Finding the best credit card for you can be a very important task, especially when it comes to building credit. There is no one credit card that is best for you because everyone has a unique situation and cards of many types carry certain benefits that cater to a specific population. However, if you understand your options and understand which cards bring certain benefits, you will be able to find the right credit card for you. Here are some ways for you to find the best credit card for you.
Find Out What Your Credit Score Is
The primary reason why people get credit cards is so that they can establish a history of credit. This is why it would behoove you to check your score which can be accessed through resources such as Nerdwallet. The three major credit bureaus, being Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all sell credit scores as well. If the number is not what you had expected, you should check your credit reports to see what is causing the issue. Once you get a detailed look at what is dragging your score down, you should start figuring out ways to improve it. One of the easiest ways to do so is to obtain a credit card and responsibly make payments monthly.
If your score is high, you may be eligible for credit cards that have better perks to them, such as cashback on purchases and other rewards. However, all of this starts by seeing what your score is and what you are eligible for from the jump.
Ask The Right Questions
They say curiosity killed the cat, but in this context, it will help you on your journey to building credit. As you go through various credit card options, you should be asking questions in the back of your head. For example, if you are looking for student or secured credit cards, you should be asking if it will help you build your credit. This is because many secured credit cards do not have credit-building capacity. Also, you should ask how much it costs to open an account, including the annual fee. This is because the rewards on the cards generally are not nearly high enough to pay an annual fee. So unless you have poor credit, you can likely avoid this expense altogether.
Other types of cards you might come across are cards that have low-interest rates or balance transfer cards. For these cards, your primary areas of concern should be whether or not the cards offer rewards, what the transfer policy is and how long the APR period is. You should prioritize looking for cards that give you enough time to pay off debts without interest. A low ongoing APR should be considered if you are going to carry several balances over the course of a few years. The transfer policy is important because this enables you to find out what kinds of debt that you can transfer over and if there is a limit to what you can move over. Also, it doesn’t help to find out if you get a sign-up bonus that rewards good behavior.
Travel, cash-back, and rewards cards are different in that rewards earnings could potentially offset the cost. So look for cards that deliver the biggest on rewards for categories that you spend most of your time on.
Identify What Your Needs Are
Of course, you do not want to get a credit card just for the sake of getting a credit card. You will want to obtain a card that is suited to your specific needs. In general, the three major types of credit cards are cards that earn you rewards, save you money on interest or help improve your credit when it is damaged. So pick one of these three categories that you prioritize and do your research thoroughly. For example, if you do not travel abroad much, then it may not make much sense to get a travel card.
Cerdit cards are a valuable tool in helping you build credit which will be important for major financing decisions later in life. However, not all credit cards are made the same. So do your research in advance and find out what your specific needs are so that you will be well-equipped to start building an effective credit history.
Scott Hastings is a CPA with over a decade experience in finance. He started his career in audit with PwC and is excited to bring that knowledge to RM Credit Cards.