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Credit Card Types

 
 

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Credit Card Types • Debt ConsolidationFixing Bad Credit

platinum credit card Many people feel about credit cards the same way they feel about car sales people: they hate to love them, but they just can't help themselves.  And that makes sense, because in today's credit-based world (in the USA, at least), it pays to have access to credit.

But finding the type of credit card that's best for you can be like finding a needle in a haystack.  So, we'll give you some tips and point you to some resources that can help you make an informed decision about the type of credit card to get.  Do remember that, while using credit wisely is an important way to improve your credit score, having too many credit cards may actually lower your score.

The most common types of credit cards (or credit card deals) include:

  1. Balance transfer credit cards
  2. Low-rate credit cards
  3. No-fee credit cards
  4. Rewards credit cards
If you currently carry balances on any of your credit cards (meaning that you have a balance that carries over from one payment period to the next), you probably receive a forest's worth of balance transfer offers in the mail.  Take them with a grain of salt — transferring your balance(s) can be a good idea, but you must navigate the process carefully.

Some people think that they can simply reapply for a new balance transfer card every time the introductory rate runs out.  But doing that — opening new credit cards frequently (even if you close the old ones) can lower your credit score.

Rewards credit cards have also become very popular, running the gamut from cards that give you discounts on a new Lexus (the Visa Lexus card) to cards that help you save for your kids' college (the BabyMint College Savings Platinum Plus MasterCard).  Other interesting cards include the American DreamCard, the Bank of America Make-A-Wish card, the Hilton American Express card, and the WalMart Discover card.

Ultimately, you have to consider your specific situation to determine which card is right for you.  The college savings reward card may sound really cool, but if your kids have already graduated, it's probably not the best choice for you.  Consider the following points:

  • If you carry a balance, a balance transfer credit card or low-rate credit card may be your best bet.
  • If you pay off your balance every month, you may benefit from a "no-fee" rewards credit card.
  • If you charge a lot (like one couple who charged their son's tuition on the credit card) but pay it off every month, you'll likely benefit from a rewards card.  You have a wide range to choose from; pick the one that excites you the most.
There are a number of decent websites out there that offer information on the latest credit card deals, including CardWeb, FrequentFlier.com, and CardRatings.com. The American Financial Services Association Education Foundation also offers a good consumer guide, as does the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
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Credit Card Types