Opening a credit card account is a common occurrence today. In fact, many adults have multiple credit cards. However, opening a credit card account should not be taken lightly. Credit cards come with a lot of responsibility.
It is important to understand the pros and cons of applying for a new credit card. Will it cost you anything? Is it going to affect your credit score? What are you actually getting behind all the clever marketing?
Sit down with a notebook and layout all the details of every credit card you are looking at so you can make a well-informed decision. To get you started, here are 10 important considerations to make before applying for a credit card.
1. Application Process
What’s the application process like for the card you’re thinking of getting? That should be the first question on your mind. For most companies, the process is straight to the point; all you need is your ID, Social Security Number, and financial information. If there’s much to it, then maybe it isn’t worth the struggle.
2. Fees, Penalties, and Interest
One of the most important things that you should consider is how much you’ll incur in fees, penalties and interest. Failure to do so may end you in a financial house of cards with no way out. Always make sure you pick cards with reasonable fees. There are many fair credit cards out there, so don’t agree to pay huge fees unnecessarily.
3. Repayment Period/Terms
Anything less than a month for repaying fees per year should be scrapped off. Ensure you know when to pay and try to not to make any late payments. This is important for avoiding extra fees.
4. Reputation Of The Issuing Company
If the company you want to apply for a card through isn’t reputable, it is always best to stay away. There are many established and trustworthy credit card companies out there, so go with one you can depend on.
What rewards does the company offer? For example, what bonuses do you get for joining and using a certain amount? Those are just some of the bonuses you should be looking forward to.
Also, while looking at rewards, make sure you take note of their restrictions, such as expiration times and how many points you can earn.
6. Card Security
If there’s one thing that scares most people in this digital age, it’s the security of their automated systems. Your card company should be able to assure you of the security of your card. If not, you may incur debt on money you didn’t spend.
7. Your Spending Habits
If you tend to be a frivolous spender, opening up a credit card may not be the best idea for you. When used responsibly and paid off regularly, credit cards can be a great tool. Conversely, it is quite easy to let credit card debt get out of hand if you are not careful.
You want to start your new credit card with an advantage rather than a disadvantage, which is what will happen if you aren’t sure of your limit. Your credit card company should be offering you credit that’s within your limit. Make sure not to exceed this limit, as it could lead to big fees.
9. Balance Composition
You need to fully understand how your company is going to calculate how you’ll finance your charges on the card. Avoid any company that uses two billing cycles. This method can lead to bigger interest charges.
10. Online Experience
Almost everything is done online today, including your shopping, banking, and even work. If they can’t offer a friendly online experience, then it’s better to move to the next one. You want a credit card that you can use to make your online payments and still feel secure.
These are just some of the crucial things you should consider before applying for a credit card. It is essential to know what you are getting yourself into. If they all check out, then you can probably go ahead and complete your application.