Applying for a credit card online is the smartest way to go about getting the best credit card. You have access through credit card comparison sites all you need to make a wise decision. There are hundreds of different types of credit cards and they all have key features with pros and cons.
You need to know which are the best credit cards that fit your lifestyle. Then once you figure out the type of credit card you need, the next task is comparing.
You will want to compare all the credit cards in that category to see all the key characteristics you should look for to get the best credit card. Now we will discuss how to decide on what type of credit card you will need.
How to Pick The Right Type of Credit Card?
When first deciding on a credit card you need to understand what credit cards are best for your specific lifestyle.
Each type of credit card has certain features and you need to understand how you should use them to your advantage.
Cash Back Credit Cards
The cash back credit card can be used in grocery stores, gas stations or really any type of purchase.
There are cash back credit cards that give you a flat percentage for every purchase. Then there are types that have specific rotating categories where they weight the points you receive.
When you use a cash back credit card, you should pay off the balance each month. If you are going to run a balance and pay interest, it will not be worth the rewards you receive.
Credit Card for Balance Transfers
A balance transfer credit card normally will come with a 0% APR introductory offer. These are to be used to pay off other higher interest credit cards via a transfer. This transfer will typically have an initial balance transfer fee between 3% – 5% depending on the card.
After you transfer the balance you should treat it like a personal loan. I would not recommend using the credit card for anything other than paying the balance down.
If the introductory offer is for 12 months, take your balance transferred and divide it by twelve. Then pay this amount each month until it is full paid off.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
One of the most popular types of credit card is for building travel rewards points. Many of these types of credit cards offer travel point bonus offers for signing up initially for the credit card.
Then you can earn more travel points for using the credit card for specific categories. There are also flat percentage credit cards that will give you up to 2% rewards for all purchases.
These are the main types of credit cards you can apply for online to make your life easier. They can also provide you with unique benefits and savings.
Low Interest Credit Card
If you run a balance on your credit card for months, then getting a low interest credit card can be a great deal. There are many 0% promotional credit card offers out there you can apply for and save on interest for months.
When making a big purchase, a low interest credit card can be a good idea. Try to pay it back before the promotional offer ends.
How to Compare Credit Cards
Once you pick the specific type of credit card you will need, you need to then compare cards.
You will see that travel or airline rewards will have certain features vs a balance transfer credit card that you need to be aware of.
What to Look for in Cash Back Cards
The cash back credit cards are really some of the most straightforward in regards to the rewards programs.
You can find them that have categories that earn a higher percentage for things like restaurants, gas or groceries. They can be a pain in the rear to remember to sign up for and manage. This is why I would suggest to avoid those and go with a flat percentage.
There are some great cash back credit cards that just have flat percentages. Two of these are the Citi Double Cash and the Capital One QuickSilver. These give you cash back rewards just for using the cards for everyday spending. There is no signing up each quarter and everything is automatic. Use the card and get 2X points on the Double Cash or 1.5X on the QuickSilver.
The primary thing to look for when picking a good cash back credit card is the rewards that we covered above. But another key thing is to never and I mean never run a balance. This is to avoid paying any interest on the credit card. This will defeat the purpose of using it to rack up cash back points as it will be offset by the interest you will be paying.
How to Pick a Card to do Balance Transfers?
Balance transfer credit cards are a different animal than cash back credit cards.
The key feature with the balance transfer credit card is the transfer fee itself. Sure it is great to get that 0% APR interest rate for 12 months. But, if the fee to transfer the credit card is 5% you need to negotiate. Many credit card issuers will negotiate the balance transfer fee.
Try to get a balance transfer credit card with a fee of no more than 3%. One of the best credit cards with a balance transfer fee of 0% was the Chase Slate.
What to Look For When Applying For Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Usually with travel credit cards you can select specific airline credit cards or go with a more generic type.
Sometimes if the travel bonus offer is high enough it may be worth applying for that specific airline credit card.
The other type is to get a credit card that you can just build mile for everything you spend on the credit card. The Capital One Venture Credit Card gives you 2X miles for all purchases.
Another good way to get those bonus offers is to look to American Express. Their Delta Gold offers huge bonus miles if you catch them during a great deal. Many of their charge cards will also give out large bonus offers on travel so keep a lookout on our site as we list these offers from time to time.
How to Pick a 0% APR or Low Interest Credit Card?
If you are going to be making a major purchase, a low interest credit card is the way to go. Most of the time you can find a good 0% introductory interest rate on purchase for at least 12 months. Discover, Citi, Bank of America and Chase all have these 0% Offers.
So if you are buying electronics that are over $1,000, you should use one of these low interest credit cards. This way you are virtually paying zero interest for that item.
You will also want to make sure the low interest credit card you pick has things like purchase protection and extended warranty. We explain those benefits of getting a credit card below.
Benefits of Getting a Credit Card
Using a credit card has many advantages over making purchases with cash or a check. For one it is just much easier to swipe a credit card when making a purchase.
It is also easier to look back through your transaction history on your credit card to find out where you are spending your money. You can also use a website or app like Mint that will summarize all your transactions on all your credit cards into a budget. This can simplify your budgeted spending vs your actual spending each month into a nice summary.
Another reason is to build up a credit history that in the future can get you great interest rates on a home mortgage or car loan.
Some of the benefits when purchasing products on your credit card can be protected against theft or damage. You can also get automatic extended warranties on electronics and other products just by buying them using your credit card.
The other reason to get a credit card is to earn cash back or travel rewards. You will want to pay off your balance each month on your credit card to avoid any interest charges that would offset the benefits of earning the reward points.
It is really a personal decision on whether to get a credit card, but for all of the reasons above it can be a good idea if used responsibly.
Are Credit Card With Chips More Secure?
Most credit cards on the market now are coming with chip technology. Before you would have credit cards with a magnetic stripe on the back. After these were swiped or run through a machine you would be required to give your signature.
The Chip Credit Card technology adds a layer of protection for you. When you use it at a terminal enabled for the chip, it turns your information into a unique code that cannot be easily replicated.
For example when I used to go to my local grocery store I would have to swipe my credit card and then sign. Now I just pop my credit card with it’s microchip into the reader and that is it! No signature required by me thereby saving me time and hassle. I really love the new chip readers and this technology.
Where Can I Apply For Credit Card Offers?
There are a number of ways to apply for credit card offers. First you need to review the details of the specific credit card offer. You should also compare other credit cards that fall into that category. Below we have included a button to a credit card navigator that will take you through a step by step process.
You will get to compare and review the details on the credit cards you are qualified to apply for and then be taken to the online credit card application.