For Americans, getting the first credit card is the start of building a financial record. Since the credit history is largely base on the prompt payments of credit cards, it will become exceedingly important to have good credit as you strive to better your lives when deciding to buy a house, get a car loan, and build other lines of credit. Choosing a credit card company is solely at the discretion of the card applicant, but there are some things to consider before filling out the paperwork.
Before selecting any credit card ask yourself some questions to select the best credit card company that will meet your needs. Deciding between a national MasterCard, Visa, American Express or a Discover card can be more easily pondered by contemplating a list of basic thoughts that may affect how we select credit cards (Federal Reserve Board):
- How will you use your credit card?
- What are the APRs?
- How long is the grace period?
- How is the finance charge calculated?
- What are the fees?
- What are the cash advance features?
- How much is the credit limit?
- What kind of card is it?
- Does the card offer incentives and other features?
Once you figure out the answers to the above questions you will have a better understanding of what you need for making your credit card selection. Also, another thing to consider is if the credit card you choose will be accepted everywhere you go, because typically more retailers accept Visa and MasterCard over the other types of credit cards due to the expenses retails tend to incur by accepting Amex and Discover cards.
Credit card companies offer options for every type of consumer whim and behavior imaginable. When you are deciding on the card will best represent your needs, you need to be honest about your financial management behavior (do you pay in full at the end of the month or like to pay a little off at a time), contemplate what kind of bonus may work for you (0.0% financing, complimentary gift certificates, or free gas) and how often you plan on using the card. Once you honestly asses your situation you can make the right decision.