Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Getting the best credit card deals

Choosing credit cards isn’t something people should do lightly. These products can have a major impact on consumers’ financial health, so it’s really important to make the right decisions.

Credit Card
                                                         Photo credits: 401(K) on Flickr

For this to happen, you need plenty of information on credit cards. Luckily, there is a wealth of advice available online for you to take advantage of. By reading up on these cards, you can help ensure you benefit from the best possible deals and this can save you lots of cash in the long term.

Before applying for the cards, you should think carefully about how they will use them. For example, do you intend to clear their balances in full each month or not? Importantly, the most competitive credit card deals tend only to be available to consumers with excellent credit histories.

If you won’t be able to pay the balances off in full at the end of each month, you may benefit from opting for zero per cent purchase cards. However, it’s important to bear in mind that these interest-free periods do not last forever and you should attempt to clear your balances before any charges kick in.

Another option is the zero per cent balance transfer card. This type of product can be ideal for individuals who have outstanding debts on credit or store cards on which they are paying a high rate of interest. Often, consumers are charged a fee for making a balance transfer and this tends to be between two and three per cent of the balance. This sum is simply added to the total debt, meaning people don’t have to pay it upfront.

Meanwhile, if you can’t repay your debt during interest-free periods, you may wish to consider taking out low-rate long-term balance transfer cards instead.

There are also cash back and reward credit cards to consider. These products are perfect if you intend to pay off the bills in full each month and they enable you to accrue benefits each time you use cards.

Another option, and one that can suit frequent travelers, is fee-free foreign usage cards. Whereas credit card usage overseas usually incurs a fee of between 2.5 percent and three percent of transaction amounts, these specialized products don’t impose such charges. 

By weighing up the various options, you can make savvy credit card choices that save you potentially considerable sums of money in the long run.

                                                         Photo credits: Stormkatt on Flickr

Marianne Cohen spent the best part of the last decade working as financial advisor in Boston as London. She now blogs  about finance while trying to start up her own firm.

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