Did you know there are hundreds of different credit cards available to consumers at this very moment? With so many different personalities, preferences and levels of credit-worthiness out there today, it's more likely than ever that you can find a card that's right for your unique situation.
But how do you sort through all of the offers being thrown at you?
The key to picking out the right card for you is knowing where your credit stands and what card features you care about. Figuring out your credit-worthiness is the easy part--you can check your credit score for free at Credit Karma. But we can't tell you what you want in a credit card--that's for you to decide. Here are some options to consider from our advertising partners as you try to find your perfect card.
If you're looking to make a large purchase or tend to carry a balance on your card from one month to the next, consider getting a 0% intro APR or low interest credit card. These cards typically offer a low introductory APR that jumps to a higher rate after a certain amount of time, which is useful because they allow some time to pay off your purchases (practically) interest-free. Sound interesting? The Citi® Diamond Preferred® or Citi Simplicity® cards are great options to consider.
Tip: Be sure to read the terms of the cards you're interested in carefully to know how long the introductory APR will last and what the regular APR will be when the introductory period expires.
If you pay the full balance on your cards each month and want rewards for using your credit card, a cash back credit card may be right for you. These cards allow you to earn cash rewards (sometimes up to 5%) for making purchases--the more you use your card, the more cash you receive. We'd recommend checking out the Chase Freedom® if you're in the market for a solid cash back credit card.
Tip: Keep in mind that some cash back cards may have annual fees or higher APRs than other cards. In addition, you may need better-than-average credit to be approved.
Paying high interest rates, have a good credit score and/or want to consolidate your debts into one monthly payment? You might want to look into a balance transfer credit card. Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer a high interest credit card balance onto a credit card with a low interest rate; many even offer 0% APR balance transfer rates for varying amounts of time. The Discover it® is a great choice for people looking to consolidate balances
Tip: Pay attention to transfer fees and know what the APR will be after the introductory period expires. If you will be unable to pay off your entire transferred balance during the introductory period, a lower APR for the long-term may be more important than the length of the introductory period.
If you are a frequent flyer or travel a lot, we'd recommend checking out a travel rewards card. Designed to reward you generously every time you spend, travel and airline cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for airline miles, free nights at participating hotels and more. In addition, they typically come with bonus miles to help you build up to your first free flight sooner. If you're in the midst of planning your next big vacation, the Blue Sky from American Express® is a great card to consider.
Tip: Don't get too distracted by the initial signup bonus--be sure to pay attention to long-term rewards rates and other perks that may end up being more valuable to you. In addition, only consider cards with annual fees if you'll use the cards and earn enough rewards to make the fee worth paying.
Just as you would hunt around for the best bargain when shopping for major purchases, the same care should be taken when applying for a credit card. Compare offers, read all of the terms and conditions and research what people are saying about the cards you're interested in to find the card that best suits your needs. Good luck!
About the Author: Jenna Lee is Credit Karma's Social Media Manager. Although her specialty lies in creating witty post-it notes, she also enjoys sharing all the financial information she's learned since joining Credit Karma in February 2012. When she's not working, you can probably find her trying out a new dessert recipe or learning/perfecting any musical instrument she can get her hands on. Say "hi" @leejennaa!
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Advertiser Disclosure: We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.
Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.
Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.