When it comes to applying for a new credit card, there is certainly no shortage of options. And what’s more, those offering credit cards have come up with all manner of innovative ways of rewarding their customers. It’s important to be aware however that such companies have also come up with all sorts of ways of charging their customers for the credit that they provide.
Therefore before applying for a new card, it’s important to shop around and to consider more than just air miles and sign up bonuses. It’s also very important to keep a close eye on the fine print. Should you be on the look out for a fancy new credit card, here are seven steps for doing just that.
Check Your Credit Score
The first thing to do when shopping for a new credit card is to find out what your credit score is. Your credit score is going to determine just what credit cards you will be entitled to. Finding out your score can easily be done online completely free from a variety of different sources.
Consider Improving It
If the first step leads to you discovering that your credit score is not as good as you were expecting, it might be worth putting off applying for a new credit card until you have improved it.
Your first step should be to make sure that there is no inaccurate information on your credit report, you might be surprised to learn that mistakes are pretty common.You should then establish just what is causing your credit score problems and do something about it. There are a myriad of different ways that you can improve your score within just a couple of months.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the only thing that matters when they are applying for a credit card is the APR. There are actually a number of other things that need to be considered.
While some credit cards are free to use, others require you to pay an annual fee.Although all credit card companies charge you for missing payments, some charge significantly more than others.Fees for balance transfers and foreign currency exchange also vary widely.
The APR on a credit card is the rate of interest that you will pay each year on what you owe. It is obviously one of the most important factors to consider when making your choice.
Although low introductory rates are always attractive, the APR that you pay in the long run is considerably more important.The APR available to you depends upon your credit score. Therefore just because your friend gets one rate, that does not mean that you will get the same.Whether fixed or variable APR is preferable depends on who you ask. What’s not up for debate however is that it’s important to understand the difference and to know which one applies to the card that you choose.
Look For Reward Points
Many credit cards offer rewards points that can be exchanged for a variety of different products. Choosing a credit card based upon the rewards that it offers can make a lot of sense but only if you choose one that offers rewards that you will actually use. There is of course little point in accumulating endless air miles if you are afraid of flying. While many frequent travelers love air miles, other people prefer points that can be used for more traditional things such as groceries and clothes.
Look For Other Benefits
Although most consumers know about reward points, many are unaware of the number of credit card companies that offer their customers other benefits also.
Many credit card companies offer to come to your rescue should your car break down.Others offer complimentary travel insurance.Some will even offer extended warranties on any goods that you purchase using their card.
Watch Out For Changes
Finally, once you have found the perfect credit card for you, don’t forget to look out for any changes that could render it less so. Although credit card companies are required by law to notify you of any changes they make to their policies, they are not required to advertise those changes or to make sure that you actually read the notifications that you receive.
In fact, many credit card companies include important notifications among paragraphs of other wise unimportant advertising spiel. It’s almost if they don’t want their customers to notice when they start getting a raw deal.