Searching for the right credit card to suit your needs can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The choice is immense.
A good starting place is a comparison site such as RateCity, where every type of credit card feature is laid out before you. However, once you’re there, what features do you compare?
To search for the best^ credit card, consider what you want it to do and identify the features that appeal to you the most, such as:
- Maximum interest-free days
- No fees
- Low interest rate
- Balance transfer
- Maximum credit limit
- Rewards and special offers
- Frequent flyer points
A credit card is more than just a mechanism for credit and cash advances. Most credit cards today offer a range of additional financial services that can add value to your spending.
Of course, the credit card you choose needs to fit in with your budget. If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer, for example, there are a number of credit cards that let you accumulate Qantas Points.
If you’re a low-income earner, a credit card with a low ongoing rate and no fees might appeal. And if you’re looking to consolidate your credit card debt, a good balance transfer deal might suit best.
Have a goal in mind so that you can narrow your search for the best credit card. Having done this, there are still a few key things to look during your credit card search.
Visa or Mastercard?
Does it matter whether your credit card is a Visa or Mastercard? Maybe the credit card that has the features you want may not be from the provider you like. But does it matter?
It’s worth knowing the difference between the two providers. Neither Visa nor Mastercard actually issue any credit cards themselves; they are both simply methods of payment (the technology).
The features of a credit card, such as the interest rates, rewards, annual fees and all other charges, are issued by your bank.
Visa supports contactless payment methods such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Visa Checkout and Visa payWave for mobile.
Mastercard supports simple and secure transactions via connected devices using masterpass. This is a single system that lets you shop online or in-app without ever having to enter your personal details.
Both providers deliver technology that provides you with a simple and safe shopping experience that’s protected by state-of-the-art security features.
How do I choose a credit card?
The credit card you choose should not only be complementary to your budget and spending habits but also compatible with your method of shopping and lifestyle.
For example, a Visa credit card issued by a particular bank might not yet support Apple Pay, which is how you predominantly pay for goods and services.
Or a Mastercard issued by a credit union might not offer Velocity Points, and you’re a Virgin Australia frequent flyer.
When searching credit cards, analysing how you shop and pay bills will help you choose the right product.
^The best credit card for you and your personal finances may not be the best credit card for someone else with different financial circumstances. Before selecting a credit card, it's worth looking at the interest rates, fees, features, benefits and special offers to make sure you're getting value that suits your needs. If you're not sure which credit card provider offers the best option for you, consider contacting a qualified financial adviser.