What's in your wallet this holiday season?
So many cards so little time. What's a girl to do? It is hard to determine which is the best credit card to use. Many of us just throw up our hands in frustration and stick with what we already have. In fact, I have found that students who got their first credit card in college have continued to use them. The path of least resistance may not be the smartest option says Yoda. Ok, so I said this but it is still true.
When I look at credit cards I look for some of the following attributes. I start with who the card is for - new to credit, no credit, just beginning, student, or the rest of us. What perks interest you? It is confusing. The card companies know this and that is why they throw everything at us. They offer different reward percentages, with different categories, with limits to those cash backs, with stuff we need to do to earn the cashback, and well.... so much fine print. It is no wonder you throw your hands up in frustration.
So I'm going to go to the bottom line here and give you some of my preferences.
No credit and you're just learning? I like Petal 2 Visa Credit card. It is easy and quick to get approved. Make your payments on time every month for a year and they will give you 1.5% cash back on everything. If you miss a payment, there are no late payment fees. In fact, there are no fees - no annual fee, no surprise fee, just no fees. This is a great way to get started.
College student? Check out the Discover it Student Chrome card. They don't incent the student to spend money to get a cashback reward. And after the first year, they will double your reward. If you earned $100 from your cash back during the year they will give you an additional $100.
They do offer a 2% cash back on gas and restaurants up to $1,000/quarter. And come on, as a student isn't this what you usually spend your money on? Plus, they have the reward for good grades. They will credit your statement with $20 every year that you maintain a GPA of 3% or higher. They do this for up to 5 years. No annual fee and other perks for students.
Then there is the rest of us. There are two to consider the Chase Freedom or the Bank of America cash rewards. I personally prefer the Chase Freedom but you choose.
Chase offers you a $200 welcome bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months of the account being opened. The cash back ranges from 1.5% to 5%. You automatically get 5% cash back on purchases for groceries (not target or Walmart). Up to $12,000 you spend. Then you get 1.5% of all other expenses.
Bank of America cash reward card. They offer a $200 cashback bonus when you spend $1,000 within three months. There is a 3% cash back on certain quarterly categories with some limitations. But if you are a preferred customer the cash back award can be up to 5.25%. Read the fine print. But hey, if you are a preferred BofA customer, this should be a no brainer.
Take some time and google various credit card offerings. Look for features that are important to you. Maybe no annual fee, travel perks, other stuff?
There are people who like to play credit card roulette. People who carry a balance on the credit cards and then roll them to a new card every 12 - 18 months to get a zero percent interest rate. I call this credit card roulette because this is not a plan. I would rather prefer you read another article on how to best pay off credit card debt.
Anyways happy holidays and enjoy the hunt for the best credit card. To your continued financial health in a changing world.