Choosing a good credit card: What you need to know

Credit cards are essential to modern-day life and have transformed how people transact. Everything has become more convenient with credit cards, from booking flight tickets to shopping online. Owning a credit card offers convenience, but selecting one can be difficult.

So why does selecting the right card matter so much? Each card brings unique advantages to match your lifestyle or financial goals. Some offer tempting rewards, others have low-interest rates, and a few might surprise you with hidden fees. So, it would help if you had clarity on your requirements. A wise decision can bring countless benefits, whereas a hasty choice can lead to unnecessary expenses and financial burdens.

Choosing the best credit card for online shopping - The Hindu BusinessLine

Here is what you need to evaluate when choosing a good credit card.

Cashback and rewards

Many credit cards offer attractive rewards or benefits. These can range from cash back on purchases to points you can trade for goods or services.

For example, imagine your credit card gives you 2 points for every 100 rupees spent. Over a month, if you spend 10,000 rupees, you will accumulate 200 points. Depending on the card’s policy, these 200 points could get a discount on your next restaurant visit or a small cash credit on your bill. The key lies in picking a card that provides rewards best aligned with your spending habits. It’s like receiving a small bonus for your regular spending.

Annual fees

Not all credit cards charge annual fees, but some do. A high price might be justifiable with equally high rewards. On the other hand, many cards with no annual fee offer decent benefits and might be more suited for the average user. Before committing to a card, evaluate if its rewards justify the price. After all, your aim should be to maximize benefits while minimizing costs.

Foreign transaction fees

A world without borders makes shopping truly global. Yet, you may incur foreign transaction fees whenever you swipe your credit card abroad or purchase on an international website. Over time, these charges can accumulate. Therefore, it’s important to assess your global spending habits before choosing a credit card. If you are a frequent traveler or frequently engage in international shopping, a card offering minimal foreign transaction fees can benefit you financially.

Credit limit

A credit limit denotes your spending cap. Every card offers different credit limits based on its target audience. While a higher limit seems lucrative, discipline remains crucial. An excessive limit might lure you into spending more. Try to choose a limit that matches your spending and repayment habits. It helps in maintaining a healthy credit utilization ratio.

Additional perks

Credit cards often come with additional value-added benefits like travel insurance, special access to airport lounges, and even purchase discounts. Think about how these benefits align with your everyday spending routines. A card that aligns with your habits provides spending power and enhances your lifestyle with these bonuses. So, invest some time and evaluate these extras; they might offer more value than you think.

Pick the credit card that complements your lifestyle and finances.

Remember, the credit card that suits one person might not fit another. So, always prioritize your needs and research thoroughly. Try to build your credit card strategy by pinpointing specific features that are important to you. Avoid assumptions and take the time to analyze fees, rewards, and credit card interest rates to get the best deal. Understand that credit cards are a valuable financial tool that can be used to your advantage when used responsibly. So, select a credit card that complements your financial goals and combines maximum flexibility with minimum limitations.

John R. Wright
Social media ninja. Freelance web trailblazer. Extreme problem solver. Music fanatic. Spent several months marketing pubic lice in the financial sector. Spent 2002-2008 supervising the production of ice cream in Africa. Had some great experience developing robotic shrimp in the aftermarket. Spent several years getting my feet wet with puppets in Miami, FL. Was quite successful at supervising the production of corncob pipes worldwide. What gets me going now is working with electric trains in Mexico.