Apply 4 A Credit Card and How to Choose The Right One...

Chances are you have received many "pre-approved" credit card offers in the mail, some with low introductory rates and other benefits. Before you accept these offers, you should shop around to get the best deal. Shopping around for a credit card can save you money on interest and fees. In addition, you will want to find a card with features that match your needs.

When you receive credit card offers in the mail, examine the fine print before you accept any offer. Review the following items very carefully:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - determine if it varies, how the variation is determined and when can it change.
  • Period Rate - This is the interest rate used to figure the finance charge on your balance.
  • Annual Fee - Amount you pay to be a cardholder. Not all cards charge an annual fee.
  • Grace period - This is the number of days you have to pay your bill before finance charges begin to accrue.
  • Finance charges - Most lenders calculate finance charges using an average daily account balance. Look for offers that use an adjustable balance, which subtracts your payment from your beginning balance.
  • Other fees - Ask about special fees when you get a cash advance, make a late payment, or go over your credit limit.

The Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act requires credit and charge card issuers to include this information on credit applications. For this information and more, please visit the Consumer Action website's credit cards website.

You may wish to inquire with credit card companies to see if their cards offer any special features. Some credit cards may allow for interest-free payments on certain purchases.

The following resources provide information that can help you understand the features of credit cards, compare the features and costs, know your rights, and file a complaint:

Additional Resources:

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