Credit Card Shopping Checklist

by : loubelle

Before you choose a credit card, do your research and be informed about the terms and conditions, no matter how magical the offer may appear. Remember, the credit card company is trying to sell you their product. Use our checklist of features to help make the best decisions in selecting a credit card:

* The annual percentage rate (APR), which is the rate of interest you will be charged on unpaid balances and "cash advances". Try to use your bank ATM card for cash withdrawals where there is no fee and no interest, vs. the credit card which will charge you interest on all cash withdrawals.
* Special promotional programs with introductory zero or low interest rates and enticements to transfer debt from other credit cards. Find out how long the special rates will be valid. This may sound like a great solution to your problems, but after the introductory period is over, you may get an even higher interest rate on unpaid balances. This is a great feature only IF you can use the limited time to pay off balances.
* Annual fees (some cards) or fee for late payments (most cards).
* Find out about your liability limits if your card is lost or stolen.
* Penalty charges if you exceed your credit limit.
* Grace Period: This is the time between the date you receive your bill and the time it must be paid. The average is 15 days. Remember that you will be charged interest on unpaid balances, even if you pay on time.
* Reward programs (airline miles, merchandise, cashbacks). You might as well get something back from them for using their card!

Most important: It's a fact that credit card companies make most of their money from their clients' finance charges. Make the credit card work for you by making payments in full and on time, earning rewards that are in your interest, and avoiding the payment of any interest or finance charge to your credit card company. Keep the money in your pocket and out of their pocket.

For more information, visit