Choosing a User-Friendly Credit Card
With the wide variety of different credit cards out there, picking one can be tricky. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you select your new credit card:
Choose between a Rewards vs. a Non-Rewards card
Rewards cards are great for people who often make large purchases with their credit cards. That way, they can earn points to put towards the card company’s rewards program. Many companies also offer double and even triple points at certain times throughout the year, such as near the holidays, to encourage people to use their cards. These points can then be redeemed for big-ticket items such as airline tickets, hotel stays, electronics, etc.
However, these rewards cards often have higher interest rates than non-rewards cards. Before applying, try to find out how easy it is to redeem your hard-earned points. Is the redeeming process user-friendly? Are there any restrictions on which rewards your points can redeem?
Low-interest rate credit cards are a good choice if you need to make a very large purchase that will take several months for you to pay off, such as new furniture or appliances. You will accumulate at least some interest, but, if you made good financial plans ahead of time, you should eventually be able to pay it off in full. Low rate cards are also best for people who may have a hard time paying off their full balance every month. Be warned, however, that your low rate may jump to a higher rate after missing even one payment.
If you have no problem paying off your balance in full each month, then your card’s interest rate is largely unimportant, and a rewards card is the better way to go. However, these cards also tend to come with high annual fees and a variety of restrictions, so make sure that you understand your offer before you go out and start spending.
Keep an eye out for rate information and fees
You can benefit from doing a little preliminary research to find not just where the best rates are, but how long those rates last. Almost all credit cards offer 0% for a specified introductory period, but when the offer period ends, many will jump to a rate of 20% or more. If you have good credit, you would definitely be able to find a card elsewhere that offers a much lower rate. And those with excellent credit can have the pick of the litter. With all the many, many credit cards out there, there’s some stiff competition among them—so use that to your advantage!
Balance transfers are a very smart thing to consider. You could save money every month by transferring your credit card balance to a card with a lower interest rate. However, make sure that your new credit card company isn’t going to charge you an extra fee to do so. Many credit card companies like to add in all kinds of small print with things like activation, annual, balance transfer, and cash advance fees. Be sure to keep an eye out for hidden fees!
Pick a user-friendly card
Before signing up for a new card, find out how easy it is to make your payments. Here are a few questions you should ask:
- Does the company offer auto pay?
- Can I use my mobile device to pay?
- What is the grace period for making a payment?
- Does the card have any fraud protection if it’s lost or stolen?
- How does the credit card’s customer service rank against other card companies?
By doing a little research beforehand, you’re sure to find the perfect fit! Robins Financial Credit Union has partnered with Visa® to offer you premium purchasing power for everyday needs, shopping, travel, and more. Check out our rates and Credit Card Agreement. Apply online, at one of our branches, or by phone at 478-923-3773 or toll free 800-241-2405.