5 Steps to Choosing a Credit Card
Credit cards can be an extremely useful financial tool, that can help you manage your money and plan your spending. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that they are so popular with so many people. If you are thinking of applying for a credit card , it’s important that you do some research and make sure you apply for one that is right for you. This is because there are so many different cards on the market, all of them offering slightly different things that you should definitely consider before making your final choice.
Read on to find out about five of the most important things to think about when you are thinking of applying for a credit card.
Am I eligible?
Probably the first thing you should think about if you want to apply for a credit card is whether or not you are eligible to apply for one. There are a few criteria you’ll need to meet if you are going to be able to do so: you will need to be a resident of the UK, over the age of 18 and have a bank or building society account.
As long as you meet these criteria, you should be eligible to apply for a credit card, but please remember that this isn’t a guarantee that you will definitely be given a card. While most people who apply for a card will be given one, there are also some other factors that credit card companies have to take into account before they are allowed to accept you as a customer in order to fulfil their obligations as responsible lenders. This can include your credit rating and your ability to pay for your card.
What do I want from the card?
If you are fairly certain that you are eligible to apply for a credit card, you will need to think about exactly what kind of card you would like to have. Two of the main, most popular types are 0% balance transfer cards and credit cards with 0% interest. Depending on your financial situation and preferences, you might want to go for one of these cards more than the other.
0% balance transfer cards are credit cards that allow you to transfer over the balance of other cards onto your new card, and then pay off that balance without being charged any interest. This makes 0% balance transfer cards particularly useful for people who are looking to consolidate previous cards and reduce the amount of interest they pay on the outstanding balance.
Credit cards with 0% interest, as the name suggests, offer you an interest free period when you first take out the card. This enables you to make purchases on your card and pay off the balance over an extended period without having to pay interest, something that is appealing to quite a lot of people.
What are the key benefits of the card?
Once you have decided which type of credit card you would like to apply for, you should also look at the other benefits and attributes associated with the cards you are interested in. For instance, what is the APR? This is the ‘annual percentage rate’ and it is what tells you how much interest you will be charged on your card purchases.
Other things to look at can include the length of the balance transfer window or interest free period, as well as any other issues such as whether there are any regular charges associated with a particular card.
Are there any other rewards associated with it?
Something else you might want to consider is whether there are any other rewards associated with the credit cards you are looking at. For instance, air miles credit cards also offer you the chance to earn air miles as you spend on your card, while charity credit cards give you cash back that you can then donate to charity. If you are having trouble deciding between two cards, the additional rewards on offer could well help you to make your final choice.
Making the application
Finally, once you have decided which specific credit card you would like to apply for, it’s time to actually make the application. You can usually do this online, which is probably the fastest and most efficient way of applying, meaning you can generally expect an answer to your application very quickly. If you can’t or don’t want to apply online, then the credit card provider should have a helpline that you can call either to apply or ask for more advice on how you should apply. You can usually expect an answer to your application relatively quickly.