Centra Blog

Increasing your Financial IQ

Summer of savings: comparing credit cards

comparing credit cards

Are you someone who still carries cash, or is your wallet now full of plastic? Statistics show more than 80% of consumers in the U.S. own at least one credit card as of 2020. Paying with a credit card can be convenient, and many come with great rewards. But, if you’re not careful, it can also come with big fees and high interest rates. Making the most of your credit card means comparing and choosing the best options to make sure you’re maximizing your benefits!

Interest rate:

This determines how much interest you pay each month if you don’t pay off your balance in full. This will often be discussed in terms of “APR” or “annual percentage rate.” Your rate can be determined by many factors, but generally speaking, a better credit history will get you a lower interest rate. If there’s a chance you’ll ever carry a balance on your card, it’s important to shop around for the lowest rate.

Rewards:

Points, miles, cashback, and many other incentives are offered to get you to use your card. With all these different types of rewards, it can sometimes be hard to understand which is best for you. Look for an explanation of how rewards are determined and redeemed. A good rewards system gives you the flexibility to choose what kind of reward you want, such as gift cards, merchandise, or travel!

Annual fee:

There are many card options with no annual fee. Comparing credit cards should include looking for the best value with a low or no annual fee. Some cards charge a fee to support the extra benefits that can come with the card. If you’re eyeing a card that comes with a steep annual fee, be sure the benefits are worth the extra expense! You might be able to find those same perks for free with another card.

Extra Perks:

On top of reward or cashback programs, some credit cards have lesser known perks. These are available to anyone who has the card no matter how much they use it. When comparing credit cards, be sure to look at credit union cards! Centra credit cards come with bonus benefits like travel insurance, travel and emergency assistance, purchase security, and much more. These extra benefits are a good place to look if you’re trying to decide between multiple cards with similar interest rates and rewards.

The best way to make the most of your credit card is to make sure you’re using it responsibly. Keep your balance within your means and be sure to pay the balance on time every month!

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