"I pay with plastic these days. I don't carry around much cash anymore."
Credit card companies love people who use their credit cards for most of their financial needs and they're usually willing to "up the ante" as the expression goes, if they see that individuals use their credit cards wisely. Besides, by using their credit cards, individuals benefit from purchase protection as provided for under section 75 of the Consumer Protection Act.
Credit card holders who meet minimum payments or pay the full amount each month usually receive offers from their credit companies for a higher credit limit. In many cases, they even receive cheques from these companies encouraging card holders to use them for practically any purchase they need to make.
For credit card holders, these questions must be addressed:
- Is it the best credit card?
- Is the minimum payment or the full balance paid every month?
- Does the credit card offer cash back or rewards that can be used to advantage?
With the proliferation of credit cards and the various ways in which they are structured, it certainly pays to shop around for the best credit card that serves the person's needs in both the short and long term.
The credit card industry has become creative and flexible. Companies offer cash back credit cards, no-fee credit cards, and will even offer zero percent interest on a credit card balance transfer for a fixed period, usually from six to nine months to promote their introductory offer.
The general rule of thumb is that if credit card users pay off the full balance every month, a cash back credit card would probably be the best deal. Purchases are discounted and at the end of 12 months, the credit card holder receives a sum that can be used at the card holder's discretion.
If card holders are unable to pay off the balance each month, leaving an existing balance on their cards, the best deal would most likely be a credit card that has a low interest rate averaging between 10% and 12%.
Card holders should know that a credit card can have three separate types of interest rate associated with it and diligence dictates that credit card users should be familiar with what these rates signify because when the monthly statement arrives, the amounts can be confusing. Below you will find a clear breakdown of these rates which serves as a guideline for individuals about to fill in a credit card application. You can also find many online credit card guides for individuals who are not yet familiar with the dynamics of credit card use.
The three different credit card rates one is likely to encounter are:
- PIR – purchase interest rate: this rate applies to purchases of both goods and services
- BTIR – balance transfer interest rate: this rate is applied to balances transferred from one credit card to another. Individuals usually take advantage of this facility especially when the existing rate they are paying is too high
- SVR – standard variable rate: this is the rate that is charged on all unpaid balances on the card, except that of the balance transferred from another credit card
If in doubt, there are a number of very good online credit card comparison services which provide individuals with key information. This in turn enables them to make an informed decision as to the best credit card to suit their present circumstances and spending patterns.