Credit cards can potentially lead to a swift descent into a debt crisis, yet they can equally prove to be valuable financial tools. The crucial determinant is how they are used. People who use them responsibly are likely to enjoy their several benefits and avoid the pitfalls associated with using them.
Cashless transactions, recorded transactions, consumer protection, emergency funds, and rewards are some of the benefits in question. For more information on the benefits of using them, you can visit: https://www.360financialliteracy.org/.
In addition to responsible usage, they can only be considered worth it if the right one is chosen. This requires reviewing the available options in the financial market and comparing them as some are better than others.
Certain things have to be taken into consideration when comparing the several options and some of them will be discussed here in this article. So, continue reading to find out about these factors.
Choosing a Suitable Credit Card
Not all credit cards out there are good for you. There are generally bad options, but there are options that are generally good but not right for you. The goal should be to choose something best suited for you. To make sure of this, here are some things to be taken into serious consideration when comparing the several available options:
The credit market is fiercely competitive. The increasing number of credit card issuers and other creditors in the financial market proves this. The market’s competitive state offers prospective credit cardholders some form of leverage.
But even at that, these issuers have eligibility criteria. What this means is that they will not accept the credit card request of just about anyone who applies. They run their checks to be certain that the applicant is creditworthy enough to be granted their card.
As a result, you need to be certain that you qualify based on the issuer’s eligibility criteria. There is no point applying if you do not as your request will be declined. So, start with a compiled list of issuers that are likely to accept your request based on your meeting their eligibility criteria.
One of the goals of your review should be finding an option(s) with low or reasonable costs. Comparing the interest rates of the various issuers and their cards is a major way to find out. Many applicants make the mistake of paying very little or no attention to this. Their justification is that the interest rate will only apply if they carry over a balance.
While this is true, it is still important that you check out the interest rate. This is given how some people end up carrying over their monthly balance due to unforeseen circumstances affecting their finances. So, do not turn a blind eye to the interest rate.
Compare the various fees that apply and find out the cheapest options. This is very important especially as some options have cheap interest rates but costly fees. Some of the fees to check out include:
This is more like an annual subscription charge. Issuers have various approaches to this charge. Some issuers outright do not charge this fee. On the other end of the spectrum, some charge their clients this fee.
In between are issuers that offer various forms of incentives involving this fee. This could be a zero annual fee charge for new cardholders or highly subsidized charges.
This is a charge that applies either when the card is used on foreign soil or when currency conversions have to be made using it. More often than not, it is not a definite amount. Rather it is a percentage of the amount spent using this payment option.
Choosing credit cards with no foreign transaction fees is very important, especially for those who travel a lot or make foreign purchases. This is to significantly reduce the cost of using this payment solution.
This is a charge that applies to many of the options in the market. The expectation is that cardholders make their payments on time. Failure to do this would trigger a late payment fee. The size of this fee should be a major consideration when comparing various issuers and their products.
Credit cards are credit lines. The idea is to make it possible to pay for whatever cardholders buy on credit. There is also the option of using it for cash advances which simply means withdrawing cash with your card. This could be through an ATM or POS (Point of Sale) terminal for instance.
There is usually a limit to how much credit you are afforded by the issuer. This limit should be a major consideration when comparing the various options available to you. For starters, make sure the limit suits your financial needs. If not, you may be forced to get other loans; which increases your overall loan cost.
Regardless of the set limit, everyone who uses a credit card is supposed to use it responsibly. This calls for prudent spending.
There are various types of these cards. Some of the credit card types include:
- Retail Store
- Credit Builder
This list is certainly not exhaustive as there are several others. The truth is that alle (everyone) cannot find any of these options best suited. As a result, you need to choose the type that is best for you.
Suitability will be determined by your financial situation and other peculiarities. For example, someone who travels regularly may find travel credit cards a worthy option. The same cannot be said about individuals that hardly travel.
Some credit cards are more accepted than others. As a result, you need to make this a major consideration when comparing the various options available. This issue of acceptability is more often a case with reward credit cards. So, pay particular attention to this if you plan to have this type.
Rating & Reviews
Apparently, you are not the first person to consider having whichever credit card you are considering. As a result, the reviews and ratings of existing and previous cardholders will be very relevant. This can offer a hint as to how good or bad the idea of selecting the card is. So, make sure to check reviews and ratings.
But while you are at it, make sure your sources are reliable. This is important because some options are sponsored and biased in their reviews and ratings.
Read the Fine Print
Do not agree to the terms and conditions until you have gone through every detail. Failure to do this can be very detrimental. For example, there could be unfair clauses that could hurt your finances.
Legally speaking, it would not matter if you had not been told of such clauses by the issuer. Agreeing to the fine print is legal proof that you are fine with all the terms and conditions. So, make sure you go through the details.
One of the pros of using credit cards is that cardholders may be entitled to certain rewards. You should find out more about this when comparing the various options. Do not only enquire about the rewards but the various redemption options.
For example, some issuers work with points that can be accumulated by cardholders when they use their cards for certain transactions. You should enquire about the worth of the points, as well as how they can be redeemed.
The world is more digitized than it has ever been. As a result, there is so much that can be done over the Internet. The right issuer needs to take note of this. As a result, it should be possible to easily manage credit card accounts online.
This offers so much ease as cardholders do not have to go through so much stress. For this reason, make sure that your chosen issuer and product allows for easy online account management.
Not every credit card out there is right for you. Making the right choice among the various options requires a proper comparison of the various options available to you. Certain considerations when comparing the various options have been disclosed here.
Pay serious attention to them for the sake of ending up with the right credit card. Furthermore, it is wise to make good use of online credit card comparison websites and tools available to you.