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2009-03-11 02:58:49

Choosing the Right Credit Card Deal

No wonder why most customers have a complicated and frustrating relationship with their card companies. It can be a real challenge to make sense of confusing terms, fine print, heavy penalties and interest rates that can go through the roof "anytime" for "any reason". While credit cards are great financial tools that can help consumers smooth out uneven income patterns, their ease of use can also result in excessive, income-consuming debt burdens. While some cardholders may enjoy the benefits of rewards programs, others struggle instead to pay off massive debts. The question is, how to make the right choice and find the right card for your situation? Read more to learn how you can do this.

Credit deals are not created equal. Just like any other financial product, a credit card deal is targeted to meet the needs of a specific consumer group. Often, applicants pay more attention to a card offering a 0% APR and tempting rewards options, than they do to reading the important terms and conditions contained in the fine print.

So, when it comes to choosing the best credit deal, it's the details that count. They need to be fully read and understood so that you can make the most of your new card. For example, consider the card's interest rates. Depending on the card, rates can be high, moderate, low or even zero (at least initially). So, when applying for a card, you should recognize the fact that your APR can often be changed anytime, and that no matter how low interest rates are to start out with, they can rise dramatically. Also, if you want to benefit from initial 0% APR rates, don't hesitate, but be forewarned that no credit deals exist with an everlasting interest-free period. So, you'd better spend while you can and be prepared to find a new credit card to roll the balance into when the free APR period ends on the first card.

Also take a close look at current interest rates. If they're high, you run the risk of accumulating too much debt since your payments will probably go toward paying interest before principal. Avoid high-rate cards if at all possible, and especially if you have a good credit rating because the lower the interest rate, the faster you can pay off your card debt.

Credit deals may also come with various fees that may include: sign-up and processing fees, annual and late fees, as well as balance transfer and foreign exchange fees. Make sure you understand when these fees apply and what they are going to cost you. For this information, be sure to read the terms of your agreement (often in fine print) or just contact your issuer if you have any questions. All in all, the fewer fees your card has, generally the better!

Finally, shop around to get the best deal. With a variety of credit offers now available online, finding a deal that suits your requirements is easier than ever. Also, when choosing the best deal, take your time to evaluate your financial needs. If you want a new card to save on everyday purchases, consider the best cash-back credit deals. Frequent travelers may benefit from travel reward cards that give great travel rebates on some or all purchases. Balance transfer deals will be great for those people who want to pay off high-rate balances on more favorable terms; especially after a 0% APR deal has just expired. Basically, first assess what you need and what features would benefit you the most, and then start shopping online for the best price!

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