There are so many credit card offers out there and choosing the right one for you becomes intimidating already. As it is, card companies have already devised various types of cards targeting specific market segments. Add to this are special offers and promotions given by card companies every so often, the selection becomes even more confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. You just need to know the more important principles to consider in choosing the right credit card, thus you can make your selection in a more rational and less stressful manner.
Credit card offers currently in the market invariably involve % APR; annual fees and charges; balance transfers; rewards programs; cash back and other features designed to attract more card users. Card companies tweak their offers and promotional programs in a bid to differentiate their products and outdo competition.
Important factors to consider:
First, know your credit score. Find out your particular credit score from credit bureaus or from a couple of sites like Credit.com. Card companies develop various card types for specific credit score range. Credit score dictates the kinds of credit cards available for you to choose from, and that help you narrow down where and what to look for. If, for example, your credit score is 649 (“poor credit”), it is a waste of time if you apply for credit cards intended for people with credit ratings of 700 and above (“good credit” to “excellent credit” ratings) because your application can likely be denied.
What is your main purpose for securing a credit card?
While your credit rating is a main factor that defines the type or types of cards that card companies can likely approve for you, equally important is to know your main purpose for wanting to secure a credit card. As stated earlier, specific credit cards are developed for specific or specialized market segments, that is, there are credit cards developed specifically for business or for college students and others.
Main points to consider in comparing credit cards:
Annual Percentage Rate or APR
The cost that card companies charge you for carrying a balance on your credit card, for not paying the full amount indicated in your monthly billing statement. The APR that card companies charge depends also on your credit rating. If your credit rating is high, the card company likely agrees to charge you a lower APR.
There are credit card offers with introductory 0% APR interest rate for new cards, good for 3 months to 12 months from the date the account is opened.
Fees and charges
There are charges and fees involved when you own and use a credit card. There are annual fees, late payment fees, over-limit fees, among others. You need to study the terms and conditions of the credit card and its fine prints to understand which of these fees are applicable to you and how much it really cost you to maintain and use such card. Different companies have different fees and charges, and therefore, you need to scrutinize which card can give you some cost advantage.
It would also be a good idea to check if PPI was applied to your credit card. PPI or Payment Protection Insurance is a type of protection for the lender, which ensures protection of payment in case of unemployment, sickness, accident, or anything that would render you unable to pay your credit card payments. Many consumers fall victim to mis-selling of PPI because they were not informed that it’s an optional choice or they were misinformed about the PPI policy.
If you think you were mis-sold the PPI, you can actually file a claim so you can get a refund. First, though, you need to ask experts who would gladly advise you on the steps you have to take should a ppi calculator show that you qualify for a refund.
Many types of credit card offers and promotions out there may overwhelm you in deciding which card is best for you. You need to keep in mind important parameters to use to compare one credit card over the other. In addition, you need to know your own credit rating. Because credit card offers are made for specific credit rating range, you have a good idea already of the types of credit cards that are likely to be approved for you when you apply. Remember too that credit card offers and terms are changed quite often. As such, you need to study the whole terms and conditions of the credit card before you sign up.