by Justin Weinger
Finding the right credit card is part skill and ingenuity, part luck. While there is no “magic card” that can fit all consumer needs, knowing what you need out of a line of credit and knowing how it will affect your overall financial situation will allow you to choose the card–and the financial institution behind it–that will work best for you and for your situation.
Knowing what your options are and having a clear picture of your own financial situations will allow you to determine what you are looking for in a line of credit. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right credit card for you.
Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score will determine what types of credit offers you are eligible for. The higher your score, the more offers you will be eligible for, and the more potential perks and benefits you will get from the establishment of a lending relationship with a credit card.
Generally speaking, credit scores in the 700-800 range will allow for the most flexibility, while scores of 600-700 will give you modest returns on card offers. If you find that your credit score is below 600, you might want to focus on finding a line of credit that is designed to increase your credit score as you establish a trusting relationship with them.
Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax are the three major credit reporting institutions that you can contact to find out your credit score; you are eligible for one free credit screening per year, so take advantage of what this knowledge has for you.
Identify What Type Of Card You Need
In general, there are three types of credit card offerings in existence today. The most basic credit lines are designed to improve limited or damaged credit. These cards tend to be the ones with the highest interest rates, as in establishing a relationship with them, you’ll need to prove your creditworthiness by paying on time and in full. Understanding interest rates is key to getting the most out of your credit relationship with a banking institution.
Interest saving cards are designed for people who have established credit, and they are looking to minimize interest charges on bigger purchases. These low-interest cards are a very attractive option for building and protecting credit scores as well.
Perks cards are created with established credit holders in mind. These cards offer perks such as vacation points, free purchases, and other incentives for regular users of credit lines. As long as holders pay responsibly, they can enjoy all of the added perks and benefits that come from credit line ownership.
Ask The Right Questions
Asking key questions when looking at lines of credit and knowing your own needs will help you narrow down your choices so you can “zero” in on the right card for you. Here are some examples of questions to ask when looking at credit offers:
- Will this credit line help me to rebuild or protect my credit score?
- How much does this card cost to open? To maintain? What are the interest regulations and fees?
- Can I graduate to a better offer later on?
- How long does the 0% APR offer last? What comes after that initial period?
- Does this card offer perks and rewards?
- What are the terms and conditions of payment? Am I willing to abide by these terms and conditions?
Knowing your credit line information thoroughly will allow you to determine if this is the right credit relationship for your unique financial situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to read your information thoroughly, and know your own financial situation and needs to determine if the LOC you are considering is right for you. Here’s to your financial health and prosperity!