Personal Finance Software

The Best Credit Cards

Find the best credit cards and learn how to use them for your specific situation. Not all credit cards are created equal - nor used for the same reasons; take a few minutes to find out about the newest benefits, features and types of credit cards currently available. The first step in finding the best credit cards is to determine your specific need.

Bad Credit or No Credit. If you have been denied credit due to bad credit or lack of a credit history then there a pre-paid credit card might be a good choice to help establish credit. A prepaid credit card is easy to apply when you open a bank or savings account. It looks just like an ordinary credit card and can be used anywhere that credit cards are accepted making it ideal for those who need to rent a car or make travel arrangements. Funds set aside in the savings or checking account determine the amount of credit available and act as a “guarantee” for funds. Pre-paid credit cards are also a great way to reduce the risk of identity theft when traveling or convenient ways to keep an emergency reserve on hand.

Same as Cash. People who routinely pay the full balance each month often find premium credit cards a valuable and convenient tool with the added benefit of rewards, points and other incentive programs. American Express, MasterCard and Visa all provide incentive programs with major incentives beginning at the Gold or Platinum level. For above average incomes, ask about Platinum Select, Diamond or Signature cards which may offer lower rates, increased spending limits and other incentive programs of interest.

Equity Credit Cards. Homeowners with substantial equity in their homes may find an equity or Line of Credit (LOC) card to be an invaluable tool in their investment and financial planning arsenal. This combination card and equity line allows the user to tap into the line of credit with the convenience of a credit card. Instead of writing checks or going to the bank to make a withdrawal from the LOC, you can simply use a card to purchase or pay for any transaction where normal credit cards are accepted.

The next step to finding the best credit card is to compare credit card offers. Take time to complete the online application process to receive credit card offers by mail or email. Pay special attention to each of the following items;

  1. Introductory and full interest rate.
  2. Fees including late fees, over the limit fees, transaction fees, cash advance, etc…
  3. Due Dates and grace periods.
  4. Method and frequency of calculating interest.
  5. Rewards and incentives.
  6. Application and approval requirements.
  7. Review and customer complaints.

Finally, once you receive the credit card take time to read and review the terms to make sure it complies with what you applied for. Many applicants are quoted the “best case” rates only to later find they didn’t qualify for premium rates so were given a different package. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the bank or credit card company prior to using the card; using the card indicates you accept the terms and conditions as provided so it will be much more difficult to change or challenge them afterwards.

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