Different credit cards offer different benefit and charge different fees. Evaluating all the options can help you find the credit card that best meets your spending needs and habits, as well as your credit profile. Plus, learn how to protect your credit card from online threats.
Each new application for credit results in a hard inquiry on your credit report. This can trim a few points off your credit score, so it’s not something you want to do many times. Here are things to bear in mind before applying for a credit card:
The first step to decide what card is right for you is to start by evaluating the features and benefits. Ask yourself what you expect from a card. If it's rewards you are interested in, for example, you'll need to decide first what kind of rewards you want to earn. This could be, cash back, miles, or travel points. Discounts at different strores may be another thing to consider.
The next thing to bear in mind is to compare the interest rates you'll pay for purchases, balance transfers, or cash advances. If a card offers a 0% introductory promotional rate on purchases or balance transfers, be sure to ask how long the promotional period lasts and what the regular interest rate will be after it has ended.
Another thing to take into account are the fees. The most important fees to consider include the annual fee (if any) the balance transfer fee if you're planning to transfer a balance, and the foreign transaction fee, if you want to use your card overseas.
Once you have decided the type of card you're looking for, your credit history will be essential to know how likely you are to qualify for it. Even though credit card companies usually don't specify a minimum credit score needed to qualify, they may indicate which cards are designed for fair credit, good credit, or excellent credit. Being aware of your credit score, can be a guide for choosing a card. Carefully evaluating all these things before applying for a credit card can help you choose the right one. So take your time and analyze all your options thoroughly!
PROTECT YOUR CREDIT CARD FROM ONLINE THREATS
If someone steals your wallet or your credit card gets lost, it can be a real bummer. However, there’s an upside: at least you know that you need to request a new card and shut down the lost one. If someone steals your credit card information and you don’t notice it, they can start using it until you realize what’s going on, which can add up to many hundreds of dollars.
Online scammers are quick and are always coming up with new ways to deceive innocent credit card owners. They have simple tricks that work on distracted or naïve consumers. Luckily, you can anticipate most of these and avoid falling in many traps! You have to be suspicious of all emails that reach your account and demand that you write down in some website your credit card data or payment information. If you’re not certain whether it’s a scam or not, you can verify it by paying attention to some details.
Firstly, look at the email address. If you click on the display name, which usually looks pretty official, you can see the real email address. If it doesn’t follow the legitimate format of the company, chances are you were almost the target of a scam.
Secondly, look at the URL of the link that you received in the email. If it’s a legitimate site, it should start with https://, because all sites that ask for your financial information should be secure ones. You should also see a small lock icon in the browser bar. An unsecured site starts with http://, so avoid entering your payment information there.
You can also shut down fraudulent sales if you go over your credit card statements, as well as your banking ones. This way, you’ll notice any suspicious purchases on time to stop them from being charged.