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How To Choose Your New Credit Card

Aug 17, 2007
Choosing a new credit card is not just a personal choice. It's a lifestyle choice. There are hundreds of credit cards to choose from and savvy shoppers will want to choose the one that suit the way they spend and the things they want to do.

Why Do You Need A Credit Card?

First of all, consumers need to consider why they need a credit card. For example, some people may be using the card to improve their personal cash flow. They could do this by banking your salary, putting all purchases on the credit card and paying it off before the interest is due. Meanwhile, their salary sits in a current or savings account earning interest.

Other people may want to use their them for occasional luxury purchases, such as going on holiday or having a day out with some friends. Still others may use a credit card to pay for purchases where they want the extra consumer protection many credit cards offer. Paying by credit card gives consumers some comeback if there is a fault with the item purchased. This can be useful if manufacturers don't want to give a refund.

Some people may want to use their credit card to have ready access to cash, for example when going on holiday. People who are planning to use their credit cards for cash advances will need to choose a card that has a low rate for this type of transaction.

How Will You Repay The Credit Card?

The next question people need to ask is how they want to make the payments. If they want to clear thier balance each month, they will need a different type of cards to someone who is planning to clear only part of the balance.

It is also useful to check on introductory rates, balance transfer rates and any special offers that apply when taking out a new card. Some credit cards offer lifetime balance transfer rates that are much lower than the standard variable rate. Others offer reductions in the variable rate for periods of up to 12 months. Still others offer an incentive for taking out the card, such as cash back or a sports bag.

What Incentives Are There?

Another area to look at is incentives for using the credit card. For example, some credit cards offer cash back on purchases which people can apply to pay off the card. Others offer discounts when the credit card is used with certain manufacturers. Still others offer the option of making charitable contributions on customers' behalf.

A key area to consider is the annual percentage rate (APR). This is the rate that customers pay on purchases once the incentive period has run out. These rates vary considerably, so it is worth shopping around.

Credit Card Payment Rates And Fees

The minimum payment is another area of concern. Minimum payments on outstanding balances tend to start around 3% but some may be lower and others may be much higher. Finally, the interest free period is of big concern - you'll want to go for the longest period you can get to keep those payments down.

Finally, consumers need to consider any other fees that might apply to the credit card account. Some credit cards charge one-off setup fees; others charge annual fees; still others charge no fees for owning the card. It's best for consumers to read the small print to see what fees and rates apply to the cards they have chosen.
About the Author
Joe Kenny writes for the Credit Card Guide, offering views on credit cards in the UK, visit them today for some great 0% balance transfer offers and start clearing credit card debt today.
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