Everything runs on ‘credit history’ in the US from securing loans to buying car on loan to getting mortgage, and secretly – your future employers run your ‘background check’ which includes your credit history check. And how do you build your credit history? Stay current on your bills, pay your loans on time and get a credit card.
Credit card helps you build a consistent credit history when you make purchases and stay current on your balance.
What to look for when choosing a credit card?
There are 100s if not 1000s of choices when it comes to credit cards. How then do you pick a card that’s right for you? We cannot define what is right for you but you can check below features to see if the card you want to get is ideal for your situation.
1) Transaction protection: What kind of protection does your card offer? If an unauthorized transaction happens on your card how many days do you have before you can get it reversed. Is there a dollar limit on how much you are protected for?
2) Cash back: Cash back these days ranges from 1% to 3% depending on the type of transaction involved. On a 1% cash back for every $100 you spend you get a $1 back, the $1 that you otherwise would have lost. So it would be important to know.
3) Annual fees: see if your credit card comes with a hefty annual fees or if it is free. Usual annual fees range from $0 to $95 (or more).
4) Auto rental collision damage coverage: Some credit cards cover collision damages on your rental card when you book your rental car on your credit card. Make sure this is covered if you are an avid traveler.
5) Interest rate: You may be confident that you will always be current on your credit card account but its always good to choose a card that offers lowest (and long term) annual percentage rate and re-payment options.
How to compare the cards?
There are many sites where you can compare different credit cards and see if the cards offer the options that you are looking for.
Nerd wallet:One of the better sites that features multiple card comparison
Bank rate: This site has tons of information including the credit comparison page.
Credit Karma: This site offers truly free credit check account and also has a credit card comparison page.
Steps in applying for the credit card:
Step 1: Decide on the features: Using the pointers above decide on what is THE most important thing for you in a credit card.
Step 2: Find the right card: Compare the various cards at the sites provided above.
Step 3: Apply. Most sites let you apply for credit card online. Provide the information and click submit and wait for the decision to pop up on screen. If you are approved – wait for the card to arrive in the mail and use it sensibly.
Apply for credit card with no credit (or bad credit)
It is easy to get a credit card when you have good credit history under your belt but how to get a credit card when your credit history is bad to nothing? Consider following options:
i) Credit union credit cards: Credit unions are much more flexible in giving you a shot with a credit card than big name banks/credit card companies. You may have to ‘deposit’ security money for few months to begin with but once that time passes and you stay good on your credits – you will no longer need to keep any security for your credit card. Consult your local credit union or apply for an online credit union credit card.
ii) Apply for a no-credit or bad credit cards: There are some credit cards specifically designed for people who do not have credit in US. The interest rates are usually high and the features you get maybe limited but used cautiously – these cards will help you establish credit worthiness and apply for better cards in no time.
iii) Co-signer based credit card: If you have someone with decent credit history in US that can be your co-signer – you may be able to get a decent credit card without a great credit history of your own.
With all the information in this article – we hope you find the right card that fits your needs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and not an advice. Please seek a professional if you need help.