There are seven questions to ask when applying for a credit card. Whether you’re applying for your first credit card or adding a new card into the mix, choosing the right card is important. For that matter, you need to choose a card that fits your lifestyle, as well as one with excellent terms. Here are seven important questions to ask when applying for a credit card.
1. What is the Interest Rate?
Inquiring about the interest rate is one of the most important questions to ask when applying for a credit card. There is no one-size-fits-all credit card, and interest rates can vary widely by credit card company. In most cases, the rate is dependent on your credit score. Therefore, the higher your score, the lower you’ll pay in interest. Read the fine print on you credit card application to determine average rates for the card.
2. Will I Earn Rewards?
A rewards credit card is ideal if you use your card on a regular basis, and if you pay off your balances in full each month. With a rewards program, you earn points, miles or cash back for every dollar you spend. This is an excellent way to save on future purchases, such as travel and merchandise, plus you can redeem your points for gift cards.
3. What is the Balance Transfer Fee?
If you apply for a credit card and plan to transfer an existing balance, you need to inquire about balance transfer fees. Some credit cards do not charge a fee, yet others charge at least 2% or 3% of the transfer balance.
4. Does the Credit Card Have an Annual Fee?
When looking for a credit card, always ask about annual fees. Fees are not typical with every type of credit card. However, if your credit card offers several perks or a rewards program, there’s a chance that you'll pay an annual fee — generally a minimum of $35 a year. You’ll need to use the card and its features on a regular basis to justify any fees.
5. Does the Credit Card Have Any Additional Perks?
In addition to a rewards program, some cards offer additional perks. For example, credit monitoring comes standard with some credit cards, and other credit cards offer free rental car insurance, travel insurance and roadside assistance.
6. Does the Credit Card Company Report to the Bureaus?
If you're looking to establish or reestablish a credit score, you need to obtain a credit card from a company that will regularly report to the credit bureaus. These include TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. To build your credit score, you need to add positive information to your credit report. Unfortunately, the only way to add positive information is for your creditors to report on a regular basis — preferably monthly.
7. Do I Need Another Credit Card?
Before you even submit an application, consider whether you actually need another credit card. Each time you apply for credit, this triggers an inquiry on your credit report. Unfortunately, each inquiry can lower your credit score by several points.
Asking yourself these basic seven questions will not only determine whether you need a credit card, but the type of credit card that’s best for your lifestyle. What other questions should consumers ask before applying for a credit card?