Choosing the Right Reward Credit Card in 2012

Come year 2012, many consumers would be searching the market for credit cards that bring rewards.  Are you planning to get a reward credit card for yourself too?  If so, then consider the following tips to help you find the right reward credit card next year.

Choose a program that fits your lifestyle.  Should you get a cash back credit card, an airline miles reward card, or a gas reward credit card?  The right answer depends on your spending habits and lifestyle.  An airline miles card or a frequent flyer credit card may not be suited for everyone since these credit cards are especially designed for frequent travelers.  In the same way, gas reward cards are especially created for drivers or car owners.

A credit card with cash back rewards is the safest choice for many people because it offers a simple reward system.  However, the specific rules vary from one issuer to another which is why it’s important to evaluate your options and compare.  The bottom line is, you should only get a reward credit card that matches your individual needs.

Choose a card with minimal costs.  Some credit cards may offer attractive rewards but you might discover that it carries too many fees as well.  If you have to spend a large sum of money to maintain a reward credit card, is it really worth keeping?  You should carefully ponder if the fees offset the value of rewards you can earn.

For instance, annual fees can range anywhere from $50 to as high as $100, especially with travel reward credit cards.  If you must pay this much each year to keep your account active, you need to make sure that the reward program is truly an amazing one or else, you might end up wasting money on fees and getting very little in return.

Watch out for the interest rate.  Generally, reward credit cards carry higher rates compared with non-reward cards. Many issuers impose steep APR and penalty charges to ensure that cardholders will be paying close attention to their duties.

It’s best to choose a reward credit card with a reasonable interest rate just in case you might need to leave a balance in your account.  However, a much better strategy is avoid APR charges altogether by paying off your full balance each month.  Skip penalty fees by submitting your payments on time and staying within your credit limit.

You might also come across credit cards with rewards that offer a low introductory rate or 0% introductory APR.  While you can take advantage of such offers, be careful that you do not incur a very large balance that will be difficult for you to pay down.

Promotional rates usually last for 6 months before the regular rate takes over.  Before signing up, check the fine print and see to it the regular rate will be reasonable when the introductory period ends.

Review the prerequisites.  Some reward credit cards are exclusively offered for customers with good credit while others strictly require excellent rating.  Before submitting an application, see to it that you meet the issuer’s requirements to avoid rejection.

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