5 things to consider when comparing credit cards

With so many different options out there, choosing a credit card that best suits your unique lifestyle and spending habits can be confusing.

But taking the time to consider how you plan to use your card can help you to hone in on the card that’s right for you. Here are some things to think about before you sign up.

1. Are you a travel bug?

If you travel often you could look for a card with a link to your chosen frequent flyer program to help you build points. You might also look for a card with a travel insurance feature.

Additionally, some credit cards may offer travel rewards such as complimentary use of airport lounges or a free domestic flight each year.

2. Will you be using your card regularly?

If you use your credit card every day, you might be particularly interested in comparing rewards programs, which allow you to accumulate points as you spend. Depending on the rewards program you choose, you may be able to redeem points for cashback, products or gift vouchers.

On the other hand, if you only use your credit card as a back-up for emergencies, you may prefer a low or no annual fee card.

3. Will you pay off the entire balance every month?

If you do plan to pay off the entire balance every month then it may not be as important to compare interest rates, as you will be taking advantage of the interest-free days whenever you pay in full by the due date.

If not, and you’re only making the minimum payment each month, consider choosing a low interest rate credit card over one with fancy rewards.

4. Are you looking for debt relief?

An introductory balance transfer offer may help people who want to pay off an existing credit card debt, with some cards offering an interest-free period of 12 or 18 months.

It’s worth noting that the rate of interest will rise after the introductory period, so it’s important to pay off your balance within the interest-free period. If you’re unable to pay the balance before the interest-free period ends, some people might be tempted to take advantage of a similar offer from another provider. However, applying for multiple balance transfers could negatively impact your credit score.

5. Do you often shop online?

If you plan to make big purchases online, you might want to look for a credit card that offers purchase insurance. The policies vary from card to card, but some banks offer complimentary insurance against loss, theft or accidental damage on personal goods purchased in Australia and overseas.

If you’re a fan of overseas brands, it might also be worth looking for a card with no foreign transaction fees.

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to credit cards. Use the InfoChoice credit card comparison table to help narrow down your choices, then get a full run-down of the fees and charges on each card’s comprehensive information page.

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