Did you know that credit cards can be good for your financial health?
That’s right, if you choose the right credit cards, and use them correctly, they can strengthen your credit. There are so many different credit cards with so many different deals and we are exposed to them constantly. You’ll get marketing leaflets through the door and see adverts on the TV. You’ve most likely seen promotional stalls in shopping centers and been approached by the staff in your bank – not to mention subjected to online advertising, when you use the internet. Every card promises the ‘ best’ deal. So how do you know which card is the right one for you?
In fact, some credit cards offer serious perks and rewards. But how can you choose the right credit cards for your financial needs?
Step 1. Decide What You are Going to Use the Card for.
Credit cards usually break down into several basic types. All have the same basic features, but some of them are better for certain things than others. Once you know exactly what you are going to use the card for, you’ll know which type of card you need and you’ll have eliminated a whole bunch of cards already. Then it’s a simple case of going through the cards of that type to find the best deal.
Most cards are interest free as long as you clear the balance in full when your statement arrives. However, there are also cards which have introductory offers of 0% on purchases for an extended period. If you need to pay for something now, but can’t afford to clear the balance for several months, extended 0% deal on purchases could be the right card for you.
Step 2. Research Rewards
Different credit cards have different rewards programs. A few examples include:
- Cash Back on Purchases
- Air Miles
- Gift Cards & Discounts
- Insurance and Car Rental Payments
Choose a rewards program that best represents what interests you. A few other options might include a lower introductory interest rate. Some cards offer co-branded rewards that give you discounts on hotels or department stores. These rewards are also easily redeemed.
Step 3. Choose the Best Interest Rate
Interest rates determine how much you’ll end up paying for using a credit card. However, it is also a good idea to use your spending patterns to guide you toward the right card.
For example, if you tend to carry a high balance on your cards, focus on a lower annual interest rate rather than being swooned by a 0 percent introductory rate.
Keep in mind, the best average credit card rate hovers around 13.99%. Anything in the 15% to 20% range is considered high. Depending on your credit score, that rate will increase or decrease.
Step 4. Use Your Card Wisely
Credit card rewards and bonuses, if used wisely, can save you money and can even earn you money. Use your card in places where you can maximize rewards.
For example, if one of your cards offers 5% back on all gas purchases then use your card for that purpose. Don’t waste your rewards by using your cards improperly.
Also, be sure to use your cards as a way to build credit. You can do this by paying off your balances in full each month, or at a minimum carrying a 25% credit card utilization across all cards. And always make your payments on time to improve your credit.
So you’ve found the best credit card. What’s next?
Choosing the best credit card is an important decision, but don’t stop there. Use your card the right way to get the most for your money. If you’re trying to establish credit, pay your bill in full every month and don’t use too much of your available credit. Stick to your debt payoff plan if you snagged a 0% APR deal. And if you’re trying to rack up rewards, use your card for everyday purchases and pay your bill in full every month.
The credit card you choose should help you achieve your financial goals in the most affordable, efficient way possible, whether you’re trying to build credit, borrow money or earn rewards. Don’t settle for less.
Choosing the right credit cards is a great way to maximize your credit score and build financial wealth.