February 7th, 2012

Are You Getting the Best Deal on Your Credit Card?

hand extending a credit cardCredit cards are an important part of how we live our lives nowadays. From shopping online to a desire to carry less cash, many of us use our credit card every day. Considering the role credit cards play, you might think that everyone does their homework to make sure they are using the best credit card available to them. However, that’s not necessarily true.

When we got our first credit card, usually during or just after college, it was our statement that we had arrived into the world of adulthood. Having a credit card was so exciting that we didn’t necessarily worry about the interest rate we were paying or the fees we were being charged.

Many people still use that first credit card as their primary card without ever looking to see if they could find a better deal. Some have moved on to a cash-back card or other type of rewards card and only think about how fast they’ll earn their next trip. By ignoring the basic terms of these cards, these people are making a potentially costly mistake.

An Easy Way to Compare Cards

The good news is that it there is an easy way to avoid getting a credit card that distracts you with gifts with one hand while using the other to empty your pockets. The Federal Government requires every credit card company to disclose the terms of their cards in a standard form to make it easy for consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

The disclosure lays out the specific interest rates associated with a particular card, as well as any penalty rate or special rates for cash advances and balance transfers. The disclosure also lists any fees or charges associated with a card. These include any annual fee, cash advance fees, or penalty fees for things like returned checks or over-the-limit charges.

You can usually find the disclosures on your credit card company’s website. They will be called something like “Pricing Information” or “Terms and Conditions.” By reviewing these standard disclosures side by side, you can see how your current credit card stacks up to others.

When you are able to compare your card with others, you may find that the one you are holding isn’t the one that’s best for you.

Check Out SMCU’s VISA® Credit Cards

Compare your current card to SMCU’s VISA® credit card. SMCU’s VISA cards frequently offer better rates and lower fees than you will find with the national banks and credit-card companies. It’s easy to apply online and start saving right away.

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