Choosing the right credit card for your particular circumstances
should be based on a combination of factors including your credit
score, your tolerance for annual fees, what perks you might be seeking
and how any rewards fit with your spending habits.
Not all credit cards charge an annual fee but many of those that do will offer rich rewards and other perks in return.
Depending on your goals in acquiring a new credit card, be aware of
any other fees associated with owning a particular card. For example, if
you’re looking for a card to shift a balance to, be sure to factor in
any balance transfer fees. Those with not-so-great credit may find that
some options available to them charge account opening fees or credit
limit request fees in addition to any annual fees. Steer clear of those,
For those who think they might carry a balance, even if it’s just
occasionally, be aware of the APR on any card you’re considering.
Carrying a balance for any length of time on a credit card is expensive
and you don’t want to be socked with a ballooning balance over time.
If a card offers rewards on your spending, make sure that the areas
where it offers the best rewards are a match for your spending habits.
Someone without a car is unlikely to benefit from high rewards on gas,
While those who rarely dine out or get take-out will likely fare
better with a card that offers elevated rewards on groceries rather than
Many credit cards offer perks and benefits beyond the ability to earn
rewards. Premium travel cards may offer exclusive airport lounge
access, free checked baggage and airline incidental credits. Many cards
on the market offer other perks like extended warranty protections and
other travel protections and insurances. Even cards without an annual
fee may offer several money-saving benefits.
Cards aimed at helping you shore up your credit profile, like secured
cards, work by reporting your on-time payment behavior to the credit
bureaus so that over time, your score can improve with a record of
positive payment history. There are many cards on the market aimed at
those seeking to boost their profile. The best ones charge little to no
annual fee and don’t carry account opening or other unnecessary fees.
There are some unsecured cards available too, although these tend to be
unavailable to those with a recent bankruptcy.
What Credit Card Should I Get?
Different types of credit card users will benefit most from different
types of credit cards. Here are some tips to help you decide what’s
best for you.
Value Shoppers will likely benefit most from cash back cards that
provide rewards on everyday purchases. These cardholders will want to
minimize annual fees and aren’t concerned about travel rewards or high
end perks. Check out the best cards for shopping and best cards for
groceries to learn more.
The best credit card for travelers will vary based on the kind of
traveler you are. If you like to play license plate ABC, check out our
best cards for road trips. If you prefer your travels at 35,000 feet,
check out the best airline credit cards.
When you’re just starting out it can feel like a Catch-22. You need
good credit to get a credit card, but you need a credit card to build
good credit. Fortunately there are some cards out there that are good
for both those starting out and those needing to get back on track. Check our best first credit cards and best cards for rebuilding credit lists to learn more.
College students have a plethora of credit card options because the
banks understand the value of a lifetime customer. Many of these cards
act as little siblings to their rewards card brothers, giving students a
chance to earn rewards without needing as much of a credit history.
Check out these best credit cards for students.
Whether it’s a roadside stand or a shop on Etsy, small businesses
have unique credit needs. Business credit cards offer benefits tailored
to commerce and offer a way to keep personal and business expenses
separate. If you are just starting out, one of our best cards for new
businesses may do the trick. If you operate an established business,
even if it’s a side hustle, check out our best business credit cards
list to learn about your options.
If you only stay at Hyatt or only shop at Pottery Barn, it may make
sense for you to pick up a co-branded credit card for that store,
airline or hotel chain. By doing so you’ll earn points and perks within
their ecosystem, which you can then use to further your love of the
Credit Card Application
In general, there are several steps to applying for a credit card:
First, check your credit score through a credit card issuer or by
ordering it from one of the three main credit agencies. Once you know
where you stand with your credit score, decide which type of card will
be the best for you based on what you’re planning to use it for. Credit
cards typically fall into one of three categories: rewards, low APR or
Next, check to see if you’re pre-qualified. Many issuers, including
American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Deserve
and Discover will let you check to see if you’re pre-qualified for any
of their cards. Keep in mind that pre-qualification doesn’t ensure
Choosing the right card may be difficult, but applying for the card
you’ve chosen is easy. Most cards can be applied for online, although
you can go to the issuing bank and apply in person or call them on the
phone. If you’re approved, the next step is to make sure you understand
the card’s terms and conditions, listed in the fine print of the