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Finding the Right Credit Card

There are so many credit cards out there to choose from that deciding which one to get can feel really daunting. What makes one offer better than the hundreds of others you've seen? Take this little quiz to find out what you should look for in a card.

First, Are You a Student?

If you are, then you'll be best off with a student card ? you'll probably have trouble getting accepted for anything else. It would be best to contact the bank where you have your student account before you do anything else.

Do You Have a Balance to Transfer?

If you do, then you need to be looking for a card with a low APR on balance transfers ? preferably one that stays low for more than a few months, unless you intend to switch often.

Are You Planning to Make New Purchases?

If so, then pay more attention to the APR for purchases, which is usually entirely different to the one for balance transfers. You should also look at what kind of grace period different cards offer, so you don't end up paying interest on your purchases straight away.

Do You Pay Off Your Balance In Full Every Month?

If you have a lot of money or you only keep a credit card for emergencies, then you might just pay it all off each time you get the bill. If you do, then you're in a position where you obviously don't need to worry about the interest rate much at all, since you won't be paying any interest (make sure there's a grace period, though).

Many people don't realise, but the credit card company still makes money from you even if you pay no interest ? the money shops pay to be able to accept credit cards. The credit card companies want to give you some kind of reward for letting them make this money without causing them any trouble, and you basically have a choice of three things:

Get cashback. For always paying everything off, they're quite willing to throw a few dollars your way. If you spend much with the card, this can add up to a tidy sum.

Take vouchers. You might, for example, be able to earn points as you spend that get you money off flights, or other rewards.

Give it away. If there's a charity or other cause you support, the chances are that you can donate money to them using an affinity card. This is a credit card that gives a very small percentage of each transaction to your chosen cause, and over time it adds up to a pretty decent donation for them.

Take Your Time?

Don't let anyone pressure you into making a decision before you're ready. Any offer that says it's for a limited time only is one you should ignore, as there's no reason to do it other than as a sales tactic. Think hard about your spending habits and what you want the card for, consider all the options you can find and then, once you're sure, go for it.

Ken Austin is the webmaster at Debt Consolidation Solutions and Credit Relief Solutions

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