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Selecting a credit card Choosing a credit card can be overwhelming. Managing your credit card Get the most out of your credit card. Improving your credit Better credit habits can lead to a better credit score.
Figure out which type of card is best for you by what their interest rates are and what specific benefits the company offers.
Some things to keep in mind include: This fee can sometimes be waived if you are a frequent user of the card, transfer a specific balance to the card, or, sometimes, just for asking! Your APR can be either a "fixed" or a "variable" floating rate. Fixed rate generally are a little higher, but you will know what to expect each month.
Variable rates are based on a current published index coupled with an additional percentage. Grace Period - This is the amount of time between when your transaction is posted to the account and when interest begins to be charged to it. This is usually 25 days from billing time, unless you carry a balance. Late, over-the-limit, and account setup fees - Most companies charge you late fees for paying your bill late and over-the-limit fees for going over your credit limit , but it is very rare for a company to charge an account setup fee.
Know your credit score. Your credit score is a score on a scale from to , with being the best. Be mindful that having a credit card may encourage you not just to spend more money, but to spend more money than you actually have. Studies show that people who use credit cards tend to spend more than people who use cash. Scientists also know this: This is not necessarily a bad thing, but, for financially irresponsible people, it can have devastating consequences.
Find information on the credit cards you're interested in applying for. Locate online applications or a hard copy of an application and look over the information on interest rates, grace periods, penalties, and rewards.
Browse online reviews on customer service for the credit card s you are interested in. The abstract information credit card companies publish can be a lot different than the nitty-gritty stories told by people who have actually dealt with those credit card companies in real time. Check out rewards offered with different cards. As mentioned above, some credit cards come with miles that you can use on flights and other incentives.
Some credit cards, however, give out reward points only after you spend a certain amount, making the deal a little less sweet. In any case, do not let the promise of rewards drive your spending. This is what the creditors count on, so don't fall into this spending mode. For example, if a credit card offers cash back rewards for gasoline purchases made using their card, it might make sense to use that credit card for all of your gasoline purchases, but not to change your spending habits.
In the end, using this strategy, your gas purchase price will have been reduced. Check to see when payments are due. Some credit cards require you to pay in full; others allow payment bi-weekly and some are due monthly. Knowing when your payments are due will keep you from forgetting your due dates, which could in turn affect how much you pay and even your credit rating.
Locate all the information needed to apply. Some credit cards only ask for a minimal amount of information such as a name and identification number, but others can have a more extensive application that would require more information from you.
Think about how you would like to apply for a credit card. NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners.
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