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So, you want to add a new credit card to your purse or wallet? This sounds simple: you apply for a card, receive the plastic in the mail, and get started using it. If things were only this easy. It is safe to say that you know a thing or two about credit card offers. After all, they have no problem showing up in your mailbox and email inbox time and time again. While most offers are legitimate and having something to give you, this does not mean you should choose one on a whim.
To save yourself time and money, now and later, you need to know how to effectively compare every credit card offer that you come across. Here are a few steps to take:
1. Think about the interest rate. How much are you going to pay in finance charges? This may be the most important question you address during your time comparing credit card offers. Simply put, a lower rate is better than a higher one. Of course, a lot of this depends on what else you are getting from the card.
Tip: don’t fall for the trick of receiving a low introductory rate, but something much higher in the future. Sure, zero percent for six months is great. But if you have to pay 25 percent after that you are going to be in trouble.
2. Annual fee or no annual fee? Believe it or not, some companies charge you a fee every year for nothing more than the right to use their card. Is this something that you are willing to put up with? Put it this way. If you are going to apply for a card with an annual fee you better be getting something good in return.
3. Are you interested in a balance transfer? Many people are only searching for a credit card because they want to transfer an existing balance to it. While most cards allow this, some do not. Along with this, make sure you check the terms and conditions that govern this process. Balance transfer fees may exist, as well as an interest rate that is higher than on purchases. A balance transfer does you no good if you will be paying a higher interest rate in the future.
4. Rewards, rewards, rewards. If you want to make the most of your credit card you should try to get something in return. This can be done by choosing a card with a good rewards program. Every dollar you spend will come back at you in the form of a reward point. Collect enough of them and you can cash out for items such as hotel rooms, plane tickets, and much more.
5. Don’t forget about the company. Not all credit card companies are created equally. Do you prefer VISA over MasterCard? MasterCard over American Express? Be sure to consider every credit card company.