How to Find the Best Credit Cards
There is no tried-and-true formula to follow to get the best credit card; one size definitely doesn't fit all. Researching the various offers and determining the features you want, though, will help you find the best credit card for your needs and budget.
You just need to do a little homework:
- Check out credit card websites. An online search can help you get the best credit card. You probably receive a lot of credit card offers by mail, so going online helps keep you proactive. Be sure to examine all the credit card deals carefully; try not to let credit card issuers make choices for you.
- Know your spending habits. How you manage your budget will largely determine your best credit card options. For example, if you plan to carry a high balance, consider getting low-interest credit cards. (Some credit cards carry very low interest rates — even zero percent — but others may be over 20 percent.) If you pay by credit less often, choose a card that allows you to zero out your balance monthly. (Other credit cards offer no annual fees.)
- Consider bonus and rewards programs. If you're hoping to collect "points" when you travel, or "cash-back" offers just for using the card, look for credit cards that offer such programs. If you tend to travel a lot for business, choose a card that'll allow you to build point totals. The more points you build up, the more travel savings you earn; the same goes for cash-back offers.
- Read the fine print. Virtually every credit card offer is accompanied by small print. Don't ignore it. It may include well-hidden terms and conditions (like "universal default," which allows credit card issuers to jack up the rate you pay if you're late paying other bills) that'll force you to pay high interest rates and carry revolving debt. Before committing to any credit card offer, consider speaking with a friend who's an attorney or financial counselor.
- Check to see if fraud protection is included. A large percentage of ID theft cases still result from credit card fraud. Consider choosing credit cards with fraud protection; it could save you a lot of money and aggravation if your card is ever lost or stolen.
Using the handy credit card-related tips above, be sure to take some time to educate yourself on your choices before you make any decisions.