When you are shopping for a new credit card, it is very important to compare what each has to offer. It can be a little bit tricky, however to decide which is the right card for you. You would be well advised to carefully go over the terms and conditions for each card that you are considering before applying.
Some things are easy to spot. Cards will be advertised as having 0% APR for a certain period or no annual fees. However, it is easy to miss some of the other details that should be considered.
Take your liability on fraud, for example. The ads may say you have zero liability, but typically you have to meet certain terms to qualify for it. Otherwise, you may have a limited amount of liability.
That 0% APR or low APR probably has some terms too. You want to know what happens if you are late with a payment. Sure, your credit may be excellent and you’ve never been late with a payment yet, but things happen. It’s not impossible to have a payment arrive late due to events beyond your control. In fact, many cards say that even if your payment arrives on the due date, but after a certain time (often 1 p.m.), your payment still counts as late. Not only do most cards charge you a late payment fee, your APR will probably skyrocket. Know what you’re getting into if things don’t go quite as planned in your life.
You may never need it, but you should pay attention to the APR of cash advances as well. These are often significantly higher than the APR of purchases using that same card, and the interest has no grace period; that is, it is charged from the day you take the cash advance.
If a rewards card catches your interest, compare what you get from the various companies. One company may offer airline miles with a particular airline while another may allow you to choose the airline. Interest rates and annual fees for rewards cards will vary as well.
Take a look at the grace period offered for each card. You want to know how soon you will need to pay back the money before you are charged interest. If you are clever with your cards, there are companies where a purchase may go as long as 45 days before you need to pay it back or pay interest. That’s a pretty good length of time to use the money!
There are all kinds of fees to watch out for. It’s pretty easy to find a good credit card with no annual fee, but sometimes it is worth it to pay an annual fee for a good credit card. However, you also need to be aware of late payment fees, over limit fees, cash advance fees, setup fees and any other fees. These things can add up if you aren’t careful.
No company will tell you your exact limit without processing an application from you. They may give you an approximation, however, then finalize it when they approve your application. Just because you get an offer saying the company is offering you a $10,000 credit limit doesn’t mean they are actually going to give it to you. Read the fine print and you will see that these limits are subject to approval and may change.
Taking a little time as you decide which credit card is right for you might save you a lot of money and trouble in the long run. Don’t apply for a credit card just because you like the ad. Apply because it meets your needs.
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