With hundreds of credit cards available, choosing the best one can be mind-boggling. Do you want cash back? Do you want airline miles? Do you want points when you shop? So many decisions!

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Cash is king for consumers, and a cash back card is the most popular type of rewards card. Cardholders earn cash back on places they shop most frequently, such as grocery stores, drugstores and gas. But if you travel frequently, a travel rewards card may give you more bang for your buck. Travel rewards cards usually pay between 1 and 2 miles per dollar spent, and if you use that card daily, you could be redeeming for a round-trip ticket before you know it.

Beyond the standard reward offers, many credit card issuers are upping the ante by promoting additional incentives to get you to switch to their cards. According to Mintel Comperemedia, a research firm that tracks credit card offers, 23 percent of all credit card offers mailed between January and April 2011 had cash bonus incentives for new customers.

Miles and points were the most common bonus incentives, though, making up 25 percent of offers sent during that same period. For example, travel reward bonuses have ranged from 10,000 to 50,000 bonus miles, or thousands of bonus points.

Perhaps you're looking for a new card with a lower APR to help you pay off your balance fast. According to IndexCreditCards.com, credit card interest rates are beginning to tick upward after having been flat throughout the past year. To get the lowest interest rate credit cards, now may be the time to make a move.

Have an existing balance you want to transfer to a new card? You'll want to look for one with a low or zero percent introductory rate that lasts for the longest period of time on a balance transfer.

So which is the right card for you? If you don't want to carry a different card for every situation, you need to choose. These easy questions about how you use your card will help you decide which is the best credit card for your lifestyle.


How to Choose the Best Credit Card



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About the Author


Curtis Arnold, a nationally recognized consumer educator and advocate, has been educating consumers about credit cards since 1998. New! Curtis is the author of 'How You Can Profit from Credit Cards: Using Credit to Improve Your Financial Life and Bottom Line' (FT Press, 2008). He is also the co-author of the upcoming Complete Idiot's Guide to Person-to-Person Lending (Alpha Books/Pengiun Group USA, April 2009), a contribitor to The Ultimate Allowance (InnerWealth Publishing, 2008) and is extensively featured in 42 RulesTM for Driving Success With Books (Super Star Press, January 2009).