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Finding the right credit card for you

There is a dizzying selection of credit cards out there on the market, and you might be struggling to know which ones would best suit you. However, this guide should give you the knowledge and confidence you need to select the perfect product.

Roughly speaking, these financial agreements fall into six categories, and it is only by examining the differences between them that you’ll be able to decide which type of credit cards will be best for your circumstances.

Low lifetime rates

If you intend to use your credit card infrequently and you may not always pay the bills off in full, it’s worthwhile considering deals with low lifetime rates. These products charge you a low rate for as long as it takes you to clear the debt.

Rewards

However, if you plan to pay your bill in full each month, you may be better off with a rewards or cashback card. Each time you use these products, you will be rewarded in some way. Cashback cards have proved popular among consumers because they essentially pay people to shop. A typical deal may allow you to earn one per cent cashback each time you spend on the card. Alternatives include loyalty points and air miles.

Zero per cent balance transfers

If you have existing debt on a credit or store card, zero per cent balance transfer credit cards could be ideal. These products enable you to move your debt onto a new card and you will pay no interest on the sum for a defined period of time. This can be up to 20 months or more. However, it’s worth noting that you will usually have to stump up a transfer fee of around three per cent of your debt.

Frequent traveller

If you head overseas a lot for work or pleasure, perhaps a frequent traveller card would suit you best. These deals offer either low or zero per cent usage fees while you’re abroad. However, they are not always competitive for borrowing, so they are generally only worth getting if you intend to clear your balance as soon as you get home.

Zero per cent purchase deals

In contrast, zero per cent purchase cards don’t charge you interest on new purchases for up to 12 months. This can provide a handy means of spreading the cost of big ticket purchases. If you go for credit agreements like this, make sure you pay your debt off before the deal runs out, as interest rates tends to soar afterwards.

Bad credit history

If you have a bad credit history, you may have to opt for cards with very high APR. However, as long as you pay your bill off in full each month, these agreements can provide you with a good way of building up your credit rating.

Of course, within each of these categories, there are various options provided by different firms. However, knowing the basics can give you a head start when you’re trying to find the best deal.

Image by Wonderlane, used under Creative Comms license

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