The features that a credit card carries are not just beneficial but also unmatched. The credit card elevates individuals to a level where they enjoy greater financial possibilities which would not be possible with most other financial tools. It’s barely surprising that the popularity of credit cards across the world is growing at an unprecedented pace.
However, there’s a certain level of uncertainty and perhaps even ignorance when it comes to choosing the right credit card. This is particularly true for first-time credit card applicants and users. Although on the surface this problem might not seem intimidating, in the longer run, one may miss out on the best benefits offered by cards which meets one’s requirements.
If you are one of these individuals, here are a few practical factors to consider while choosing a credit card.
Your spending habits: It’s highly crucial that you list out the categories where you spend the most during the month. For example, if you spend the highest on groceries, you could consider a card that offers benefits on daily shopping. Similarly, for frequent travellers, there are several credit cards that offer attractive travel and hotel benefits.
Rewards program: Almost every credit card comes with a rewards program that offers reward points on transactions in certain categories. So, if you are a daily shopper, explore the cards that give you reward points on all your daily spends. This holds true for all other categories; rewards programs should match the category of the maximum spends.
Fees and charges: The joining fee, the annual fee, and all other associated charges vary from card to card. Usually, the higher the fees and charges of the card, the more attractive are the benefits offered. But you also need to consider whether you can afford the charges and if the premium benefits offered by the card meet your requirements.
Interest rate: Although the interest rate is a part of the fees and charges associated with the credit card, you need to have a clear understanding of it while applying for the card. This is because the interest would be levied every time you fail to repay the total outstanding on the card by the due date. So ensure that your credit card offers you the best interest rates.
Credit limit: This would depend on your monthly expenses which you plan to meet with your credit card. However, there’s another factor to take care of – the credit utilization ratio. It’s the percentage of credit used on the card and is very important to maintain a high credit score. An ideal credit utilization ratio is below 30% and you should bear this in mind while deciding on a credit card for your use.
Balance transfer facility: The balance transfer facility on a credit card allows users to transfer the outstanding balance from their other bank credit cards to a single credit card and then pay the entire amount as per their convenience. So opting for a card with the balance transfer feature and that too at a low or no transfer fee would be a wise move.
These are some of the most important points to bear in mind before you decide on the card. As a rule of thumb, never rely only on the information provided by a single card issuer. Use the internet to conduct effective research or do it offline.
Evaluate the products offered by multiple card providers and be well informed before choosing one. Practising the above tips would certainly help you in getting the best out of your credit card both at present and in the future.