How To Choose a Credit Card That Is Right for Your Lifestyle

Woman looking at her credit card APR
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Building credit is a key part of financial wellness. It shows potential lenders that you have the capability of making payments on time and managing money proficiently. However, you want to choose a credit card that fits you and your spending habits. Do you travel a lot, or would free miles go to waste? Are you looking for something with low interest in case you carry a balance? Here are some other key questions to ask yourself so you can find the credit card that will help you build up your credit score.

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How Is Your Credit?

Are you starting from scratch or with a credit score less than 600? The good news is there are plenty of cards out there for you, but the bad news is that they’ll come with a higher APR, or annual percentage rate. If you pay off your balance in full every month, then this doesn’t really matter, as the APR is the percentage of your balance you’ll be charged in interest over a year’s time. Good credit cards for building and rebuilding your credit card are the ​​Discover it® Secured card which has no annual fee and offers up to 2 percent back on purchases. It does have a 22.99 percent variable APR, which is considered slightly high, since the average APR is 16 percent.. The Capital One Platinum is another great choice. Though it doesn’t offer any rewards, it has no annual fee and no penalty APR (an increase in your interest rate when you miss a payment)

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Do You Travel a Lot?

Credit card travel perks can range from free trips to travel insurance, but do you actually need that? If you don’t have wanderlust or traveling isn’t a part of your job, dropping money on an annual fee for a travel card probably isn’t worth it. But, if you do love to get out of town, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card has a lot to offer. For a $95 annual fee, cardholders earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar on dining and 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases. Plus, through March 2022 you’ll earn a total of 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides. The Capital One Venture Rewards card gives you unlimited 2X miles on every purchase that don’t expire for the entire lifetime of the card.

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Do You Need To Stick To a Specific Budget?

If you’re afraid a credit card will lead to out of control spending, a secured credit card can help you keep your purchases in check. Secured credit lines require that you pay a deposit up front. You can only put as much on your credit card as you paid in your deposit. We mentioned the Discover it® Secured card as a great option. Another solid option is OpenSky® Secured Visa®, which lets you deposit anywhere from $200-$3000. This card also offers auto insurance benefits and a relatively low variable APR at 17.39 percent. There is an annual fee of $35

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Are You in the Military?

Military members can qualify for credit cards with great benefits. The Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card has a super low APR of 8.24 percent, plus there’s coverage on cars rented with the NFCU’s Platinum Credit Card, and travel and emergency assistance. The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards VISA Signature card gives you unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on most purchases, plus a 4 percent APR during deployment and 14.45 percent APR back home. Plus, you can retain the 4 percent APR up to a year after completing active duty.

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Do You Love a Deal?

Are you always shopping around for the best offers? Cash back cards can make those offers even sweeter. The Citi® Double Cash card doesn’t have an annual fee and offers up to 2 percent cash back when you make the monthly minimum payment. Another good option is the Discover it® Cash Back card, which gives you 1 percent cash back on every purchase, plus 5 percent cash back on a different category of purchases every quarter. These categories have included everything from restaurants, PayPal, and gas stations.

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Last updated: Oct. 8, 2021


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