Not all credit card offer identical benefits and costs, but comparison shopping all of your choices can be time consuming. Unless there are drastic upcoming changes happening within the next few years of your life, you can gauge how your spending and repayment patterns will be by looking at your credit card statements in the past year. Your financial habits are the best starting point when it comes to narrowing down your options.
Do you usually carry a balance?
Everyone who earns a salary will use that money in different ways, and there are people from all levels of income who will carry a balance after paying off some of what they owe their credit card. If you carry a balance regularly, and if that balance is significant, getting the lowest interest rate is optimal. In cases where you might have probable large expenses in the next few months, you may have to turn to living off your credit card during this time. Such common expenses include:
- Diagnosed or progressing medical condition
- Announced layoff without having secured a new job
- Announced divorce
- Planned large purchases for a new home, a wedding, etc.
How do you use your credit card?
Some people aren’t comfortable with relying on debt to finance their purchases, leaving their credit balances hovering near 0. This method is optimal and in this case, benefits earned from frequent use will not help with much, so you’re better off with offers that provide you with services just from owning the card.
For example, some cards entitle the cardholder with:
- Emergency cash transfers up to a certain amount
- Travel benefits for lost luggage, legal assistance, etc
- Insurance coverage related to injury or death
If you plan it right, you can reap significant rewards by organizing your purchases and taking advantage of consumer reward programs offered by other companies. There are people who will ‘double dip’ when it comes to collecting frequent flier points, such as Air Miles or Aeroplan. Others will simply opt for cash-back rewards which take less work and don’t restrict how you might spend your rewards.
Credit card shopping is a fun way to maximize how much bang your get for your buck, but it’s in no way a solution to ongoing problems with debt or near-insolvency. Don’t sweep the problem under the rug — we offer services that will help you with your financial health and getting a good night’s rest from the relief.