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How to choose the best credit card

Updated on January 21, 2008

Credit cards are a mainstay of society these days and have been for some time. It was 1950 when Franklin X McNamara invented the modern day credit card. Since that time just about every store and bank offers a credit card of some kind.

There are many types of credit cards; however the main ones you find are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Many bank and store cards are labeled with the store or banks name; however it is actually a Visa or MasterCard. For instance, I have an LL Bean credit card, but it is really a Visa.

Finding the right credit card depends on what you are looking for. Do you want cash back at the end of the year? Do you want to earn airline miles? Do you want to earn points towards gift cards? Do you want free shipping at a particular store? Are you trying to payoff your debt?

There are some important things to consider when choosing a credit card. When will the payment be due each month? How long is the grace period? Is the entire balance due each month? American Express typically requires that you pay your balance in full each month. Other credit cards allow you to carry a balance, which unfortunately many people do. Some credit cards charge fees, however there are so many that don't charge an annual fee that I am not sure why someone would agree to pay a fee each year.

Interest rates are totally negotiable. They can range from 0% all the way to 25% or higher. For a new card you can typically get an introductory rate that will be much lower than the regular rate. You need to look into what the regular rate would be after the introductory period, especially if you carry a balance.

You can find credit cards with 0% interest for a certain period of time and these are good if you want to transfer a balance from a higher rate card. Doing this will allow you to make a dent in the overall balance, because each month's payment will go towards the principle entirely. If you are trying to payoff your debt, transferring it to a 0% interest card or at least a lower rate card will really help you out.

While I don't think that people should carry a balance on their credit cards, having a credit card is very convenient. I also like how secure a credit card is compared to a debit card. If there is fraudulent use, no one has wiped out your checking out account, as could happen with your debit card.

There are so many credit cards out there, just look in your mailbox each week and I bet you will receive many offers. Before signing up for a credit card take a very close look at why you want a credit card to help you determine which one is right for you. Make sure you read all the fine print carefully before signing up for anything. Credit card companies can be very sneaky and you need to be careful. Good luck finding the right credit card for you!


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    • sminut13 profile image

      sminut13 10 years ago from singapore

      grins, actually it's a coincidence. i also chose title frm idea bank.hehehehe hope you enjoy it.

    • Jennifer profile image

      Jennifer 10 years ago

      That is funny sminut13. I just went through the idea bank and grabbed a title and wrote. I didn't do a search or anything. I am off to read your article.

    • sminut13 profile image

      sminut13 10 years ago from singapore

      great hub. i too have done an article with the same title. hehehe. grins