With the plethora of great credit cards with rewards and perks for new accounts, it can be hard to decide which is the best for you and your style of spending. In order to find the perfect credit card, there are a few things to take into consideration as you conduct your research. Central Willamette Credit Union offers cards that may tick some of your boxes, but take a look at the following five tips for finding the perfect credit card.
1. Know Your Reasons for Getting a Credit Card
Different credit cards are good for different things. Some offer promotions on things like transferred balances with a zero percent APR and are a great idea if you’re interested in debt consolidation options. If that’s not a worry, then look at ways to make your card work for you. Are you looking to get cash back for your spending? Are travel awards more your style? Where do you charge the most money each month? How you see yourself using the card can give you more insight into which benefits and promotions will serve you. Once you establish the features you’re looking for, you’ll be able to analyze the card further and find the perfect fit.
2. Consider Whether or Not You Will Carry a Balance on the Card
One prime thing to look at as you’re doing your research is to consider whether you need to really heed those APR rates. If you’re using the card for debt consolidation or for an upcoming large purchase where you’ll need to be repaying the charges over the course of several months, this is an important factor to consider. If, on the other hand, you’ll never (or very rarely) need to carry the balance, then you won’t be as worried about the APR. Save yourself the hassle in advance. Some people who get credit cards end up getting into credit card debt and then end up stuck paying back the interest, and for those individuals, the APR needs to be among your top priorities.
3. Budget, Analyze, and Study Your Spending
If you won’t be carrying a balance and the APR isn’t as relevant to you as other details, your objective to find the perfect credit card will rely much more heavily on how the perks and rewards will work for you. It’s possible to maximize the rewards and perks either based on the amount of money you’re spending or on the types of things you buy. This requires a good look at the things you’re spending the most money on so you can find the right match for you.
The easiest way to do this is to look back at your spending habits over the last few months. If most of the charges to your credit card come from dining out or eating at restaurants, you may consider seeking out a card that offers cash back specifically for dining out. If you’re constantly traveling and charge most of your expenditures, such as flight costs and airport purchases, in addition to hotel, taxi, Uber, or other components of travel, then search for a card that offers bonuses or rewards in this category.
As for cards that offer a sign-up bonus, such as a $500 bonus upon completion of the application, then read the small print. Offers like this are usually marketed with a catch where you’ll need to spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. If your monthly spending maximum is more comfortably closer to the $500 mark, don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll be having to carry the balance over a longer period of time. You’ll just be paying more interest, and that’s where the APR gets you. Tailor your card to the reality of your needs now … and months down the road.
4. Check Out Some of the Other Lifestyle Perks for Credit Card Holders
There are some credit card companies that offer added value to your new card. These can be things that go above and beyond the traditional perks like cash back, travel rewards, remarkably low interest rates, or even perks for specific spending habits. Some credit cards offer their holders additional benefits, such as free nights in hotels, free companion flight tickets, or even extended warranties on purchases.
For those who may be apt to go shopping online more often than traveling to new countries and staying in hotels, finding a card that offers extended protection against identity theft, help with returns, and free shipment back from hundreds of websites can make all the difference for you. If you’re the traveling sort, however, a card that offers access to one of their travelers’ lounges might be the better option.
5. Compare Credit Card Offers
Once you’ve narrowed down what you spend monthly, what sort of rewards or perks you’re interested in, and what APR makes sense for your situation, you can now commence researching a card that fits for you. A couple of suggestions on where best to compare cards can be found at comparethemarket.com or NerdWallet.
Remember, take the time to do your research. Sometimes the prospect of newfound spending freedom can make you want to jump ahead and skip a few steps, but it really is worth it to read, compare, and search for what makes the most positive impact on your spending ability and your financial responsibility. It’s never a good thing to be in debt, so choosing a card that will help rather than hurt you can make spending on those new wants and needs add up to a positive experience.
Have any questions about finding the perfect credit card? You’re just a phone call away from finding answers to your questions. The experts at Central Willamette Credit Union are here to help you in your search for the best choice for you!