Selecting the Best Credit Card for Your Needs
Credit Cards can be a blessing or a curse, so it’s vital to choose wisely when signing up for a new one. Hidden fees, along with interest and repayment rates, are the first things to look out for, but there are a plethora of other factors worth considering.
Before selecting the best credit card for you, it is important to remember some basics about responsible credit card use. Credit card purchases may seem like the easier option at the time, but be aware that you will have to pay interest on all of these transactions every month, so be mindful of what, and how much, you buy.
To counteract this, many mindful credit card users tend to keep their cards for big purchases, such as travel, housewares and appliances. Taking this into account, let’s examine some of the credit cards which reward and compliment such usage.
Comparison Sites can help when gathering preliminary information
If you want to save time and keep up to date with the best contemporary offers, then it’s a good idea to monitor one or more comparison sites. These can provide up to the minute news on deals and exclusive offers that can result in a better overall choice being made. Sites such as Nerdwallet, the balance and creditcards.com can all be very useful in assisting with the initial choice.
Introductory offers such as low APR rates and a small % of cashback can be appealing, but remember that these are limited, so make sure to look at the long term.
Remember, you’ll be signing up for a new card with a contract of at least 12 months, so you want to be absolutely certain you make the right choice.
Come fly with me
Air Miles (loyalty points for using commercial airlines) can clock up with frequent or even moderate use, so it’s definitely worth checking out which give you the best return for your purchase. There are numerous comparison options and reviews out there, with a few names recurring on a regular basis.
- Discover it (Miles) is a travel-focused credit card which offers unlimited 1.5x miles and all purchases, from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping. Your rewards never expire.
- Capital One Venture Rewards is a credit card for the regular traveller, making it perfect for businesspeople or holidaymakers alike. With unlimited 2X Miles with 50,000 Bonus Miles, this is the card which definitely aims to reward loyalty and frequent use.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a range of high return purchase options, and partners with a wide range of airlines, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
While everyday purchases may put a strain on your credit card’s monthly bill, there are some supermarkets which offer their own branded credit cards. This may be worth considering if you frequent a particular store on a regular basis.
U.K. stores such as TESCO, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and ASDA all offer their customers their own cards with a variety of competitive rates.
One huge bonus of using a supermarket credit card is that many of them offer cross promotion with their own in-house loyalty schemes. This means that if you shop regularly in TESCO, for example, then the store will offer increased reward points (Clubcard Points for TESCO users) on every purchase made in store with the card. This plan results in further money off vouchers and offers being provided for card users.
Studies have also been made into which general cards are best suited for regular, grocery style shopping. Credit experts the Balance note that ‘interest rates tend to be higher on rewards credit cards. Because of that, you’ll want to pay your balance in full each month to avoid costly finance charges that can dampen the benefits of the rewards you earn on grocery purchases.’
Study up for the best result
For university and college students, a credit card may be a necessity, but that doesn’t mean it’s been designed to accommodate endless late night Amazon purchases and facilitate beer runs. Take a look at some consumer protection sites, to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations regarding the repayment rates and terms of service that come with a new student credit card.
The 5 U.S. student credit cards which constantly top the polls are as follows:
- State Farm Student Visa
- Capital One Secured Mastercard
- Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
- Citi Rewards+ Student Card
- Capital One Journey Student Rewards
Get some assistance
If you have an accountant, or know one, it may be worthwhile asking them for an objective opinion once you have selected the card that you think may be right for you. It never hurts to show a potential contract or a list of T&Cs to someone who works in the financial industry. A simple ‘What do you think of this? Is it a good deal?’ could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
- Get as much information as you can before starting out.
- Examine and consider what kind of purchases you wish to make.
- Compare. Compare. Compare.
- Look into bonus and loyalty schemes, as well as special offers.
- Ask someone in the know.
- Remember it all has to be paid back at some stage, so plan, plan, plan.