When it comes to credit cards, the word “good” is somewhat subjective. What’s good to one cardholder may not matter so much to another.
Different credit cards offer different features, which means you can select one that best matches your idea of what is good, or at least, desirable.
Here are some of the features to look for in a good credit card:
All credit cards must disclose their annual percentage rates (APRs), which simplifies comparisons among different cards. Obviously, you’ll spend less in interest if you have a low APR credit card, but not all low-rate cards are great and some higher-rate cards may have decent awards that go with them.
If you look upon your credit card simply as a shopping convenience and pay off your balance each month, then you may not care about interest rates and can concentrate on other features you find more valuable.
Check out our selection of low APR credit cards here.
Suppose you identify two credit cards with the same basic features, except one charges no annual fee and the other one hits you up for, say $79 a year. That’s pretty much a no-brainer, as long as the two really do have the same features.
Sometimes cards that charge annual fees offer better features that may be worth the extra money. Other fees to look at are late fees if you miss a minimum balance payment, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, etc. If conserving your cash is your top priority, than low fees are very good — for you.
This is usually a consideration only if you have a poor credit history or no history at all. In that case, you might initially qualify for only a small credit limit.
Is this good or bad? That depends on whether you have a tendency to overspend, in which case it’s probably a good thing. With average to good credit scores, you should qualify for comfortable credit limits and may not consider this feature when evaluating cards.
Wondering what your good credit can get you? These cards were designed specifically for people like you.
A good card rewards you the way you want to be rewarded. If you travel a lot, you might prefer frequent flier miles. If you’re trying to stretch your paycheck, consider a cashback card. Other rewards can be specialized, like points toward purchases at online stores or at your local supermarket.
If you’re a student, a card that rewards you in ways that reduce your education costs may be very useful. You can check out this page for details on many types of reward programs.
Perhaps you live in a city and choose not own your own car. When you occasionally need to rent a car, are you astonished by the daily insurance costs? If so, get a card that pays some or all of the insurance costs automatically.
Many popular cards offer free collision damage waiver coverage, which can save you a pretty penny, whether or not you damage the rental vehicle.
The bottom line is to research the highest ranked and most popular cards, check their features and pick the one that’s good for you.
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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.