What You Should Know When Shopping for a Credit Card

So you’ve decided to get a (another) credit card. Before you sign that dotted line on the credit card contract, however, make sure you’ve chosen the right product for your needs and budget. Selecting the right card can be overwhelming, what with all the choices out there. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of things you need to look into when shopping for a credit card. Check it out.

Balance transfer options

The right choice for you depends on why you’re getting a credit card in the first place. Are you doing a balance transfer to consolidate debt? If yes, look for a card that offers balance transfer options. This type of card is tailored for debt consolidation and usually comes with competitive interest rates. Choose one that comes with a low introductory interest rate so it’s easier to pay off your other credit card debts.

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Honeymoon interest rates

Just saw a credit card ad that says “no interest for the first 12 months”? It does look tempting, but remember, this “honeymoon rate” is only temporary. Credit card providers offer these deals to attract customers. And who doesn’t want low or 0% introductory interest rates, right? What you need to look into is how much interest you’ll be paying for after the introductory period. If the regular interest rates are too high, cancel your card before the honeymoon period expires and keep shopping for a new one.

Also watch out for retroactive interest rate increases. This is when the increased rates apply on your past purchases, even if your reason in the first place to get a card is to enjoy the honeymoon rates. Stay away from providers that do this. Keep in mind that honeymoon rates can sometimes cause bad money habits. After a year of zero interest rates, you’re probably used to getting credit when you need it and not paying any interest rates for it. This makes it difficult to let go of your spending habits, making the honeymoon rates a trap if you’re not careful. The only solution is to remind yourself that this deal is only for a year, and once it’s up, regular rates will apply.

Fees and charges

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You also need to look into extra fees and charges that come with the card. The list includes annual keeping fees, late payment penalties, fees when you go beyond your credit limit, cash advance charges, and international transaction fees. As much as possible, choose a card that charge reasonable rates. You wouldn’t want to blow off your hard-earned money on ridiculously expensive credit card fees. Before signing anything, read the contract carefully and make note of the extra fees and charges. If there are things you’re not sure of, list down all your questions and call the credit card provider.

Rewards program

To attract customers and keep loyal clients, credit card providers offer a variety of rewards program. If you’re a frequent traveller, choose a card that lets you earn discount travel packages or earn bonus miles. Other perks you’ll enjoy if you love to travel are free plane ticket upgrades and use of first-class lounge regardless of your ticket type. If you frequently use your card to pay gas, go for a card that offers petrol discounts. Other rewards you should also look into include cash backs on purchases and bills.

With so many factors involved in choosing the right credit card, take the time to do your homework. Check out credit card comparison sites that provide up-to-date rates and list of perks. With the right information, shopping for a credit card becomes a hassle-free task.


For more finance and budgeting tips, check out our blog. If you’re looking for vehicle leasing options, take a look at what Alpha Finance has to offer.