Financial Literacy

Are You Carrying the Right Credit Card for Your Financial Goals?

If you’ve ever been confused by how to find the right credit card, you’re not alone. A recent national survey found that consumers are overwhelmed by the many credit card offers they receive, and find the process of selecting the right card difficult to navigate.

The survey, conducted by Experian, also found that more than half (54 percent) of surveyed respondents are not satisfied with their cards.

“Consumers surveyed hold an average of three credit cards, which shows it’s been challenging to find a card that meets their needs,” says Ian Cohen, general manager at Experian Consumer Services.

Unfortunately, there can be a bit of anxiety around getting a new card. With 40 percent of respondents admitting they’ve been denied a credit card in the past, many consumers surveyed say they wish they would receive only solicitations with pre-qualified offers. There is also optimism. Sixty-four percent of consumers agree that there is a perfect credit card out there for them.

If you are in the market for a new credit card, identify what card feature is most important to you, such as a low annual percentage rate (APR) or no annual fee. Also, check your credit score because that can help you understand what cards you may qualify for, since a credit score could be one of the factors lenders use to extend lines of credit.

Luckily, free resources exist which can aid your search. For example, Experian offers an online tool that uses consumers’ own credit and financial data to match them with tailored credit card options. To see a selection of credit cards based on your preferences and credit data, visit experian.com.

You should be careful though when applying for new credit cards – opening up several new cards in a short timespan may lower your credit score, hurting your chances for additional credit in the future when you may really need it for a big expense such as a car loan.

If you have credit card debt and are struggling to pay it off, don’t despair. You can start tackling it today with a few steps:

• Figure out how much you owe by making a list of all of your credit card balances and loans, along with minimum monthly payments and APR for each.

• Assess the best approach, whether it is paying off the card with the highest APR first or making payments on all cards with the goal of applying any extra money available to pay the lowest balance first.

• Consider applying for a balance transfer card with no or low APR for a set period of time to transfer the debt.

Whether your goals for having a credit card are building creditworthiness or having a cushion for emergencies, there is likely a card out there that’s right for you. Consider using new tools to help you find it.

 

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