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Comparing Credit Card Offers

Aug 17, 2007
Following the changes to the credit and loan industry that went into affect in October 2005, you may be noticing an increase in the number of credit card offers you are receiving in your regular mail and on the Internet. The banking industry was able to secure changes to the bankruptcy laws that will make it harder for you to file for bankruptcy. It will be more important for you to be careful with the credit card applications.

If you've been in the market for a new credit card, but don not want to pay more than you have to in interest rates, you will need to sort through the promotional offers credit card companies throw at you to determine the card with the best rate. This will require you to take your time to carefully read the application and you can indeed find all the information to protect yourself.

While searching for credit cards online do not apply for cards at websites that do not have encryptions. You can identify this with the lock and key in the lower right corner of your browser. Another security measure is the web address will start with https instead of only http. Insuring that you watch these features will help in protecting your identity. Be sure to learn about your liability in the event of fraudulent activities on the card. Before you apply be sure to read the Terms & Conditions of the card providers to make sure there are no hidden fees. Look for terms like security, fees, deposit, annual rates, and so forth. The fine print needs to be read carefully. If you do not understand the information contact the bank for more information.

The key to knowing how much you're paying in interest lies in understanding the annual percentage rate, or APR. The APR is the interest that is charged on your credit card balance each year, and is subject to change depending upon nationally-set interest rates and the cardholder's credit rating. If you want to compare credit cards based upon the interest that they charge, then you should compare them based upon the APR of each card. The APR of the card is required to be disclosed along with additional information concerning billing structures, additional fees, and how these rates and fees are calculated and charged.

The length of time for promotional APR financing is a key area. The card providers may offer 0% Annual Percentage Rates on all purchases made on the card, which includes any balance transfer up to twelve months. There may not be annual fees attached to the card, something that will benefit you. Other promotions or included services would be rewards programs and cash back bonuses. The bank rewards may be permanent, and then the card provider may offer additional bonuses, such as gift cards or certificates that enable you to turn $10 into $20 easily.

Some of the cards available offer Fraud Protection, which is free. This means you get $0 Fraud Liability Guaranteed. The providers will provide you with free advanced alerts if fraud has occurred on your account. You will receive services that provide you with free online secure account digits, coupled with 24-hour customer service in the event fraud occurs on your account. The service providers claim to handle your fraudulent problem in less than a minute, and they will offer free opportune e-mails that will 'help you avoid fees.' It is nice to find lenders that present cards that have 100% fraud protection.

Finding the APR

In order to find the APR among all of the promotional information that generally accompanies credit card flyers, mailings, and websites, it's important to know where to look. If you're evaluating credit cards online, you should be able to find a link that will take you to a separate page that contains financial disclosure information and a chart that lists the APR along with other fees and charges that might accompany your card. If you are looking at a mailing sent by the card company, there should be a separate page (or possibly the back of a page) that contains the same information and chart.

Promotional Rates

Most promotional rates only last for a few months, generally six, but that means that there are six months during which you're only paying a very small interest rate. This can be especially useful if you're transferring balances from other cards or using the new credit cards to pay off older debts. It's important to make sure that the rate which the card will revert to after the promotion is something that you are willing to pay; however, you may end up with a much higher rate than you were originally seeking.

Comparing Credit Card Offers

When comparing credit card interest rates, you should compare the APR of each card that you're considering. Look for any processing or activation fees that may be charged, and avoid them if possible; if not, factor them into your considerations. You are looking for the card that has the lowest APR and that has lower fees than the other cards or if possible that has no fees at all. Do not ignore promotional rates. If you can find a card with promotional rates that also has a lower APR than some of your other options then you have found a card that will meet your financial needs.

Applying for Credit Cards

You no longer have to wait for the mail carrier to bring you that envelop that reads "Apply Now." Although, your mailbox is probably inundated with many credit card offers already. If you go online to apply for credit cards you will find it easy to compare cards, get the best rates and so forth. It is important that you settle on a single company to apply for a credit card. If you apply for several credit cards online then the creditors will review your credit report, which affects your credit rating. Each time a creditor reviews your report it takes away points. Therefore, only apply for the low rate, no fees cards that suit your need and a single creditor.
About the Author
Search Credit Fast www.searchcreditfast.com Find all the best and current credit card offers on Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Credit Card tips and resources for personal and business users.
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