Apply For A Credit Card

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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The best credit cards--those with a low fixed APR--are reserved for applicants with excellent credit ratings. If you're not in that very selective demographic, it might take a some additional research to determine which card you should apply for. Even if you're not eligible for the lowest interest rates available, you still might be able to find a card that can address your needs without burying you in debt.

If you plan on keeping your card balance to an easily manageable minimum, you would probably benefit from a card with an interest-free period. Some cards, in exchange for a small annual fee, will allow you to avoid interest charges if you pay the balance within a given length of time (usually several weeks). If you're sure that you'll be using the card sparingly and predictably, for such things as weekly household expenses, you might want to consider this type of card. This is only recommended if you're confident that you will clear the card's monthly balance within the interest-free grace period. Otherwise, not only will you be charged interest (often at higher-than-average rates), but you'll still be responsible for the annual fee as well. Some cards allow you to initiate a monthly direct-debit for the full balance, insuring that you'll always have the balance cleared before it's too late.

Apply for a Credit Card with a Low Introductory Rate

If you're going to be making regular purchases with your card but don't plan on clearing the entire balance each month, you should apply for a card that offers an introductory purchase rate and no annual fees. The introductory purchase rate can keep your balance under control with low initial rates. The low introductory rates, as well as the lack of annual fees, can prevent you from amassing extra charges that might otherwise significantly enlarge an unpaid balance.

Naturally, your credit history is a major factor when applying for a card. However, there are still options available to people with an unfavorable credit rating. Secured credit cards can be obtained regardless of credit history. While they may not be as convenient as other cards, they can help you reestablish good credit. Secured cards are prepaid, meaning the card's initial credit limit is equal to a fee that must be paid upfront to the provider. There are three major credit bureaus that maintain nationwide consumer credit data. Secured credit card providers report to these bureaus, relaying your current payment history. Because the balance on a prepaid card is always taken care of, a secured card can boost your credit rating over time. After the initial prepaid period, some secured cards will provide you with a small line of credit, which can increase with consistent regular payment.

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