- Personal Finance
Finding the Best Credit Card Rates
Choosing a Credit Card
Finding a credit card with the best rates can be somewhat challenging, as there are many different deals offered on cards at any one time. You will find new deals are introduced every day by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and many other companies. The different types of offers are quite mind-boggling, there are air miles credit cards, cash back credit cards, zero-interest credit cards, reward schemes credit cards, and transfer cards, to name just a few.
It is not only the interest rate of the credit card which determines how much it will cost you to use. Some credit card companies offer low interest rates but they have high annual charges, so you could end up paying more than you bargained for; therefore when you are choosing a credit card you should read the small print and be sure you know exactly what you are signing up to.
Introductory Offers and Hidden Fees
Your bank or building society may offer you a credit card with an introductory offer of 0%, but this is only really useful if you are able to clear your balance before the introductory offer ends. If you cannot do this it is possible you will end up paying a high interest rate on the balance, that will cost you more than the money you saved.
Before signing for a card you should also ask the provider if it has an annual fee. Some cards have low interest rates but high annual fees, and therefore are not really the best option in many cases.
You should also consider how you will be using your credit card for the main part. If you plan on making many online purchases, or you travel overseas frequently, you should ask your card provider if they charge higher fees for foreign exchange transactions.
Offering rewards schemes is a common method that credit card companies used to entice new customers to sign up. You should be aware that these schemes are designed to get you to use your card more often instead of paying with cash. This allows you to accumulate more points which you can eventually exchange for a reward or gift. Before using reward scheme credit cards you should determine the value of each point, as sometimes you will find you need many points before you receive a gift, and because of the card interest rates you end up paying more for the gift than if you were to go to a store and purchase it.
Proceed With Caution
When you first obtain a credit card it can be very exciting and give you a feeling of financial freedom, but you are advised to proceed with caution. It is important that you know how to stick to a monthly budget even though you now have access to extra money that you do not have to pay back immediately. When you are getting used to using a credit card it is a good idea to begin by only purchasing small items, for example those between £20 and £60. Once you become accustomed to paying your credit card bills in a timely fashion, you can then begin to increase the money that you spend on your card.