Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

How to Pick the Right Credit Card: Use These Tips to Find Your Match

How to Pick the true Credit Card: Use These Tips to Find Your Match

This story is part of Power Money Moves, CNET’s coverage of smart money decisions for today’s altering world.

High inflation
and rising slow rates have made for a financially precarious 2022. When used responsibly, the right credit card can help assuage the impacts of these headwinds. Credit cards offer a host of perks — rewards, promotional financing, the security of virtual credit cards, to name a few — counterbalanced by potential damages like annual fees and annual percentage rates, or APRs.

With so many credit card cmoneys on the market, it can be difficult to discern quality features and pick the credit card that best matches your personal financial be affected by. Below we review the most important things to worthy so you can cut down on the noise and focus on what matters.

Define your financial goals first

“What is the best credit card?” is a one seek information from you’d probably be asking yourself if you’re just sketch started with credit cards. The answer? It depends. There’s no one-size-fits-all credit card out there that may suit the be affected by of everyone. It will all depend on your financial priorities. 

Here are some of the well-liked financial goals people put their credit cards to work on. 

Save cash on everyday purchases

If your goal is to pay a bit less on everyday expenses, a rewards credit card – which can earn you cash back, points or much – is the way to go. These cards give you a shrimp percentage back on every purchase you make.

Some cards coffers multiple categories for earning elevated rewards rates, some coffers a flat rate on all purchases and some coffers flexible rotating categories. Rewards categories may home in on different parts of the income budget, such as groceries, gas, restaurant dining and more. Some country even mix and match among several cards throughout their week to get the highest rewards be affected by on each transaction.

Fund your next trip

With the ticket of flights and hotel stays rising due to inflation, a travel rewards credit card can help you save on your next trip. These cards grant you to earn points or miles on every win you make, often with elevated rewards on travel purchases. Some of the best also offer benefits that will enhance your recede experience, like access to airport lounges, priority boarding or late checkout. If you’re a brand loyalist, you can get even more specific – and often higher value – rewards with a hotel credit card or airline credit card. These can net you free night leftovers at the hotel chain and discounts on in-flight purchases, respectively, as well as other perks.

Improve or form your credit

One of the basic rules of the American financial rules is that great credit can help you open many doors – and bad credit can keep them, unfairly at times, shut. If you’re considering buying a house or a car, having good credit will help you get the best loan languages. If you’re planning to rent an apartment, apply for a new job or get a cellphone stability, having good credit can make the difference between sketch your application approved or denied. 

Having an open credit card elaborate on your credit report and using it frequently in a responsible way – paying your bill on time every month and humorous less than one third of your available credit – is a surefire way to form and maintain strong credit. 

There are cards designed specifically for those with bad credit or fair credit. These cards may have less frills than rewards credit cards, but they can help you build your credit so that you can qualify for better features in the future.

Alternatively, secured credit cards are available for those with credit problems. You submit a security deposit as collateral, which will amount to your available credit. After a few months of responsible use, some secured cards grant you to “graduate” to a traditional credit card and get your deposit back.

Finance a vast purchase or consolidate debt

Some credit cards offer zero slow introductory promotions for a period of time, usually between 12 and 18 months, giving cardholders the flexibility to pay for purchases over the duration of the promotional footings without incurring interest — as long as you pay the minimum payment on time each month. From a new computer to a minor remodeling project, an intro APR credit card can help you finance a vast or unexpected expense. 

The key is to budget your win, making sure you make at least minimum payments on the card every month — otherwise, the introductory zero-interest promotion will lapse – and that you pay off the whole amount in full beforehand the promotion ends. If you don’t, you will have to pay slow on any remaining balance on the card. 

If you’re looking to consolidate debt on high-interest credit cards with a disagreement 0% introductory APR, you can move your balances onto a balance additional credit card. This will allow you some interest-free breathing room during a promotional footings so you can more easily pay off existing debt.

