If you’re shopping around for a new card, you may be wondering how to choose the best credit card. With so many options out there, how can you start to work through all the considerations? We’ll help you make sense of how to compare and select a credit card, from the beginning of the process to your first swipe.
Check Your Credit
First things first. You want to know what kind of deals and rates you’re eligible for. Financial institutions look at your credit history and credit report to determine whether you get a higher or lower interest rate on your card.
That means you need to check your credit score before applying for a credit card. Some financial institutions offer free credit checks, so see if yours does before paying for one. You can also check your score at the three major consumer credit bureaus for free annually.
While a hard inquiry from a bank or lender has an impact on your credit score, a casual personal check doesn’t.
Ask Yourself Why You Want a Credit Card
Why are you in the market for a credit card? Knowing this will usually tell you what type of credit card you want.
Are you looking for a secured credit card to establish or restore bad credit? Do you carry a balance on an existing credit card that you’re hoping to roll over onto a balance transfer credit card with a lower APR? Maybe you have a big trip on the calendar and would like to start racking up rewards points that you can redeem for travel. In that case, you’re looking for a solid rewards card.
You should also take a look at your spending habits. Sometimes, the things you want may be within your reach without borrowing money. Simple changes in your budget may help you find more cash.
The good news is, once you know why you want a credit card, there’s a perfect card for each need or reason.
Shop Around & Compare Credit Card Features and Benefits
Once you’ve identified why you are looking for a new card, you’re in a better position to assess the different options. First, see what types of cards are available from various lenders and credit card companies. Then evaluate the features and benefits that come with different types of cards.
For example, if you’re looking for a balance transfer card, see which cards come with balance transfer fees or offer 0% APR for a set initial period. What does the APR switch to after the introductory period?
If you’re considering a rewards card, evaluate each cards’ rewards program to see which makes the most sense for your goals and lifestyle (someone who travels frequently may want rewards points, but cash back might make more sense for someone else).
Interest rates are another critical thing to compare. Look at different lenders’ rate offers. Now that you know your credit score, you can have a realistic picture of what type of interest rate you can expect on your card. Other helpful features to compare are annual fees (some cards don’t have them), the grace period for making payments on charges, and available credit limits.
Regardless of which type of card you’ve chosen, other features and services can make maintaining your credit card account more convenient. Things like ATM access, online and mobile banking or mobile wallets, eStatements, account alerts, and accessible help if your card is lost or stolen are all valuable things to have.
Belco’s Visa Platinum Credit Card
If you’re considering a new card, Belco’s Visa Platinum Credit Card comes with no annual fee, low minimum payments, a 25-day grace period on purchases, and the option to purchase low-cost debt protection insurance. For borrowers interested in rewards, you can earn points with Belco Rewards.
Belco’s Visa Platinum Credit Card also offers free balance transfers and a low introductory rate for the first 12 months, making it an excellent choice for anyone interested in a balance transfer credit card.
If you’re interested in learning more about how credit card balance transfers work to save you money, check out our blog post on the topic by clicking the button below.