How do I compare various credit card types?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: How do I compare various credit card types?

Answer: CardRatings.com lists credit cards by category. You can select from search criteria for cards specializing in everything from cash back, balance transfers, low interest, rewards points and instant approval. You can look for cards that are dedicated to frequent flyers, students, businesses and business owners. You can search for only Visa cards, and you can search for cards catering to those with bad credit. Each of these credit card specialties can be selected and each will result in a listing of multiple cards of that credit card type.

For each card listed in these results, you will find a description of its benefits. Important features are also itemized--things like introductory APR, normal APR, whether the card allows balance transfers and, if so, any associated fees.

This preliminary research will arm you with the information you need to know about each credit card type and is critically important when deciding which type is best suited to you. For example, if you know you have less than perfect credit, you probably should be searching for cards in the "bad credit" category for your best deal. From the cards listed for that type you can compare and select one which offers you the maximum number of benefits you want.

If, however, you are a business person who flies a great deal, you might want to look for credit cards under "frequent flyer," "business" and possibly even "rewards." Obviously the more credit card types you select, the more options will be available to you to pick from. It will be up to you to narrow down the choices to just the ones that fit your criteria.

When making your comparison, here is a word of caution: don't make a selection based strictly on a promotion, unless as a tie breaker between a couple of cards that already meet all of your other requirements. Teaser rates may look great, but promotional offers are temporary and designed only to entice you to sign up. Once the introductory period ends, the APR increases for as long as you have that card.

When comparing cards and deciding what type is best for you, it all boils down to your credit rating and what you are seeking from a card. Take advantage of credit card types and choose.

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