How to Shop for a Credit Card | CreditShout

How to Shop for a Credit Card

By Dawn Allcot / September 23, 2010
How to shop for credit cards


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Are you in the market for a new credit card? Whatever your reasons, there’s a credit card out there for you. But how do you find the right one?

Reasons to Look for a New Credit Card

There are many reasons why you may be shopping for a new credit card. Maybe you’re credit score has improved and you just feel like you can get better rewards and benefits than what you’re getting now. Maybe you want to consolidate all your credit card debt onto one low-interest or no interest card. Or maybe you missed a payment and are now stuck paying the default interest rate. It is possible you’re planning a big-ticket purchase and you want a new card with 0% interest for a year to cover it. Regardless of your reason, we have some tips that will make shopping and selecting your new card a whole lot easier.

How to Choose a Credit Card

Here are five easy steps to shopping for, and finding, the best credit card to meet your needs.

1. Identify your needs.

We listed several reasons people may obtain new credit above. What’s your reason? When you decide why you want a card — a lower interest rate, more benefits, 0% on balance transfers, better travel rewards, cash back or 0 % interest for a year on purchases — you’ll be in a better position to pick the best card.

2. Identify what is important to you in a card.

You’ve already identified your must-haves, now it’s time to look at what would be nice to have. Make a list of the benefits you’d like to see in your ideal credit card. Maybe you’d like a customized card, that lets you upload your photo — or a photo of your pet. Maybe you want concierge service. Or maybe it’s important that you not have to pay an annual fee.

3. What position are you in to obtain a new card?

Get free copies of all three credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus, along with all three FICO scores. Here’s a quick summary of what that little three-digit number means in terms of what kind of credit card you can get.

700+: Very good to Excellent credit – You’ll qualify for top-tier credit cards like Discover it and American Express at the best interest rates.

620 – 699: Fair/Good The best rewards cards, jam-packed with benefits, aren’t out of your range, but you may not get the highest credit limit or best interest rate, or you may pay an annual fee. 650 is the accepted “average” credit rating.

580 – 619: Poor/Fair Look into credit cards, like the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®, that are easy to get. You may be able to qualify for an unsecured card, but you may not.

Under 580: You’ll probably only be able to get a secured credit card. You can find tips to improve your credit in this article. If you notice errors on your credit report that are dragging your score down, clean up your credit report using the tips outlined in this article, obtain new copies of your reports before applying for a new credit card.

4. Read credit card reviews.

Decide which card you’d like, that you can get approved for, by reading credit card reviews here at

5. Look for the best offers.

You can do this by following the links to apply for the card, or sign up to receive pre-approved credit card offers in the mail until the best one crosses your desk. Or just browse our list of top welcome offers.

A Faster Way

If these tips sound good, but require too much work, there is a faster way. Check out CardMatch from It matches you with offers that fit your credit profile. While this is no guarantee you will be approved, it does offer you a good idea of what types of cards you probably will qualify for. To learn more, read our complete review.

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. Additionally, the opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site

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