*There’s a great thrill you get when applying for credit cards. It’s a buzz knowing you’ll soon have a little extra financial flexibility.
You get wild reactions to credit cards if you bring it up in a conversation.
Some call them pure evil. Others find them to be a great opportunity. Either way, it’s important you’re asking the right questions before completing the application.
Q1: Do I Need a Credit Card?
The average American carries 1-2 credit cards. It’s likely these meet your credit needs. You’re more influenced by your wants if you want another.
It’s good to know why you need/want a card:
- Get better terms and conditions
- Work with a better card issuer
- Increase your credit line
- Get rewards and neat perks
- Living situation and lifestyle
You need to be realistic with how you manage money. Ask, “Is the card a financial tool or do I want it to have fun?” Be smart about this answer.
Q2: What Are the Terms, Conditions, and Perks?
Dig into the card’s terms and conditions and ask yourself if you’re okay with what the issuer offers. Consider the items like:
- Annual percentage rate (APR)
- Membership fees
- Balance transfers
- Cash advances
- Fee structure(s)
You should weigh the basic terms and conditions against the perks. Perks that may catch your attention include:
- Sign up bonuses
- Cashback rewards
- Points and miles
- Business benefits
Use comparison tools to get a big picture of your options.
Q3: Is the Issuer a Worthwhile Company?
You’ve likely received tons of card applications in the mail. You probably couldn’t recognize half of them and their issuers! Ask whether you trust the company and if they’re reputable before applying.
Think of the company’s ethics and business practices, too. Sure, it’s a credit card company but you still want to be with one with your interests in mind.
Q4: What If I Fall Behind on Payments?
How the card issuer treats your payments is probably what matters most. We never know what life throws at us. It’s nice to be with a card company that offers a grace period or some flexibility in case you fall behind.
Look for these items, too:
- Customer support availability and helpfulness
- Ability to change payment date and schedule
Q5: Are There Better Cards I Could Get?
You’ll find yourself bombarded with credit card offers when you start looking.
By now, you’ve sort of settled on a basic idea of what card you’d like:
And whatever other types of card that are fitting your fancy. You’ll have compared them to these best credit cards in the process.
If you find a better card, with better terms, then put that as your new, main choice. Then, repeat the process until you find the perfect card.
Think Before Applying for Credit Cards
Applying for credit cards and getting a new line of credit is exciting. The process is so easy that before long you can have too many — that can be a problem!
Think before you begin applying to every card you find. Ask and get answers to the questions outlined in this article. And, browse, learn, and apply the knowledge from the other helpful finance guides here on the site!