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Frequently Asked Questions
Several key factors should be considered:
- Interest Rates: Examine the card's annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases and balance transfers. A lower APR can save you money on interest charges.
- Fees: This includes annual fees, balance transfer fees, late payment fees, returned payment fees, cash advance fees and foreign transaction fees. Opt for cards with the lowest fees to maximize savings.
- Credit Limit: Consider the credit limit, i.e., the total amount you can charge on your card, as it impacts your purchasing power. Some cards offer the potential for credit limit increases over time.
- Credit Score: Assess your credit score and choose cards that match your credit profile. Some cards are designed for individuals with excellent credit, while others are more forgiving of lower scores.
- Payment Flexibility: Understand the grace period for payments and the penalty for late payments. A card with a flexible payment schedule can be advantageous.
A good APR depends on the type of credit card and your credit score. Some credit cards charge a standard APR to all its customers and others charge an APR between a certain percentage range, for example from 19.99% to 29.99%, depending on the customer’s credit score.
As of August 2023, the Federal Reserve reported that the average APR for credit cards that incurred interest was 22.77%. An APR below that average would be considered a good rate. Rewards cards often have higher APRs. In addition, different types of transactions, for example, cash advances may result in different APRs being applied to the same card.
Increasing your credit score can help you qualify for a better credit card APR. Some useful tips:
- Make credit card payments on time with at least the minimum amount due.
- Do not use more than 30% of your credit limit, as credit utilization can impact your credit score.
- Keep your credit card accounts open for the long-term as this will have a positive impact to your credit score. Set up a small recurring charge to avoid credit card accounts from being closed due to inactivity.
- Monitor your credit scores from the three main bureaus with free yearly credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.
- Annual Fee – A set annual fee for holding the credit card. This fee is common on cards that offer rewards or for people with average, bad or no credit.
- Minimum Interest Charge – This is the minimum interest you will be charged even if you have a small amount of outstanding balance on the credit card.
- Transaction Fees – These are charged for certain activities on your credit card. Balance Transfer Fees are charged by the new card to which you transfer your balance (typically between 3-5%). Foreign Transaction Fees are charged on purchases you make on your credit card overseas. Cash Advance Fees are charged for taking out cash advances on your credit card.
- Penalty Fees – The credit card company will charge a fee when you make a late payment, go over your credit limit, or the payment for your credit card bill is returned due to, for example, insufficient balance in your bank account. Such penalty fees may impact your credit score.
You can build credit through credit cards by using one or more of the following approaches:
- Apply for a Student Credit Card – Same as a regular credit card but for college students or recent graduates. Note that proof of income may still be required.
- Apply for a Starter Card – Designed for those with fair to average credit, these cards help to build credit over time.
- Apply for a Secured Credit Card – Looks the same as a traditional credit card but with a key difference: It requires a cash deposit to be made when you open the account. The amount you put down in deposit will be your credit limit for the credit card.
- Become an authorized user – An authorized user uses another person’s credit card account but the card will have your name on it. The primary cardholder is legally responsible for the making payments on the balance due. Many issuers report authorized user activity to the credit bureaus, which can help build your credit score.
- Find a co-signer – Usually a parent or friend, a co-signer promises to pay your credit card debts if you cannot pay. Only some credit card issuers allow co-signers.
LendMeMoney considers a range of factors, including:
- Your financial goals and spending habits.
- Your credit history and credit score.
- Preferred rewards or benefits, such as cash back or travel rewards.
- Any specific features or services you prefer, such as security measures or warranties.
- The current credit card offers available in the market.