Tips for Shopping for a Credit Card

Written by Stephanie Halligan on July 21, 2014

You’re actually better than the credit card offers you get in the mail.

Just because you got a letter in the mail saying you’re “prequalified” doesn’t mean you have to take it. And even though the offers you see in your mailbox look like fantastic deals, you actually might be missing out on a better deal somewhere else.

Not sure just where to start when it comes to actually selecting the right card? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a credit card:

Use your credit and your competitors to your advantage. If you’re shopping around for credit cards and you have decent credit history, you can use this to your advantage to negotiate a good deal with the credit card companies. Similarly, you can use the offers from a competing credit card to negotiate the rate or waive the annual fee for the credit card you have your eye on.

Look out for introductory rates and offers. Credit card companies are competing now more than ever to get new customers.. Many cards offer new customers great deals like zero percent interest, no balance transfer fees and no annual fee in the first year. While these introductory rates and offers help sweeten the pot for new cardholders, be careful: many cards will change the terms on you after the first few months or first year of card use. Don’t be surprised if that super low introductory APR rate shoots up after 6 month or you get hit with a $60 annual fee after you’ve used the card for a year.

Don’t apply for 10 credit cards at once. A small percentage of your credit score (about 10 percent) is made up of new credit inquiries. That means if you’re applying for a lot of credit all at one time, you’ll send a signal to the credit bureaus and possible lenders that you’re a little “credit desperate” and that you might be stretching yourself too thin. So before you apply for every credit card in sight, take time to evaluate your credit card options and be mindful of the amount of cards you apply to. And consider spacing out your credit card applications throughout the year.

Posted Under: Credit
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About Stephanie Halligan

Stephanie is the founder of The Empowered Dollar, a site dedicated to helping millennials to fix their finances and find their stride in money and life. When she's not blogging, Stephanie is designing school curricula and online games to teach students about smart money management.


Jul21

You’re actually better than the credit card offers you get in the mail.

Just because you got a letter in the mail saying you’re “prequalified” doesn’t mean you have to take it. And even though the offers you see in your mailbox look like fantastic deals, you actually might be missing out on a better deal somewhere else.

Not sure just where to start when it comes to actually selecting the right card? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a credit card:

Use your credit and your competitors to your advantage. If you’re shopping around for credit cards and you have decent credit history, you can use this to your advantage to negotiate a good deal with the credit card companies. Similarly, you can use the offers from a competing credit card to negotiate the rate or waive the annual fee for the credit card you have your eye on.

Look out for introductory rates and offers. Credit card companies are competing now more than ever to get new customers.. Many cards offer new customers great deals like zero percent interest, no balance transfer fees and no annual fee in the first year. While these introductory rates and offers help sweeten the pot for new cardholders, be careful: many cards will change the terms on you after the first few months or first year of card use. Don’t be surprised if that super low introductory APR rate shoots up after 6 month or you get hit with a $60 annual fee after you’ve used the card for a year.

Don’t apply for 10 credit cards at once. A small percentage of your credit score (about 10 percent) is made up of new credit inquiries. That means if you’re applying for a lot of credit all at one time, you’ll send a signal to the credit bureaus and possible lenders that you’re a little “credit desperate” and that you might be stretching yourself too thin. So before you apply for every credit card in sight, take time to evaluate your credit card options and be mindful of the amount of cards you apply to. And consider spacing out your credit card applications throughout the year.

About Stephanie Halligan
Stephanie is the founder of The Empowered Dollar, a site dedicated to helping millennials to fix their finances and find their stride in money and life. When she's not blogging, Stephanie is designing school curricula and online games to teach students about smart money management.