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Anywhere you go online nowadays, you will see a multitude of ads for credit cards. Some offer low interest rate for an introductory period, or bonus frequent flyer miles while others offer real discounts on new vehicles and equipment. Trying to find one that suits your needs and lifestyle can be a little overwhelming.
Before you dive on in, ask yourself some key questions about your needs:
1. What is my credit history situation?
The first and foremost question when applying for a credit card is going to be your credit rating. Have you had credit opportunities in the past, and if so, how have you handled them? Did you pay off the balances with timely payments, or did you fall behind? These are situations that your rating will be based on, so plan ahead and you'll be able to get the best credit card offer that you deserve.
2. What are my plans for the credit card?
If you plan to use your new credit card instead of cash (which is possible in today's world), you might want to look for one with a low ongoing interest rate (APR). This way, in case you don't pay off the balance within the interest free grace period, you aren't taxed too heavily with interest fees on the balance.
Or, maybe you only want to use the card in emergencies or special situations. In this case, look for a credit offer without an annual fee or membership dues. This way, you can stash the credit card away and not have to worry about missing any recurring 'administrative' fees.
3. Can my lifestyle or hobbies benefit my credit card search?
There are many credit card issuers teaming up with retailers and other businesses in the service industry. The benefit to you is that you earn rebates and discounts towards merchandise, products and services with each use of these "rewards" type credit cards.
For instance, travelers and vacationers might want to get an airline reward credit card that rewards use of the card with frequent flyer miles to use towards free flights and other guest services, or maybe a student might want a credit card that offers free school merchandise and athletic gear.
4. Can I reduce any debts with my new credit card?
Many credit cards offer great balance transfer benefits that allow you to bring most balances over and pay a fixed, low APR until the balance is paid off. These are great because you can consolidate most bills into one payment, saving you a lot of money in interest fees.
5. Should I get a copy of my credit report, and if so, should I be paying for it?
This is a big issue going on in the news today. Identity theft and inaccurate credit reporting is a hot button that is circulating around the media and today's society. Keeping tabs and consistently monitoring your credit report is a smart idea in preventing fraud.
There are many offers on the web to get a copy of your credit report for free. It's important to read all the information before signing up for anything and make certain to check the company that is issuing the offer. There are only 3 credit reporting agencies in the United States; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can contact and order your credit report from each one individually ($), or go with a reputable company that will get all 3 for you in one report.
In conclusion, remember that part of finding the right credit card for you is analyzing the situation you're currently in. With so many credit offers out there, you're sure to find one that can improve your lifestyle or benefit you in other ways. Always read all the information involved and make sure that the website you're exchanging private information with has a secure certificate (the gold lock) located on the bottom of your browser window.
Good luck finding the best credit card deal.