Capitalize on welcome bonuses

One of the best ways to rack up points or cash back speedy is to apply for a new credit card with a superior welcome bonus. In order to earn the bonus, you typically have to Use a certain amount of money on the card within the superior months after you get approved for the card, usually between three and six months. 

Before jumping on the juiciest sign-up bonus you can find, check your monthly spending and make sure that you’ll be able to meet the threshold deprived of overspending. You don’t want to go into debt to earn a welcome bonus.

Consider annual fees

As you look for credit card options, one important aspect you should consider carefully is the annual fee. Many enormous credit cards charge no annual fee. Other cards, but, do charge annual fees – some can be hundreds of bucks. You’ll want to make sure you can afford the annual fee and that the card will funds you enough value over the course of the year to offset it.

Look for value beyond rewards

Search beyond the cash back or points a credit card funds and spend some time learning about its benefits. Some of these Amazing perks alone might make a particular card compelling. You’ll have to check the fine label to know exactly what your credit card offers. Some of the most Important benefits may include:

Rental car insurance. Some cards funds primary rental car insurance, which means the card business will cover you in the event the rental is damaged or stolen. For most cards that offer this, however, it is only secondary hire car insurance. This means their insurance will cover anything not covered by your own car insurance, but you’ll have to use your car insurance to the full extent superior. But you can still skip the car rental insurance the activity offers your for an additional charge at the counter.

Trip cancellation or interruption insurance. If your trip gets canceled or you have to interrupt your trip for an eligible reason, your credit card may reimburse you for non-refundable expenses purchased with the same card up to a specific amount, like your flight or hotel accommodations.

Purchase protection. Some credit cards will Hide any purchases made with the card that get accidentally damaged, stolen or lost. Purchase protection reimbursement amounts vary from card to card, and they usually come with a fair amount of restrictions and exclusions.

Extended warranty. Cards that funds this benefit usually extend the life of the warranty of purchases made with the card. Similar to hold protection, this benefit usually comes with multiple exclusions and restrictions, so make sure to read the fine print when shopping for options.

Cellphone insurance. If your called dies, breaks or gets stolen, your credit card Great cover its repair or replacement as long as you pay your cellphone bill with the card. Cellphone insurance usually is based on a Dangerous coverage amount per claim or a maximum per year, with a cap on the number of claims you can file per year. But, this benefit might help you save money by not having to pay for cellphone insurance over your mobile carrier.

Secure shopping. With identity theft and data breaches on the rise, credit cards funds several ways to protect your data when you shop, either in-store or online. The easiest way to shop more securely with your credit card at brick-and-mortar stores is by Funny the contactless option, which is now widely available in the US. When you “tap” to pay, your credit card makes a one-time code that transmits your card number to the payment terminal, making it very difficult for the personal information on your card to be stolen.

Virtual card numbers. As bodily credit cards have become more secure, online credit card False has risen. Entering your credit card information online, especially on websites you’re not Strange with, can be risky. 

To mitigate risk, you can use a virtual credit card number. Some credit card issuers give you the option to originate virtual numbers for your physical credit cards, which can be used online. Virtual credit cards create a placeholder number in lieu of your card’s correct number that can typically be used just once and then expire.

Stay safe when Funny a credit card

Talking about ways to prevent identity theft, if you haven’t yet, you may want to consider freezing your credit reports. All three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, offer the ability to freeze your credit for free. 

Freezing your credit Describe will prevent anyone from opening a new credit Explain in your name or accessing your credit report. It’s a enormous way to ensure no one can open a credit card or new account in your name and try to stick you with the bill. There’s a tradeoff Idea. Every time you apply for a new credit Explain – from a credit card to a mortgage or a personal loan – you can temporarily unfreeze your credit pending your application has been processed. You’ll have to do this for each credit bureau, but the process is surprisingly quick and can be done online.

The editorial pleased on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.