With so many credit card offers available to nearly anyone who wants one, it can be difficult to find a reasonable offer that fits your personal needs. Here are some things to look for when shopping for cards:
Interest Rate: This is one of the most obvious, yet important, things to look for when shopping for a card. Interest rates can often be as high as 24% and sometimes as low as 0% for introductory rates. Make sure that you know what the rate is before signing up. Also, if it is an introductory rate, find out how long that rate lasts and what it will go up to after the introductory period is over.
Annual Fees: You can often obtain a credit card without having to pay an annual maintenance or membership fee. If you can find a deal that allows you to avoid annual fees, it is highly recommended that you do so.
Rewards: One of the most requested features for credit cards is to receive rewards for using the card. If a credit card company is willing to offer you a cash-back incentive, free gasoline rebates or frequent flier miles, it may be worth looking into. Some creditors have even begun offering mortgage rebates, where they will pay a certain amount of principle on your mortgage if you use their card.
Balance Transfers: If you have other cards that you plan on transferring balances from for your new card, be sure to check on the balance transfer rate of the new card. Many times you can find a 0% introductory rate that would allow you to pay the card off within the introductory period, thus saving you a significant amount of money in interest.
The Fine Print: Always read the fine print on credit applications. I know it isnt any fun and sometimes its difficult to understand, but if you have problems later because you didnt read the fine print, you can only blame yourself and your creditor may show no mercy in dealing with you.
Do your research before you buy a card. Compare the interest rates, balance transfer rates, introductory periods, rewards, benefits and annual fees. Consider the fine print and make an informed decision. This way, youll be sure to get the most benefit out of any card you choose to use.
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