Credit cards allow you to purchase anything using borrowed funds from your credit card provider. You can shop online or from your favorite boutiques. Most people even use it to pay for their restaurant bills because of its convenience.
If it’s your first time to get a credit card or you want to upgrade what you already have, you must understand and consider the following:
1. Purpose Of Using Credit Cards
When you want starter credit cards, ask yourself why you need one. If you plan to have a credit card so you can shoop all you want, then think twice. Unpaid credit can accumulate because of interest and late charges, so you might generate massive debt when you don’t responsibly use your credit card. But if you can control yourself from overspending, then a credit card may be right for you.
Also, if you plan to build a good credit score, you can do so with your credit card. A credit score indicates how well you can repay your loan. By using a credit card, you can have a high credit score as long as you pay your credit on time.
2. Interest Rate
When you have a good reason to own a credit card, check the credit card provider’s annual percentage rate (APR) or interest rate. The APR of a credit card indicates how costly every transaction will be, especially when you have a balance. You can use the APR to determine whether you can afford your monthly dues or not.
To choose the best credit card, familiarize yourself with these different credit card rates:
- Introductory APR – These involve transactions like cash advances or balance transfers, in which the promotional APR is lower. However, it’s applicable only for a limited time.
- Penalty APR– When you fail to pay on time, you violate the terms and conditions of the credit card. Thus, the credit card provider charges you with a penalty APR, which is one of the highest APR.
- Cash Advance APR– When you borrow cash from your card, you won’t get grace periods to pay off such. Also, the interest rate is higher.
- Purchase APR – This is the type of interest rate that applies every time you purchase using your card.
3. Credit Limit
Besides interest rates, you must also know the credit limit of the card. The credit limit pertains to the maximum amount you can use via your credit card. Credit card providers usually set a maximum amount based on your credit report.
So if you have a high credit score, you’ll probably get a higher maximum amount. On the other hand, you’ll get a lower maximum amount when you have a lower credit score.
However, you can still borrow beyond your maximum limit. But as a result, you’ll pay the penalty or fine.
If you want to know your credit limit, you can call the customer service of the credit card provider to ask for your credit limit computation. But you must prepare your recent billing statement for their reference.
Aside from knowing how much a credit card provider can offer as your credit limit, you must also check their incentives or reward programs. If you want to enjoy your credit card benefits, choose those with an excellent rewards program. This way, you’ll get bonuses, cashback, or discounts on particular purchases.
One of the best ways to know what rewards program suits you best is to evaluate majority of the purchases you make. For instance, if you’re spending more on certain shops, grocery stores, or gas stations, check whether they give points or rewards for such.
Sometimes, you can earn big points that you can use as cashback. For instance, this kind of reward is what the Apple Card offers, compelling Apple users to get one for themselves.
5. Customer Service
While a credit card has an excellent rewards program, you might want to think twice about it if it has a bad reputation when it comes to customer service. This is because you’re more likely to call on your credit card provider more than once. Thus, your credit card provider must be responsive so they can solve your issues immediately.
Also, if the credit card provider has poor customer service, you may end up paying more interest or charges because your credit card issues remain unsolved. But if you can reach out to them quickly, you can stop incurring charges that you know are beyond what you should pay.
So before getting a credit card, you must understand the aforementioned factors. It’s vital to keep yourself informed of the essentials of owning a credit card so you can enjoy its maximum benefits.
Not only can you boost your credit score by using your credit card, but you can also earn rewards. Moreover, you can avoid charges when you know how your credit card sets its fees or interest rates for every transaction.