Credit cards have really changed the way we shop and make payments, so much so that the need for physical cash these days is slowly but surely ebbing. The plain vanilla credit card aside, many opt for the novel approach of having a separate card for different types of benefits and rewards, such as fuel rebates, travel miles, and even as a show of support for one’s favourite football team!
With so many different banks offering so many different types of credit cards, choosing the right one is easier said than done, especially if you’re looking for just one card to suit your every need (or most, anyway). If you too are lost amidst the sea of plastic currently flooding the market, consider these tips to help you choose a credit card that’s right for your needs and spending patterns:
Look for Easier Payment Options
Every month’s end, we need to pay back what we’ve spent on the credit card. FACT. However, the actual act of paying shouldn’t be a hassle or inconvenience that interferes too much with your daily routine, which is why you should consider a card that offers a variety of easy payment options.
It can be an online banking facility that pays your credit card bills at the click of a button, it can be a linked savings account that you can automatically deduct your payment from, or it can even be a branch that’s located right next door to your home or office. One thing’s for sure: you do NOT want to be relying on snail mail for payment, or to commute half the island away to make a payment at that obscure bank branch (even if they give you marginally better benefits).
Weigh Up Features and Benefits to Suit Your Lifestyle
Credit cards are so specialised nowadays. Amongst others, we have co-branded airline credit cards that you can earn air miles from, entertainment-based credit cards that give you discounts at restaurants, as well as the good old-fashioned cashback credit cards that give you a rebate for every dollar you spend. There are even credit cards whose appearance you can choose to customize: yes, plastering your girlfriend’s face all over your Visa card is now an option.
To get the best out of your credit card, consider which benefits are the most important relative to your lifestyle. If you are a shopaholic, it would be to your advantage to choose an unlimited cashback card with the highest rebate percentage. If you consider yourself a foodie, credit cards which offer free food or discounts at a wide range of restaurants work best. And if you’re a frequent flyer, credit cards with air miles are obviously your friend.
Crunch the Numbers to Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into
As with all financial products, it is a necessary evil to consider all the numbers (fees, interest rates, penalties) related to the credit card of your choice before you sign on the dotted line. These may include:
- Credit Limit: You’ll need to know the amount your bank offers you before you’re “maxed out”. If you’re a high-spender who swipes well over $10,000 on your card every month, anything less simply wouldn’t do.
- Interest Rate: If you plan on consistently paying off your credit card bills, this may not matter to you. But if you plan to make big purchases but won’t be able to pay them off quickly, a difference of 1% p.a. makes a world of difference in the long run.
- Card Fees: Annual fees for credit cards can be as low as a few dollars to well over $600. Most cards have conditional annual fee waiver. If you can help it, get a card that qualifies you for zero annual fees.
Think about the Rewards You Want from Your Credit Card
Finally, as an expansion from Features & Benefits, almost all credit cards come with a reward programme that allows you to rack up points from your transactions which you can redeem for gifts. If you can, have a look at the reward catalog and see what are on offer. Depending on your preference, you may be looking for one with loads of redeemable travel packages, or dining options, or just plain cold hard cash (equivalents) in the form of vouchers. But importantly, evaluate the rewards realistically. So what if 1 trillion points earns you a brand new HDB but you’ll never earn that many points anyway?
Struggling to digest which credit card offers the best deal? You can go to iMoney’s upcoming credit card comparison table to find a card that’s best suited to your needs right now!
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