Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Credit Card Comparisons

Whether you're looking for information on a particular credit card, or trying to choose a credit card for which you want to apply, you can find information on them in many places.

You'll find lists of credit card plans, complete with rates, terms and any special information about them on the Internet, in magazines and in newspapers. The best way to get the most up-to-date information on a particular credit card is from the company itself. You can visit their web site, phone the company or read their application. You can also compare several credit cards side by side on many internet web sites that offer information about credit cards, like this one.

There is, however, one great resource for information about credit cars that you'd never expect. Every six months, the Federal Reserve System publishes a survey of all credit card companies on their web site. The most current list as of this writing was published on January 31, 2005, and includes 148 credit card companies nationwide.

For each company, the survey results list the credit card plans offered, where they're available, the APR, and whether the credit card APR is fixed or variable. It also lists the index used to determine any variable rates, the grace period for purchases and any extra incentives that the company may offer for its credit card plans. Finally, the FRB survey lists a contact telephone number for the financial institution that issues the card.

Another excellent place to get information about credit cards is on web sites that allow you to compare and contrast various offers from credit card companies. Before you start shopping for a credit card that's right for you, think about how you'd use it and what you'd use it for. Let that guide your decision on the type of card that you'll apply for.

If you have excellent credit and will pay off your entire balance each month, for instance, the APR is less important than extra perks that you might get. A Premium credit card with no annual fee that offers cash back or reward points will be ideal for you.

If your credit has taken a few dings, you can still find a credit card with a low APR and a reasonable annual fee. You may even qualify for a credit card that offers Reward Points or cash back bonuses.

If your credit is seriously damaged, it may take a little more to qualify for a credit card, but an unsecured credit card isn't out of the question. If you're willing to pay an annual fee for a year or two, you can build your credit back up and qualify for a credit card with better terms.

For those whose credit is more seriously dented, secured credit cards offer a first step toward fixing bad credit. By depositing cash in an account to be used if you default on your payments, you can begin rebuilding a positive credit history and erasing the old.

Shop around, make comparisons and apply for the credit card that offers you the best deal for the way you'll use your credit card.

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