Applying for a new credit card is a big decision, and there are all kinds of different cards on the market. Make sure you choose the right one by asking yourself these seven questions before you select your card.
1. What’s my credit score?
While you don’t need to know your exact credit score, you should at least know what range you fall under. Many credit cards have high credit score requirements, so if you don’t have a high score, you’d be wasting your time applying.
2. How will I use the card?
Different credit cards fit different needs. If you’re planning to consolidate credit card debt or finance large expenses on your card, you’ll want one with an introductory 0-percent annual percentage rate (APR). If you want to get the most back from your spending, it’s better to go with a card that has high cashback or rewards.
3. Does it have the features I need?
Look for a card that will fit all your needs. If you’re a frequent traveler, make sure you get a card that has no foreign transaction fees. Do you fly with a specific airline often? You may want to get its credit card so you can check your bags for free.
4. How can I get the most rewards?
To maximize the return you get on your spending, you need to choose a card with rewards that match your spending habits. For example, some cards offer bonus points or cashback on certain spending categories. Shop around to find the card that will get you the most back.
5. Is the annual fee worth it?
Many reward cards have an annual fee, and this fee could be $59, $95 or even $450. While paying $450 for a credit card may seem outrageous, cards with higher fees also have far more benefits which can make them worthwhile. Compare the amount you’d pay for the card to how much you could reasonably expect to save in rewards and other perks.
6. Can I meet the bonus requirements?
To attract customers, most credit cards have generous sign-up bonuses that you earn for spending a certain amount within a set timeframe. Choose a card with a bonus that you’ll be able to meet through your normal spending, otherwise you’re just leaving money on the table.
7. What’s the interest rate?
You should take a look at the interest rate of any credit card you’re considering. Just remember that it’s always better to pay your card balance in full every month to avoid interest.
While it can be tricky to choose a credit card, if you figure out your needs, it’s much easier to narrow down your options. Once you have a few favorites, you really can’t go wrong.