How to Compare Credit Cards

by Mike on October 2, 2012

Compare Credit Cards

Four Great ways to Compare Credit Cards

There are a lot of ways to compare credit cards, but most people compare cards based on four main features: annual percentage rate, rewards, fees, and promotions offered by the card.  However, keeping track of all these for multiple cards can be tough.  That’s why you should read this guide on what to compare, and then compare credit cards at which offers great tools to put different cards side by side.


 Comparing the Credit Cards Percentage Rate

 The first thing to look at is the annual percentage rate, or APR.  This is the percentage of interest you will pay on your balance on the card each year.  If you don’t plan on carrying a balance on your card, this doesn’t really matter, but if you do, you want to get the card with the lowest APR possible. Remember the bigger the APR vs your balance the more money you will have to pay back in the long run. Often a deal can be had with many credit card companies offering low transfer rates or introductory rates in order to convince you to compare their credit cards against your current card.


 Compare Credit Card Rewards


The next thing to look at it rewards.  Almost every credit card available offers some type of rewards to users.  As such, you should take advantage and get the most rewards you can for buying things you would normally buy anyway.  Comparing these Credit cards and their various offers makes using a credit card much more lucrative.  Think about what rewards you’d use the most – cash back, travel, or points for stuff.  Then, find a credit card that offers that type of reward for you. Don’t settle on the first offer made to you by the credit card companies paperwork or their website. Sometimes calling can obtain a better non publicized offer.

Compare Credit Cards Fees


The next thing to consider is the fees the credit card may charge.  Many cards still charge annual fees or other types of fees on their customers.  However, many of the best cards don’t!  So, don’t think that you have to pay an annual fee to get good credit card rewards.  In fact, the opposite is true. Negotiation can be the key here. As I mentioned above talking to the credit card companies can often have results that can surprise you. When I went to compare credit cards personally, after making a call I received a substantially better deal on fees for the card I already had simply by asking for it!


Card  Promotions


 Finally, you should consider any promotions the credit card is offering for sign-up, and see if they apply to you.  For example, many airline credit cards offer free miles for signing up, which many times equal a free flight just for signing up.  As a regular traveler this could be a deal winner in helping you make your decision on the right credit card.  The same applies to points credit cards.  So, don’t just think about your spending while you compare credit cards, but think about what you get for signing up as well.


***Photo thanks to winnifredxoxo***

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 J. Beissel October 3, 2012 at 4:24 am

Nice work highlighting the most critical points of credit card shopping. It’s certainly a process that requires thorough evaluation in order to maintain solid financial habits.

I especially liked that you mentioned the importance of finding a rewards credit card that accurately reflects your spending habits. Otherwise consumers risk increased spending and balances from purchases they might not otherwise make. As a result, it’s nice to find a card that offers a percentage of cash back on no matter what purchase you make.

Additionally, I think it’s important for consumers to factor in tempered expectations when comparison shopping for credit cards. One card may sound appealing, but their scores can hold them back. But with proper use of a credit card designed for their spending habits, they can always work toward that better card.

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