Deciding on the Right Card for You
When applying for a credit card it is important to
evaluate the card offer details. It is a good idea to look for a card that has a
low annual percentage rate and a 0% interest introductory period (usually six
months). However, more often then not, the main differentiator between credit
cards will be the rewards.
Which rewards work most to your advantage?
Frequent Flyer Miles: If you frequently travel home to visit family or friends a
credit card that gives you frequent flyer miles is probably the right card for
you. These credit cards give you points for every credit card dollar spent that
can be used towards airfare.
Free Gas: If you have a car on campus and spend all day driving your roommates
and friends (who never chip in for gas) around you need a free gas credit card.
These credit cards earn you free gas for every dollar you spend. At
supermarkets, gas stations, and some mall stores you can get a 5% rebate in gas
money. Next time you go on a road trip you won’t groan at the thought of gas
prices knowing you have all that free gas!
Cash Back: If you don’t have a car and you don’t fly anywhere, then you can go
with cold hard cash back. The amount of money you get back varies by card, but
you usually can get between 1-5% cash back on purchases. The points you earn can
then be spent at places you already spend money like Blockbuster, Pizza Hut, the
Gap, Footlocker, and more.
Prepaid Card, Credit Card, or Debit Card
The above information assumes you want a credit card. However, depending on your
personal spending habits you may want a debit card or a prepaid card.
A debit card takes money directly out of your bank account. If you do not want
to deal with a monthly bill a debit card is your best option. It works like cash
or a check, but without the paper.
A prepaid card, like
Plastic by Mastercard, allows you to put a cash balance on the card. You do
not need a bank account and it works just like cash. Put the amount of money you
want to spend on it, or have your parents put money on the card. These cards are
great for internet purchases and people who have trouble sticking to a budget.
Check out our article
vs. Credit Cards for a more detailed comparison.