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Take Charge America Offers Tips For Credit Card Shoppers

[Saturday, July 30th, 2016]

If you’re on the hunt for a new credit card, you might be unsure what to look for. Do you need a credit card for everyday purchases, or just emergencies? Will you want to earn rewards, or would you rather enjoy perks like concierge service and purchase protection?

Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, is offering expert tips to credit card shoppers, helping them narrow down the field of credit card offers and figure out which card might be right for them.

Mike Sullivan, a personal finance consultant with Take Charge America, points out that building credit is very important, and says, “there are ways to build credit without accruing big debt.” Sullivan says the key is to find a card that meets your needs.

Prepaid and debit cards are often the first type of cards people look at if they’re afraid of getting into debt. That’s because with these types of cards, it’s impossible to get into debt. You spend only the money you’ve loaded onto the card, in the case of prepaid cards, or only the money you have in your checking account, with a debit card.

The problem with prepaid and debit cards, as great as they are, is that they won’t help you build credit. For that, you need a credit card. Sullivan has six tips for finding one that works for you:

1 – Watch your limit. If you’re afraid you’ll be tempted to spend more than you can afford, get a card with a smaller limit.
2 – Try a secured card. This kind of card is guaranteed by a set amount of collateral you provide up front, so you can’t exceed your balance.
3 – Pick a card with a low APR. If you just want to build your credit rating, a no-frills low-APR card will do the trick.
4 – Check the terms and conditions. Make sure you know if your APR is going to increase after a certain period of time, or if your card charges high fees for late payments or over-the-limit charges.
5 – Try a balance transfer. If you’ve got a balance on a card with a high APR, apply for a balance transfer card and transfer it so you can save on interest charges.
6 – Consider whether to pay an annual fee. Some rewards cards charge an annual fee, but if you don’t want to pay a fee each year, you can find no annual fee rewards cards. Look around for the right one for you.

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