Pick the Best Credit Card for Me

Tips to Finding the Best Credit Card for You

Choosing the right credit card is driven by a clear understanding of your spending style and desire for reward program incentives. It’s about knowing how you spend and save. It’s realizing and balancing what your debt threshold looks like, based on short monthly cycles and long term goals. It’s about having a clear focus on what is important to you financially. Getting a credit card may be the easiest part of the process. However,  knowing what responsibilities and rewards come with those various cards will undoubtedly benefit you in the long term. Gaining a clear understanding as to your personal spending habits gives you access to the card that benefits you the most.

Define Spending Habits

Look for a card that complements your spending habits. With the multitude of choices to the consumer, credit card companies have tailored credit programs to match the needs of the individual. Today’s credit card programs showcase a wide array of options. You can find a cash-back reward or travel points for specific airlines that is tailored to your needs. Once you examine your spending needs, you can define what will benefit you the most.

Questions you should ask yourself:

  • Will you use the card for large purchases or everyday items, like gas and groceries?
  • Will a balance be carried over month to month or paid in full?
  • Is this card used for business spending, personal use, or a mix of both?

Only you can define what your spending requirements will be.

It’s Your Card, Make It Work for You.

Knowing what works for you should guide your card choices. Many people will select a card based on the recommendation of friends or family without looking at that individual’s financial habits and obligations. The fact is, you work hard for your money, and when spending, you should make your money work hard for you. Ensure that you are getting what works best. It is not about what everyone else has but what will give you significant benefits and security.

A cash back card gives you the flexibility to spend cash rewards that make the most sense to you. Rewards go toward everyday spending. This type of card works best for those who value their spending on everyday items more than possible travel benefits. Conversely, a travel reward program that allows you to use reward points for flights, hotels, and even, rental cars can benefit frequent travelers or perhaps those who save up points for free travel perks. These cards may connect to loyalty points for individual airlines or hotels ensuring that the more you spend, the more points you can acquire for those specific loyalty reward programs.

Financial Sense Equals Financial Success

Once you have a greater understanding of how you will utilize your credit card, you will increase your ability to improve your financial success. Paying your credit card monthly and not carrying a large credit balance strengthens your credit score. If you skip payments or pay late, then your credit score will drop. A weak credit score will have implications like higher interest rates on credit cards and loan applications. It will make eligibility for additional loan options difficult.

On the other hand, a strong credit score allows you to handle financial emergencies with greater ease. It also provides you with greater flexibility when applying for a loan. Strong credit certainly implies that you have been given greater access to money and handled it appropriately. You have shown you are financially capable of handling more and rewarded with possibly lower interest rates and greater credit flexibility.

Confidence, Convenience, and Commitment

Shop and spend with confidence. It is important to know that every time you use your credit card, you and your finances are safe and secure. Most credit cards have security procedures in place to benefit their cardholders.

Ensuring that your card is accepted universally will also increase the ease of use and convenience for you, as a cardholder. Online access to payments and reviewing credit card statements can facilitate balancing your finances. You want to feel confident that the online services provided are safe, secure, and easy to use.  

A commitment to service and security will enhance continued consumer confidence. If you are unsure of the card and the cardholder experience, you can look at the consumer advocate database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Credit Card Match Game:

Know your spending style to match your credit card options

Select one of these three options for more ideas on how to find the right card for you?

  1. I will carry a balance month to month

 

Look for the lowest interest rate or 0% balance transfer fee. Month to month balances requires a minimum monthly payment. In order to lower the overall balance of credit, you need to pay more than just the minimum monthly payment.

  1. I pay the balance in full every month

If you pay your monthly balance in full, a reward card is your best option. Many reward cards will also have an annual fee. Look for a card whose annual fee is balanced out by the rewards you receive.

  1. I have poor or no credit, therefore, don’t qualify for standard credit cards

A secured card will be the best option for those with poor credit or no credit at all. These cards require a ‘collateral’ amount of money that has been placed in an account which is used toward the amount of credit the individual card will carry.

Understanding Credit Card Lingo

APR:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the interest on the card based on carrying a balance month to month. Some cards have low introductory rates that will increase after a specific number of months being a cardholder (for example, after 12 – 18 months).

Minimum payment:

  • This is the lowest amount you are required to pay each month based on the balance on your card. You can pay the minimum; however, to reduce your overall balance, it is beneficial to pay more than the recommended minimum payment.

Annual Fee:

  • This fee often ranges from $49 – $550. Cards that have an annual fee may have robust reward programs, but those perks are only beneficial if you are using the benefits available. Make sure that your rewards will balance out the cost of the annual fee associated with the card.

Additional Fees:

  • Look for additional fees that may be charged. If you are late in making a payment, you may have a late fee assessed. Some cards will charge a balance transfer fee, cash advance fees, and foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad.  

Rewards:

  • Generally, the reward credit is based on 1% or 2% of your general spending. Cards from specific lending agencies can have several different reward plans for a variety of cards. You want to choose the one that benefits you. A card with strong travel rewards works well for a frequent traveler.  A card with substantial rewards for everyday spending, for things like gas and groceries, might benefit a person with different goals in mind.

Sign up bonuses:

  • These are special promotion bonuses for individuals signing up for the first time. A travel card may give you extra travel miles for a specific airline. Or new cardholders may get a cash-back reward for signing up.

Optional Perks:

  • Look for other perks that give you more for your patronage. Some of the programs may include: advance access to concerts and special events, roadside assistance, rental car insurance, travel insurance, and even some have TSA PreCheck.

Members 1st of NJ strives to provide the best service possible to our members. Our Members 1st VISA Platinum Card offers worldwide convenience to shopping, travel, and dining.  Everything you are looking for in a credit card along with access to thousands of ATM locations. Stop by one of our locations today and speak with a representative. Or conveniently apply online.

  • No Annual Fee
  • No Balance Transfer Fee
  • No Cash Advance Fee
  • Rewards on everyday purchases
  • Everyday Rate As Low As 9.50% APR*
  • Free Travel Insurance
  • ATM Cash Advances
  • 25-day Interest-free Grace Period on Purchases

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate.  Rates are based on the creditworthiness of the applicant.