Guide To The Right Credit Card

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It’s everywhere you want to be. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. Don’t leave home without it. Credit cards are everywhere – and their slogans make it clear. In the past decade, more and more companies have jumped on the credit card bandwagon to provide ‘affinity’ credit cards, branded credit cards and credit cards that offer rewards for their use. You can get cash back, cash donated to your favorite charity, cash in on your credit spending with airline miles and tanks full of gas and more. There are credit cards for those with bad credit, poor credit, no credit and outstanding credit. There are credit cards with low fees, no fees, variable fees and fixed rates. There are even credit cards that aren’t credit cards. With all the bits of plastic floating around, how do you choose the right credit card? Let’s take a look at the various reasons that people give for having credit cards and see which kind of credit card is right for you. I like to keep a record of what I spend If your only reason for having a credit card – or your major reason – is because it’s very easy to keep records of your spending, then your best choice is a charge card like American Express. Charge cards allow you to purchase items and pay for them later – as long as you pay off the entire balance each month. Because of that, American Express tends to be the card of choice for businesses and employee spending accounts. As long as the bill gets paid each month, there’s no finance charge. You pay an annual fee and get a full, clear record of your spending for tax purposes. I can pay for it next month. –or- I don’t like to carry cash Charge card again. As long as you’re able to pay your balance off each month, a charge card is the least expensive choice for credit. I want it now, but I can’t pay for it all at once The card you want is a credit card like MasterCard or Visa. Credit cards allow you to make larger purchases that you couldn’t pay for right now, and pay it off a little at a time over the next several months or years. Essentially, a credit card is a pre-approved line of credit. The credit card company sets a spending limit, and as long as your balance stays below that limit and you pay at least the minimum amount they tell you each month, you can use it to make purchases for which you’ll pay over time. I like to make the most of my money Many credit cards come with special ‘incentives’ to get you to use them. The most common are ‘cash back’ incentives. For every purchase you make, you’ll be credited a percentage – usually 1-2%. Most often, the credit card company will mail you a check for the amount you’ve earned periodically. You can get a 1-2% discount on anything you buy – but it’s offset by the credit card fees and interest that you’ll be charged. I have no credit at all, and need to establish some Look for a credit card with a low spending limit and a low interest rate. Use it carefully, and be sure to make at the very least the minimum payment every month. I have poor credit and need to start rebuilding it Secured credit cards are one of the best ways to rebuild your credit. You deposit a specified amount into a ‘security deposit’ – a bank account with the financial institution that issues your credit card. That amount is usually 100-150% of the amount of your spending limit. If you want $100 worth of credit, you deposit $150, for example. That money remains in your account. You use your credit card just like a regular credit card, and make your payments on time. If you miss a payment, or default on the card, the bank can draw it from your security deposit.

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