There’s no such thing as interest free credit cards; just credit cards that start
that way, usually for a very short time. By the same token, credit card balance transfers can be terrific, but be warned of the default interest rate in its tail. Indeed, the proverbial lunch is never free when it comes to credit cards, but there are ways to find the best credit card deals for individual circumstances. Credit card rates are only one thing to consider.
The best credit card deals for a consumer will vary with that person’s needs. The best credit card deals for one person may not be so for another, so it’s best to compare credit cards on a few common elements and with consideration of individual circumstances. Here are just a few such factors on which to compare credit cards.
Annual Percentage Rate of Credit Cards and Interest Free Day
The annual percentage rate (APR) of a credit card is an important factor to consider when searching for the best credit card deals. This is the rate at which interest on purchases and cash advances will be charged. But considering just the rate alone can be deceptive when trying to compare credit cards.
When comparing credit card APRs, consider the rates at which interest on cash advances are charged, as opposed to just interest charged on purchases. Commonly, interest charged on cash advances is significantly higher than that charged on purchases, so if cash advances are a necessity, consider the interest rate at which these will be charged.
When trying to compare credit cards and find the best credit card deals, also consider how interest is charged. Do the interest free days start at the time of each purchase or on an arbitrary date of the month? These two options can have a dramatic effect on the interest charges incurred.
Credit Card Balance Transfers
Interest free credit cards don’t exist. Only interest free credit cards, as an introductory offer. Credit card balance transfers offered with many cards are not always as attractive as they first appear. These offers, used as new customer enticements, allow the transfer of balances on one credit or store card to another. The balance is then held on that new card at a zero APR, usually for a period of 6 months or similar.
The trap with credit card balance transfers is that the APR on these credit cards can often revert to a much higher rate at the end of the introductory term. Check the default rates on any cards offering credit card balance transfers, because this will be the rate at which interest is incurred after the introductory period.
Annual Credit Card Fees
Annual credit card fees, as distinct from interest on cash advances and purchases, are another consideration when trying to compare credit cards. Annual credit card fees can be one of the biggest variants between credit cards, thus making them a significant consideration when trying to find the best credit card deals. Some common fees to assess include the following:
- Annual membership fees
- Annual rewards membership fees
- Annual credit insurance fees (sometimes insurance will be mandatory)
As well as checking annual fees, also look at default interest fees, overdrawn fees and other incidental fees that may be charged if the credit card is not kept in order. These fees can vary dramatically between providers.
Credit Cards Reward Programs and Frequent Flyer Miles
Commonly, credit cards are associated with rewards programs or frequent flyer programs. This can be an attractive benefit of some credit cards and should be a crucial point of differentiation when trying to compare credit cards.
Credit card rewards program will never pay more than what is being made by the financier; it wouldn’t make business sense. So, when using credit card rewards programs as a point of comparison, keep in mind that it is only one of many factors to be considered.
Credit Card Fraud Protection
While not as glamorous as rewards programs, credit card rates and credit card balance transfers credit card fraud protection is something to compare credit cards on when deciding on the best deals. Credit card fraud is a prevalent risk to credit card holders in contemporary society, so any protection afforded by a financier is a benefit worth considering.
All credit cards are not the same. When trying to compare credit cards and find the best credit card deals, there a number of key factors to consider. What suits the needs of one consumer will not necessarily suit another, so careful comparison on card benefits such as those discussed here are a good starting point for finding the best credit card deals. Remember credit card rates, often touted as the only thing to consider, are just the start when comparing credit cards.