What you should know before deciding on which Credit Card is for you

January 9, 2015 | Brenda Link

What you should know before deciding on which Credit Card is for you

What you should know before deciding on which Credit Card is for you

We would all like to live debt free, but let’s face it: It’s not a perfect world! Sometimes you just have to use a Credit Card for a large purchase or for the unexpected. Your Credit Card should be there for you not to sustain your lifestyle, but when you need it for the unexpected moments in your life.

You’re asking yourself plenty of questions: How do I find the best card for me? What should I look for? Should I apply for a Credit Card?

With so many cards on the market offering teaser rates, card benefits, online user controls and your choice of card designs, how do you know which card is right for you? Here are a few things you should look for when choosing a Credit Card:

Interest Rates and Balance Transfer Rates

Most cards have a purchase interest rate, a cash advance interest rate and balance transfer rate. The rate will be different for all three with most cards. It’s easy to think about the immediate purchase when one sees the cost for borrowing the money (a.k.a. getting the Credit Card) and to just buy it now and pay back later. Interest rates, however, can be as high as 23%, so make sure you are checking the rates before applying for that Credit Card. Know how long the rate will last and whether it is fixed or variable.

Promotional Rates

Read the fine print. Most promotional rates will last anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Knowing how long your promotional rate lasts makes a huge difference in the amount of interest you pay.

Grace Period

This is the time between the end of your billing cycle and the payment due date. Not all cards are alike. Some cards have a grace period before interest is charged, and others will charge interest from the time the transaction posts to your account. Grace periods will vary, but typically fall between 21 to25 days. Look for a card with a longer grace period.

Rewards Programs and Card Benefits

If you’re wondering, “What Credit Card should I get?” keep in mind the rewards and benefits that come with different programs. Most cards today will offer a rewards program with air miles, merchandise redemption, gift cards and cash back. Benefits are pretty standard, but will vary from card to card.

Annual Fees

A thing of the past? Many cards claim to not have an annual fee. Beware—the annual fee usually kicks in after the first year. Remember…read the fine print.

Credit Score

Credit Cards can weigh heavy on your credit score, offering insight into your spending habits and your ability to manage debt. This starts almost as soon as you open a new credit account, which can affect your credit score differently depending on various factors. Opening a new account requires the card issuer to check your credit, but frequent credit inquiries in a short span of time can temporarily lower your score. However, opening a new credit account may also improve your credit utilization rate, bumping your score up. Closing a Credit Card account may actually decrease your utilization rate, reducing your score.

Late payments can be one of the biggest problems to your score. Your payment history accounts for 35 percent of your credit score. Even if you can’t completely pay off your card, make your monthly payments on time to boost your FICO score.

With a Mission Federal Credit Card, you don’t have to worry about hidden annual fees, short grace periods or high interest rates. Check out our Classic, Platinum and Platinum Preferred MasterCard® Credit Cards. We offer a wide variety of Credit Card products to meet most financial needs with attractive rates and great benefits. Sign up for our Mission Rewards where you get 1 point for every dollar spent on qualified purchases that can be redeemed for travel, hotels, merchandise, cash back, and yes…even event tickets for sporting events and the theatre. Sign up for our free Text Alerts program.

All of our Credit Cards automatically have the following benefits:

  • Zero Liability
  • ID Theft Alerts™
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Price Protection
  • Identify Theft Resolution Services
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mastercard Global Service™
  • Priceless Cities
  • Year-end Summary Statements
  • MasterRental™ Insurance
  • Mastercard® SecureCode™
What you should know before deciding on which Credit Card is for you

We would all like to live debt free, but let’s face it: It’s not a perfect world! Sometimes you just have to use a Credit Card for a large purchase or for the unexpected. Your Credit Card should be there for you not to sustain your lifestyle, but when you need it for the unexpected moments in your life.

You’re asking yourself plenty of questions: How do I find the best card for me? What should I look for? Should I apply for a Credit Card?

With so many cards on the market offering teaser rates, card benefits, online user controls and your choice of card designs, how do you know which card is right for you? Here are a few things you should look for when choosing a Credit Card:

Interest Rates and Balance Transfer Rates

Most cards have a purchase interest rate, a cash advance interest rate and balance transfer rate. The rate will be different for all three with most cards. It’s easy to think about the immediate purchase when one sees the cost for borrowing the money (a.k.a. getting the Credit Card) and to just buy it now and pay back later. Interest rates, however, can be as high as 23%, so make sure you are checking the rates before applying for that Credit Card. Know how long the rate will last and whether it is fixed or variable.

Promotional Rates

Read the fine print. Most promotional rates will last anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Knowing how long your promotional rate lasts makes a huge difference in the amount of interest you pay.

Grace Period

This is the time between the end of your billing cycle and the payment due date. Not all cards are alike. Some cards have a grace period before interest is charged, and others will charge interest from the time the transaction posts to your account. Grace periods will vary, but typically fall between 21 to25 days. Look for a card with a longer grace period.

Rewards Programs and Card Benefits

If you’re wondering, “What Credit Card should I get?” keep in mind the rewards and benefits that come with different programs. Most cards today will offer a rewards program with air miles, merchandise redemption, gift cards and cash back. Benefits are pretty standard, but will vary from card to card.

Annual Fees

A thing of the past? Many cards claim to not have an annual fee. Beware—the annual fee usually kicks in after the first year. Remember…read the fine print.

Credit Score

Credit Cards can weigh heavy on your credit score, offering insight into your spending habits and your ability to manage debt. This starts almost as soon as you open a new credit account, which can affect your credit score differently depending on various factors. Opening a new account requires the card issuer to check your credit, but frequent credit inquiries in a short span of time can temporarily lower your score. However, opening a new credit account may also improve your credit utilization rate, bumping your score up. Closing a Credit Card account may actually decrease your utilization rate, reducing your score.

Late payments can be one of the biggest problems to your score. Your payment history accounts for 35 percent of your credit score. Even if you can’t completely pay off your card, make your monthly payments on time to boost your FICO score.

With a Mission Federal Credit Card, you don’t have to worry about hidden annual fees, short grace periods or high interest rates. Check out our Classic, Platinum and Platinum Preferred MasterCard® Credit Cards. We offer a wide variety of Credit Card products to meet most financial needs with attractive rates and great benefits. Sign up for our Mission Rewards where you get 1 point for every dollar spent on qualified purchases that can be redeemed for travel, hotels, merchandise, cash back, and yes…even event tickets for sporting events and the theatre. Sign up for our free Text Alerts program.

All of our Credit Cards automatically have the following benefits:

  • Zero Liability
  • ID Theft Alerts™
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Price Protection
  • Identify Theft Resolution Services
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mastercard Global Service™
  • Priceless Cities
  • Year-end Summary Statements
  • MasterRental™ Insurance
  • Mastercard® SecureCode™

If you’re wondering how to get a Credit Card, it’s easy to apply for a Mission Federal MasterCard Credit Card. Just stop into one of our friendly branches, apply for the card, get approved and walk out with a new Credit Card in your hand. With instant issue in our branches, you’ll get your new card as soon as you are approved. So if the unexpected happens or you have a large purchase in the near future, stop into one of our branches. Or, you can apply online or by calling us at 800.500.6328. The Credit Card for you is right here at Mission Fed!

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. All accounts and loans are subject to approval.

Picture of Brenda Link

Brenda Link

Brenda Link is VP of Card Services and ATM Management for Mission Federal Credit Union. She has over 25 years of financial experiences that include Retail Banking, Merchant Services, Lending, Credit Card Operations and ATM Administration.

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