There is no one-size-fits-all credit card, so if you’re thinking about getting one, it’s important to do some research to choose one that will give you the most benefits in the long term.
Here are some of the key factors to consider when comparing credit cards.
Your spending habits
The way you plan to use your credit card will influence which type of credit card is best for you. Typically, credit card usage falls into one of the two categories:
- Paying off the balance in full each month – Whether you spend a lot or a little on your credit card, if you plan to pay off the balance in full in each month, you may not be so concerned with finding a low-interest credit card. In this instance, you may want to look for a card that offers rewards and benefits for spending instead.
- Making some payments each month – If you’ll need your credit card for expenses but probably won’t be able to pay it off each month, you may want to choose a card with a low interest rate so you minimise the amount of interest charges you accrue.
Compare credit card interest rates
Once you’ve considered your spending habits, you’ll be in a good position to choose which type of interest rate card is going to suit you. There are some common types of interest rates for most credit cards:
- Low interest rate – The draw of these types of cards is that they have a relatively low interest rate, but they usually don’t come with many other rewards or benefits. They also typically come with an annual fee.
- Standard interest rate – These credit cards generally have a higher interest rate, but also come with other benefits such as the ability to earn rewards for spending, cashback, or waive an annual fee.
- Introductory offer – Some cards offer a low interest rate or interest-free period for a specified timeframe after you sign up. Keep in mind that the interest rate can rise steeply after the introductory period expires.
Compare credit card rewards
If you’re comfortable with the interest rate, you may want to consider a credit card with a rewards program. Some of the perks you may be able to receive for spending include:
- Travel rewards – Frequent flyer miles to put towards flight upgrades, airport lounge access, travel insurance, accommodation, etc.
- Merchandise – Points to put towards items such as electronics, appliances and event tickets.
- Cashback – Points you can redeem for cash, usually credited back to your account.
- Gift cards – Department store vouchers, fuel vouchers and the like.
- Events – Exclusive access to pre-sale tickets, discounted tickets, VIP event access, etc.
Compare credit card fees
Aside from the interest rate, many credit cards come with a number of fees. Some of the common fees to consider include:
Annual fee – Annual fees can range from $0 to well into the hundreds. Make sure to weigh up whether the benefits and other perks of the card are worth the cost.
Cash advance fee – When you withdraw money at an ATM, you might have to pay a fee and a higher interest rate on that transaction amount.
Late payment fee – If you don’t make your minimum repayment on time each month, you may be charged a late payment fee.
Overseas fees – There are a number of fees associated with overseas spending, such as currency conversion fees, foreign transaction fees and foreign ATM charges.
There are other fees out there as well, so it’s always advisable to read the fine print before committing to a credit card.