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Consumers Offered Many Choices When Card Shopping

Jun 5, 2008
Interest rates alone don't necessarily make one credit card a better deal than another one. Credit card companies are constantly seeking ways to differentiate their card from all the others on the market, and nowadays thousands of American consumers use credit cards that offer rewards points or other benefits for every dollar spent with their card.

One company's card offers rewards points good at a popular hotel chain. Cardholders can earn points for every dollar spent that can be redeemed for hotel stays, but those points can also be converted for use toward vacation transportation and even merchandise. Beyond the rewards, the card offers a 2.99% introductory APR on purchases and transfers from other cards, no annual fee and VIP benefits at the company's hotel chain. As with many other cards, the introductory period only lasts six months, after which time the APR goes up, and, as always, it's very important that the applicant read the entire Terms and Conditions before signing for the card.

Another card, this one designed for students, promises no liability if the card is used fraudulently and rebates on motor vehicle maintenance, service and repair. Other rebates are redeemable toward gift cards, merchandise, travel and new vehicles. Students pay no interest for the first six months and earn extra points for shopping at particular markets and gas stations.

Students are an important demographic group to card providers, and one credit card company offers a product that gives rewards for getting good grades. The card also offers discounts at websites and shops frequented by students as well as gifts of merchandise and travel. As an investment in sound financial education, the company offers points bonuses for each month the card is paid off on time.

Yet another card offers rewards points similar to the others but with the addition of the cardholder's photo on the card itself, which helps reduce fraud and lends convenience to transactions. For all this, the standard APR on purchases is 12.49%, lower than some of the competitors.

Consumers have much to chose from with flexible rewards when shopping for a credit card. While low interest rates and finance charges are no doubt the most important things to look for, more and more companies are tailoring their products to fit the individual's lifestyle. Rewards points, rebates, discounts and bonuses are all marketed groups and individuals, and consumers might wish to take those into consideration too.
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