When it comes to getting equipped with a credit card, many people are aware of the advantages and disadvantages, but few are aware of how to ensure that they are getting the best deal through being careful about the credit card provider they use, and ensuring they have read the terms and conditions, and are therefore aware of all the cost centers that will affect them during their contract.
Watch out for:
Annual Fees ? Not all credit card providers will charge an annual fee, but by the same token not all those who do charge an annual fee will necessarily be the least cost-effective. Keep in mind that different credit card providers will charge in different ways, and being away of the ways you are charged means you get the best deal, and can budget for these expenses.
Late Payment Charges ? Should your credit card payments be later than expected then as well as the interest still being due you will have to incur a late payment fee. This is justified by the credit card providers through the consideration that it could cause cash flow problems, and may mean that their financial planning could be off-set or not as projected. Late charges should be a consideration when costing a credit card; a great way to avoid this is to set up a direct debit so your payment is taken directly out of your bank account.
Exceeding Your Limit ? When you exceed your credit limit the likelihood is that you will be charged, unless you make prior arrangements with your credit card provider. You should be aware of what these charges are before you enter into a contract with a credit card provider. To avoid these costs, many choose to take out another credit card to finance clearing the limit, whilst others may look towards short-term solutions like an overdraft or long-term solutions like a bank loan. Please be careful not to spend money on a credit card unless you can afford it.
Small Companies ? Avoiding small companies can ensure that you do not come across problems that would not face well-known, reputable house-hold names. Should a company be a public limited company/listed company or be owned by such then the inherent risk of unfair contract terms and a shift away from best-practice are significantly reduced by PR factors and media pressures/influences.
High APR/0% initial APR ? Choosing to contract with a credit card company that offers a great introduction rate and a higher rate in the long term is relying on your lack of financial control to make money. If you are not in total control of your finances and ultimately earn less than you make then please avoid these at all costs.