Credit Cards

Credit Cards: Your Guide to Card Shopping

Responsibly using a credit card can make online and in-person shopping easier — and it may also help to improve your credit score. The first step to getting a credit card is to sort through different credit card offers. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions — in particular, compare the interest rates, late fees, and penalties. In addition, you might want to look at when the payments are due and what limits you may have.
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Consider the different perks available with each offer. Some credit cards offer cash back, mileage, or bonus points. If you plan to use your credit card for those types of benefits, then be sure to research the terms related to each one. With some credit cards, your purchases may be backed by the issuer, even doubling the length of the manufacturer’s warranty. This could help to prevent you from getting stuck with an item that doesn’t work the way it was intended or was not described properly. Make sure you check each card carefully to determine whether or not the protection offered by the card issuer fits your needs. 

The next step to credit card shopping is applying for the offers. The qualification requirements are usually based on your credit history and credit score. Don’t be fooled by offers claiming that you are “pre-qualified.” This just means that a credit card issuer has completed a soft credit check to determine whether or not you may be a good potential customer. It is not a guarantee that you’ll receive a specific interest rate, or even get approved for the card. For some people, a secured card might be a wise choice. A secured card requires a cash deposit that becomes the credit limit for the card, but it can be used in most of the same ways as other credit cards.
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