Monday, July 23, 2007

Credit Card Machines 802

Top Ten Tips For Getting The Right Credit Card
By Max Hunter

Dodging through the Maze and Getting The Best Deal Going

Purchasing any financial product can be a difficult matter. The
marketplace is one fraught with complications and offers are
thrown your way from all directions. Sometimes it can all seem
overwhelming. Who do you buy from? Who do you believe? What is
the right deal for YOU?

To simplify matters, and make it easier for you to get the best
deal possible, we’ve compiled our top ten tips for getting the
right credit card.

1) The first and most important thing to understand before you
consider any financial product, particularly a credit card, is
this: You must have income sufficient to pay your current bills
and overheads PLUS at the very least your credit card minimums
payment each and every month. Ideally you should aim to pay
back as much of your balance as possible month on month. Ensure
that you do, and the ball’s rolling…

2) Consider just how much you can afford to borrow. Credit card
companies operate by pumping up your credit limit until it
reaches the stage where you’re so ensnared by the lure of cheap
finance that you have followed the balance right up to the top.
When this happens consumers can only pay back the minimum
balance – around 2.5 per cent of the overall balance – each
month. Given the high interest rates involved, this can mean
paying back as little as just one of a percent off the balance
each month. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out the
problems that this can cause. Operate a maximum balance rule
and abide by it. If you’re unsure of whether you’re disciplined
enough to follow it, get the credit card company to lower you
limit accordingly. If you’re sure that you can afford a credit
card in the first place, and follow no other rule – then follow
this one!

3) Boost your credit rating as much as possible before actually
applying for a credit card. The better your credit rating, the
lower your interest repayments and the less money that will end
up in the hands of the lender. You can do this in a variety of
easy ways in the months before you apply for your credit card.
Paying your bills in a timely manner; closing unused retail
store cards, credit cards and old bank accounts with overdraft
facilities all help. Likewise if you have maintained a healthy
and long-standing arrangement with a bank or other lender.
Don’t apply for a stack of credit cards, loans and so on,
unless you’re absolutely sure it’s the right product for you.
It goes without saying that you should never apply for a credit
line unless you use it.

4) If you have or have had credit rating problems, it’s
definitely worth applying to a credit reference agency, like
Experian, and checking it out. As with all companies errors
unfortunately happen all the time. Erroneous reports of missed
payments, referrals to debt collectors and even bankruptcies
can scupper your chances of getting a low rate of interest and
even a credit card altogether. It’s vital that you get rid of
black marks on your credit rating. Query everything and haggle
with credit reference agencies so that only the information
that is listed on your credit history that should be there, is

5) Transferring the balance of your credit card to another one
is a way of paying off your existing debt at a cheaper rate. In
many cases this can be set at 0 per cent for a period of a
number of months, before reverting to a higher rate. By
switching to such a card – and then another at the end of the
interest free term, and maybe even another after that – it
gives you a clear run at reducing your debt, without it
spiraling ever further upwards. Even if you’re still only
paying 2.5 per cent off the balance a month, far better to do
that than knocking off one half of a per cent, or less.

6) If you have no debt obligations, are patient and diligent,
and want to get one over the credit companies while making a
tidy profit yourself, keep reading. Scan the market for credit
cards offering ‘Super Balance Transfers’ – where you can
transfer money into your bank account at 0% for a fixed time –
and take one out. Max it out and transfer it into a high
interest bank account. Don’t touch it. Now, ensure you make the
minimum payment each month and pay the balance off at the end
with the money you’ve banked. When all that’s done, you should
be pleasantly surprised with the nest egg of interest left over
in your savings account.

7) If a bad credit card is all that’s available to you, it is
best that you use it as little as possible and pay off the
balance in full at the end of every month. Don’t use it for big
purchases as interest is likely to be high. By proving that you
are a responsible lender with a high interest credit card, your
credit rating will go up and cards with lower APRs will be made
available to you in the fullness of time.

8) Consumers who spend on a card, but don’t clear the debt each
month should focus on minimizing the interest cost. Search the
market for the lowest purchase rate available, but also keep in
mind the day when you’ll clear the balance in full (e.g. bonus
time; when your bonds mature, etc.) and don’t let the balance
spiral beyond your means.

9) If you pay off your balance in full each month then the
interest rate is irrelevant. Focus instead on the gains
available from using the card for spending. The key to this is
the reward scheme offered. Many credit cards offer points
schemes or even cash-back. There’s a huge array of different
schemes, but by picking the right one you can benefit
substantially. It’s often simpler just to go for a Cashback
card, where the benefits are more apparent, but sometimes
reward schemes offer great inducements – particularly when they
offer double points to new customers, and so on.

10) The minute you think you might have a credit card debt
problem, do something to redress it. Help and advice is always
at hand and things are usually less bad than they first seem.

About the Author: Max Hunter is the author of many credit
related articles. If you are looking for help with Home Loans
or any other type of credit issue please visit us at



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