Did you know that the average cardholder in America has a credit card debt of $5,769?
Credit cards are an important part of our financials as we can use them for loaning purposes, building credit, and receiving rewards. Knowing what type of credit cards are personally best for you can help you reach your financial goals.
Identify Your Goals
There are three main factors that can help you decide what credit card you need:
improving your credit score
the interest charge
any promotional offers you can get as a card holder
Since there are multiple reasons to own a credit card, it's up to you to decide which reason is most important to you.
1. Improving Your Credit Score
Improving and maintaining a good credit score is an important part of using a credit card. A credit score is a number from 300 to 850 — the higher the score, the better.
Having a good credit score means you'll have an easier time applying for loans and borrowing money in the future.
If you have little to no credit history, or even a bad credit history, consider applying for credit cards that:
are easy to apply for (eg. cards that don't require a good credit score)
designed for students/credit building
give you access to monthly credit reports for monitoring
2. The Interest Charge
When you use your card, you're borrowing money from the credit card company. If you don't pay back the amount you borrowed after a certain deadline, the company will charge you extra based on their interest rate — an additional percentage of the original amount of money you borrowed.
The annual interest charge on a credit card is usually expressed as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). As of 2022, the average APR of a credit card in the US is about 16%, so if you aren't able to make credit payments on time, you'll be charged an extra 16% on the amount you owe.
Here are some things to look for concerning the APR of a credit card...
An APR below %16 is generally considered low and good.
Find an offer that introduces 0% APR for at least the first year.
Find out if the company offering the credit card would be willing to negotiate for a better APR in the future.
3. Promotional Offers
All credit cards include some sort of incentive to use their credit cards, whether it's through rewards, cash back, or bonus offers.
Credits cards may offer enticing signup bonuses such as receiving $200-500by spending a certain amount within a given period.
Rewards and Cash Back
For every purchase you make, you can win points based on a small percentage of the purchase amount.
You can use those points to redeem purchases, gain travel points, or simply earn cash back.
Card X offers a $200 cash bonus if $600 is spent in the first three months.
Card Y offers 1.5 mile points for every dollar spent on an airline.
Card Z offers 2.5% cash back for purchases from supermarkets, gas stations, and online U.S retail stores.
Leo is an experienced credit card holder that is looking to apply for a new credit card. He takes business trips often and wants to take advantage of his frequent overseas travels. What kind of credit card should he apply for?