Almost everyone has at least one credit card in today’s credit economy. With various services offered, this small plastic card has become an indispensable tool for today’s consumers. If you use the card wisely it can make your life easier or even improve your daily life.
But, are the majority of consumers actually enjoy the benefits of the card services? The sad fact is more and more consumers are falling into deep debt and find it difficult to repay them back. If you’re one of those debtors but you still want to enjoy the benefits of the card, this article offer tips on how to choose the right one.
Good Reasons To Have Credit Cards
Security and money protection. In today’s world, carrying large cash is very risky because if your money gets lost, there’s no way you can retrieve it. On the other hand, you can always ask for a cancellation and have a new card in a few days when your card is stolen.
Convenience. Finding a wonderful dress in a shop but you don’t have money now? You can buy the dress you want now. You can also buy nearly anything online because many of the online-based shops and stores accept payment using credit.
Emergency protection. For emergency situation, your cards can be an extremely helpful tool that could be your friend that could pay for your emergency needs, when you need money but can’t get it from the usual means.
Putting you in the right budget. Want to keep a detailed record of your expenditures for your personal budget? Your cards can do that. By tracking expenses you will be able to stick to your budget or change the plan to achieve your financial goals.
Save you money. If you bought $500 worth of items and then paid the $500 back before interest is applied, then you have basically been given an interest free loan.
Traveling. If you’re a traveler, whether across the town or country, or outside the US, it is relatively easier to travel with a plastic money.
Improve credit rating. You can use secured cards and make on time balance payments to build up a good credit rating. A good credit score will help you a lot when you plan to rent a car or apartment or even search for a job.
Reward Programs and Other Offers
Forced by a highly competitive market situation, credit card companies offer various benefit and reward programs to attract new customers and maintain existing users. Common reward programs for signing up are cash-back and gift certificates. And there are up to 5% cash-back incentives, frequent flyer or mileage points and discounts on other services and goods, for existing cardholders.
Credit companies also offer low interest credit cards and even 0 APR credit card. However, this promotion is valid only for introductory period, which usually last between 6 to 12 months. After the low introductory period ends the interest charges will be at a higher rate.
Since card issuers tend to change the terms and conditions and the rewards associated with their cards often, if you are interested in certain reward programs contact the issuer to verify the latest offerings before you apply for a card.
The Best Credit Card for You
With tons of ads offering various type of cards how do you find the right one? If you want to enjoy the above benefits you need to understand how you will use the card.
Depending on how you plan to use your plastic card make sure that you understand different interest rate charged by its issuer. There are different annual percentage rates (APRs) that you may pay on each amount of outstanding balances, cash advances, or balance transfers.
A good card will offer a longer grace period. But grace period does not apply on cash advances and balance transfers because most financial institutions begin charging interest on these activities immediately.
So, apply for a card with the lowest APRs associated with balanced incurred for your purchases, if you use your card only for purchasing goods or services. But if you plan to use your card for cash advances or balance transfers then find a card with the lowest APRs related to these balances. Also, find out whether the calculation is based on purchases made during the current billing cycle or just on a previously unpaid balance.
What about reward programs? Reward programs should only enter your consideration when you want to pay your outstanding balance in full each month. If not, choose a credit card with the lowest interest charges and lowest total fixed fees but can still meet your major spending plan.