A.J. asks from Irving, TX on April 03, 2006
Help - Which Credit Card Should I Get?
I have to get a credit card and I have never had one before (don't believe in them at all) and I have no idea which one to get.
Is there one that is better than the others? I don't think I want to get an American Express because it seems like they don't take them in some places (I know we didn't take them at the restaurant where I used to work).
I think I would like to get the kind where you can earn miles with an airline, like maybe Jetblue or Southwest.
I would really appreciate any ideas or even if moms could tell me what not to get.
I also need help with the APR - I guess the lower the better? I'm so clueless, it's embarrassing! My husband has a credit card, but I need my own, and I want to take care of it myself - plus he's just had his forever, it's been so long i don't think he really knows which are the best ones these days ;)
4 moms found this helpful
P.O. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
Here's my 2¢ (for what it's worth):
I don't like the idea of having debt or paying someone else to use my own money, but I have two credit cards - one I using for 98% of crdit card purchases and the other for those purchases I can't make with the first.
While the airline miles cc's seem attractive, unless you travel often and are getting miles another way, I don't think they pay off in the long run.
My primary card is a Discover card because they give you cash back on your purchases. This is of more benefit to me than "gift points" or "miles". Discover sometimes has promotional interest rates, but these are only for some initial period. Their rates are high (I think because they give you cash back). However, if you don't intend to carry balance, the interest rate is irrelevant.
Not a fan of credit cards before, either, I got one when I first needed to rent a car some 10 or 12 years ago. However, now that I have my Discover card, I use it for every purchase I can so that I can get my cash back. Of course, I don't carry balance on it, I use it the way I would use cash - only if I have the money for the purchase. For me, this works great.
I also have a Visa (which pays some amount money to one of my charities for each purchase I make on it) because not everyone takes Discover.
I understand that there are Visa's and Mastercard's that pay cash back now, too. There weren't any when I got my Visa.
If you are needing to carry a balance, then just look for one that has a low interest rate beyond the promotional period (unless you can pay it off during the promotion, in which case just get the best promotional offer you can).
If you google "credit card offers" or something similar, you should find several sites that have cc offers listed and you can compare. Also, check out Discover's site (www.discovercard.com).
My Visa is with MBNA, who allows you to make online scheduled payments (as does Discover). Their website is MBNA.com and (I just check their homepage), they now have a cashback card. You can see their current offerings there. I have no complaints against them. In fact, when I first set up online payments, I somehow did it wrong and it didn't post. They were very helpful in getting it set up correctly and waived all late fees. They have a secured setup for getting the online payment going and you can call and do it over the phone so that you never have to transmit your bank info over the net.
I hope that wasn't too wordy and you found it helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know. I'm not a financial wizard, but I have been around the block a couple of times. :-)
Hope that helps,
M. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
capital one is a great card for us. we've had it for the past 5 years. we pay it off each month so i'm not even sure what the apr is on the account. i like it because you can use your points for flights on ANY airline with no blackout dates and only 2 weeks advance purchase
C.K. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2006
Go to www.creditcards.com where you can shop and compare credit cards based on APR and earned bonuses. American Express is good because it forces you to pay off the balance in full each month. But, you're right about some places not accepting it. Their merchant fees are higher than Visa or MasterCard. I use Amazon.com visa which gives me earned credit toward my amazon purchases. However, there are a lot of them out there with different types of bonuses. For example, I believe Starbuck's now has a credit card where you can earn free Starbuck's stuff. I have a friend who is a dentist and he makes all his equipment and inventory purchases using a visa that gives him mileage bonuses on American Airlines. It works for him because his purchases are pretty large in $$$. If this is the kind of bonus you want, be sure to find out how the miles are awarded and how much you have to purchase to make it worth while.
K.D. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
I have heard not to get Capital One, they make your credit score go down and they often up the interest rates once you start.
R.W. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
Hello A., my name is R. and I am a certified Credit Counselor, It is a good idea to be against Credit Cards but if you just have to have one make sure you get one with a low APR, Low is anything under 10%...Try and stay away from certain High Risk cards like First Premier and Orchard they have fees on the card before you even use it and please when you get the card pleae manage it well because one late or missed payment your interest doubles. I would suggest the same thing I suggest to all of my clients pay more than the minimum each month.
J.D. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
I would suggest you check with your bank first. Normally a bank will offer a credit card that you can pay directly from your bank account online. Also, the APR is normally better.
For example, I am with Compass Bank. They have a credit card that gives you cash back for travel. You earn points per dollar spent. Because I manage my bank account and credit card online, I can use the credit card for everything and pay it off with my bank account daily. I never have revolving debt on the card, but I am earning money when I spend.
I would not suggest getting Citi Bank, Discover or American Express. Stick with Visa or Mastercard.
I hope this helps!
D.W. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2006
I like Discover. You can get cash back rewards, they have a low APR (which is annual percentage rate, or what they charge you on your balance.)
My best advice is to decide wht you want to spend on ity and then pay it off every month. My friend did this- she used it only to buy groceries and gas. She earned a $200 gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond!
Best of Luck!
L.B. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2006
I have no idea how old you are but after working for 4 years in a credit card collections department I think it is absolutely outstanding that you are asking this before you get a credit card.
If you are going to use a credit card definetly get something that will reward you. If you want miles, cash back, or ect. that would be your decision. My only warning to you will to read the small writing. Generally cards with rewards have an annual membership fee.
Also try to get a fixed interest card. With the prime rate increasing most credit cards are set at X + prime. This didn't use to be that bad even if it was 4.99 + prime but now that is over 11%. That can be alot.
One more thing. Credit card companies can review your credit at anytime. If there is anything outstanding they can choose to bump your interest rate up and there isn't much you can do about it.
Good luck and charge carefully.
P.S. - you are right about American Express - Make sure you have a card that is accepted everywhere.