When it comes to choosing a credit card, the options out there seem endless. After a while, how do you even know what you're looking at anymore?
It’s important to determine what’s important to you in a credit card before you start your search. Your criteria will help you narrow your search. However, to give you a head start we’ve narrowed it down to a few factors that are important to pay attention to when you’re deciding what card to apply for.
Not only is the rate itself important to pay attention to, but the type of rate as well. There are either fixed or variable rates. Fixed rates will not change so the rate you get when you apply is the rate you’ll have throughout the time you use that credit card. Variable rates are just that, variable. They can change often (up or down) or rarely at all, it’s really hard to tell. However, make sure you understand that when signing up for a variable rate card. If the interest rate is already sky high and the rate is variable and can go up, figure out if that will work for you or not, especially if you tend to carry a balance from month to month. If you’re carrying a balance, you’ll also probably want to look for a card with a lower rate, whether it’s variable or fixed.
Most cards in today’s world have a rewards program, but not all do so pay close attention. What kind of rewards are you looking for? Airline points? Merchandise redemption? Cash back? Everyone’s needs are different and this factor can make a huge difference in what you choose. Decide what’s more important for your lifestyle and streamline your search with that criteria in mind.
3. Annual Fee
There are cards out there that charge you an annual fee just to be able to continue using their card. You might be thinking “why would I pay that?”, but if the rewards you receive from that card outweigh the annual fee cost then it may not be such a bad idea. For example, say your credit card has an annual fee, but has a great rewards program for airline points. If the points you accumulate and use throughout the year value higher than what you pay for the fee, this card will work for you! You are taking advantage of the card’s benefits which fits into your lifestyle. Plus, you’re saving more in airline flights than you’re paying for that fee. Win, win! However, if you pay that fee and the card sits in your wallet mostly unused, take a second look at this and see if the fee is really worth it.
4. Foreign Transaction Fee
This is for all you travelers out there! If you are a frequent international traveler and use your credit cards when you travel, pay attention to whether or not there is a foreign transaction fee. While this fee is usually small and not a huge deal if you only travel to a foreign country once in a blue moon, for those that travel overseas quite often can often pay more than they’d like to. There are cards out there that have no foreign transaction fee if that is an important factor to you.
Be sure to weigh all of these factors against each other and rank what is most and least important to you. Although a card might have a foreign transaction fee, it also may have a low rate and no annual fee with a great rewards program. Figure out what matters most to you.
Are there other factors you look for when finding the perfect credit card? Share them with us in the comments below!
Wondering how the HFS Rewards Visa Credit Card stacks up with this list? Check out all the specifics on our HFS Rewards Visa Credit Card webpage.