How to Shop for a Credit CardFebruary 26, 2011 - 3:44 pm
A credit card is a product, even though many people don’t think of it that way. You wouldn’t go pick the first TV you saw on the shelf. Likewise, you shouldn’t sign up for the first credit offer you get in the mail or see advertised on the internet. Shopping around is key to make sure you apply for the right credit card.
Know your credit rating. Credit cards are created for different types of people, usually based on your credit rating. Before you apply for a card, it’s a good idea to check your credit report and your score. Knowing where your score stands will help you pick the right card. There’s no sense in applying for a premium rewards card if you’re just starting out with credit. Your application would get denied. Instead, you would need to apply for a card that’s geared toward people just starting out with credit.
Save up your credit card offers. Credit card companies prescreen applicants using information from the credit bureaus. So it’s likely that you’ve received some credit card offers in the mail. These offers are made to entice you into applying for the credit card, so don’t be fooled by the marketing language. Instead, save up all your offers and then choose between them when you have a few.
Look for credit cards targeted to you. If you’re not getting credit card offers in the mail, it doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any credit cards that will approve your applications. There are many websites that you can use to find credit cards for your specific credit situation. ApplyforaCreditCard.com is one of them. Browse through the credit cards for your credit rating to see what credit cards are available.
Check the credit card terms. Once you have a few credit card that you’re considering, you can compare them to each other by checking the credit card terms. Some important credit card terms to consider are the annual fee, interest rate, and monthly fees associated with the credit card. If you’re planning to transfer a balance, then the balance transfer rate and balance transfer fee are important. If you’re looking at a rewards credit card, then you should consider the number of rewards that are given for each $1 in purchases versus how many rewards you must accumulate to make a redemption.
Narrow down your choices. Interest rate and annual fee are typically the most important credit card features. Ideally, you want to apply for a credit card with a low interest rate and no annual fee. But, depending on your credit rating and the type of credit card, that combination may be impossible. In any case, continue to look for a credit card that has the lowest cost.
Choosing the wrong credit card can end up costly. That’s why it’s important to shop around for credit cards before you apply for one. Look at several different credit cards and read user reviews online before you finalize your decision.