like you. You can check your score for free through a number of apps and websites. Also, keep in mind that you can get one free copy of your report, which is different than your score, per year. Your report will tell you more detail about why your credit is at its current status so you can continue to improve it.
Determine Your Goals
After you know your score, you need to know what your actual goals are for the card. That way you can make the most of your money and your time. There are typically three reasons to apply, which are to save money, get perks, or build your credit. If you are fairly well situated financially but want to make your money go even further, then a card with great rates would be advisable. If you are a frequent traveler, then look for the extra perks so you get free money. And if you are a student, or simply someone who wants to grow or repair their credit, look for cards that are designed to help you build your score.
Look Beyond the Surface
Once you have determined which general category of you are going to get, you want to do more research on the fine print. Each type will have a range of possible pros and cons to deal with. For low interest, make sure the period where you have 0% APR lasts as long as possible. You also want to be able to transfer your balance between cards and maintain the same low interest rates. The best travel cards are straightforward. If they have complicated terms it could be difficult to actually earn those rewards. And with credit building, see if they give you the chance to get your deposit back and transition to a better option eventually.
Making Your Final Decision
Now that you have reviewed the basic terms of your options, there are still some terms and rewards that can sweeten the deal. It’s time to use a tie-breaker. Here are the items to look at: For 0% APR, make sure there’s no penalty APR if you miss payments. For travel, ensure that the rewards don’t expire and they don’t charge fees to sign up. And for student or credit building cards, see if they let you earn interest on your initial deposit over time.