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No matter where you go and what you do, you will need a means to pay for it. More often than not, you will be using some form of credit card. Credit cards are accepted by almost every vendor across the world.
Each has different rates, requirements, restrictions, rules, and yes, perks too.
The following are six easy steps to find the right credit card for you:
1.) Understand your credit – You must have a thorough understanding of how credit works before applying for credit cards in the first place. First, understand that the issuance of credit is a loan that must be paid back. Second, understand that you should pay your credit card bill on time monthly to avoid adverse information being placed on your credit file. Third, review your credit regularly; every 60 to 90 days is adequate. Fourth, if something is out of the ordinary, report it immediately.
2.) Know Thyself – Before you begin your investigation into currently available credit card offers, first evaluate your credit card needs, especially your spending habits and bill-paying habits. Why do you want another card? What do you plan to use it for primarily? Big purchases, regular use, or emergencies? Do you pay your monthly balances in full or do you pay them off slowly over time? Are you looking to consolidate debt or take advantage of an enticing rewards program? Once you know why you want a credit card and how you plan to use it, you’re better able to evaluate which credit cards world best suit your needs.
3.)Prioritize Features – What qualities of your ideal credit card are most important to you? Low interest rate? Special 0% promotion on balance transfers? High limit? Airline miles? Cash back at the gas pump? Longer grace period? By the same token, ask yourself if there are any features that really don’t matter to you that much at all.
4.)Compare, Contrast, and Narrow Your Choices – Now it’s time to look closely at credit card offers currently available. Check with banks. Check online credit card directories and review sites. Check your mailbox for the latest offers. Check everywhere you can think of and rule out all those that don’t meet your criteria. Now let’s take a look at what you’ve got left.
5.)Look Deeper – Take this, hopefully, fine-tuned list of offers that meet your basic criteria and read the Terms and Conditions to all of them. Read all the fine print, no matter how tedious it seems. They may all look alike, but they’re most definitely not. Find out what makes each of these cards different. Maybe one has an annual fee. Maybe one has a fee for balance transfers and another doesn’t. Maybe one offers lower APRs on cash advances or better protection against identity theft or a heftier penalty for late payments. Each institution can devise their own rules and restrictions because as long as you agree to it by signing on the dotted line, it’s valid and enforceable. What Terms and Conditions are you most willing to sign? Or, to put it another way, which one are you least unwilling to sign?
6.)Confirm – Confirms everything you’ve just found out about the card that you’ve decided to apply for. Applying for too many cards can damage your credit. Better to find one or two that seem right for you and apply only for those. Check with the bank or financial institution directly to confirm the terms of the offer and see if there are any additional stipulations not listed in the offer. Check third-party sources for reviews and customer feedback on your chosen credit card(s). Check with the Federal Reserve for the most updated version of any card’s Terms and Conditions.
Finally you’re ready to apply, with this confidence of having done your due diligence. Once you submit your application, good luck and, assuming you do get the new credit card you desire, use it wisely.