Everyone gets credit card offers in the mail on a weekly basis. All of them look good and they usually give you a better deal than the credit card company you have now. There are a variety of promotions and it can be difficult to sift through them all and decide whether to stay with the company you have or go to someone new.
Sifting through these credit card offers can be daunting but you can get through the jungle with a little research. There are several ways to choose what is right for you by being an informed consumer. Here are a few tips:
Do a side by side comparison
When you receive several offers it’s a good idea to open the information and do a side by side comparison. One of the ways to do this is to take a pad of paper and make a few columns for each one that include headings like, APR, Interest Rate, Penalties, Fees. This will give you a start at identifying which ones have the best rate.
Define what you need
If you have a current credit card and you are shopping for something different, think about your needs for the card. Do you use them all the time and pay the balance off each month? If so a card like American Express might work because it is this type of card. However, if you would rather make payments there are other options. The best way to decide is to determine what you need the credit card to do.
Know your credit score
Many credit card companies will give a better deal to a person with stellar credit. It is a good idea to get your credit report once a year and see where you stand. You may have a score that is better than you think. Once you have the information in hand, you can go back to the offers and see which one has the best interest rate.
Compare the Terms and Conditions
This information will give you all the details about APR, interest rate and fees. Although you want to compare everything, check how the interest rate is handled. As an example, you may have an introductory offer of 4.5% but the card may automatically increase the interest to 18% at a certain point after the special offer.
On Cash Back Credit Cards Check the Rewards
If you decide this credit card make sure that it allows you to choose items you need. Read the cash back incentives and rewards and compare them carefully. They all have a variety of different ways that they give cash back and reward points. Some have only certain merchants you can use while others will give you more options.
After you research the different cards you may find that the one you have is the one to stay with but you will not know until you check them all out. By doing the research you can be sure that you have the best deal for your needs.