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8 Things To Consider When Credit Card Shopping

Aug 02, 2022 Credit & Debt

When credit card shopping, it’s important to find the one that best fits your needs.

A man sitting at a table in front of an open laptop. He is holding a credit card and writing in a notebook.

People apply for credit cards for different reasons – some are looking to build their credit while others may want to have one for emergencies. No matter the reason, there’s likely a card that meets the specific need.

There are many different credit cards with different conditions and features. Shop around, look at what’s important to you, and choose accordingly. Here are eight things to consider when selecting a credit card.

Considerations

Introductory Period

During this time, you’re usually not charged interest on your balance. This can be very beneficial, as it’s almost like an interest-free loan to a certain extent. If you’re transferring a balance or making a large purchase, you can save on interest, provided you’re able to pay the balance in full before the period is up.

Interest Rates

If you’re someone who carries a balance month to month, then you should pay close attention to the interest rate offered. A 10% difference can translate to a few hundred dollars a year depending on your balance.

A couple standing on a porch, their backs are to us, and there is an open laptop on the table in front of them.
Life Guidance for:

(Re)Building Credit

Credit is factored into many decisions, including loan approvals, housing applications, insurance rates, and employment opportunities. To obtain the most favorable outcomes, it’s important to understand the basics of credit scores and credit reports.

Rewards

Some credit cards offer cash back, statement credit, airline miles, or redeemable points for every purchase made. If you pay your balance in full, it’s like you’re getting paid to shop.

Fees & Penalties

Look at any fees and penalties that may be pertinent to you. For example, if you frequently travel internationally you should choose a card with no fees on foreign purchases. Other fees to look at are those for balance transfers, cash advances, and annual fees.

Additional Perks

Some credit cards will include your credit score on your monthly statement. You may also have access to credit simulators and credit alerts informing you of changes to your credit report. Others may offer extended warranties on items purchased with your card or zero fraud liability, meaning you’re not responsible for fraudulent charges on your account.

Company

Look at the company overall. What makes them better? Are they accessible most of the time? Do they have a mobile application or options for customized cards? Again, consider what’s important to you.

Credit Score

Credit card companies will provide general recommendations. Some card options are designed for people with excellent or average credit. Others are intended for people who are rebuilding credit. Be sure to apply for the one that best reflects your credit rating to avoid being denied.

You

Think of how you intend to use this card and reflect on your own spending habits. This will help you determine where your focus should be. For example, if you like to pay your balances in full, rewards and perks may be more important to you. Above all, make sure this is the right choice for you and know your limits.

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Free Monthly Credit Score Updates

To help you understand and take control of your credit score, A+FCU members receive free access to their VantageScore® 4.0 – available in A+ Online Banking or the A+ Mobile App and updated each month.

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