A lot changes when you hit your 30s. You might be starting a new family. Maybe you're buying your first home. If you're fortunate, you might even be making more money at work. These changes also double as indicators you’ve likely outgrown the credit card in your wallet.
As your life changes, your credit card should, too. It might be time to upgrade to a more mature card to meet the needs of the more mature you.
What should you look at before making the change to a new credit card that will serve you throughout your 30s? Financial experts say it's important to study the perks that any new credit card offers.
"There are several perks and extras regarding credit cards that folks should be aware of, especially as they age and their purchasing habits shift," says David Bakke, a finance expert for MoneyCrashers.
These are some of our favorite credit cards for you to compare.
A credit card for more stable finances
When you were younger, a low interest credit card might have been the most important factor in choosing a credit card. This makes sense: When you make less money -- as you often will in your 20s -- you're never sure if you'll have enough dollars at the end of the month to pay your credit card balance in full. A lower interest rate helps keep your credit card debt under some control.
But how does that change once you’ve reached the big 3-0 and you're more established in the working world? Hopefully, your salary and your savings have grown. Now you don't worry about paying off your balance in full each month, meaning that a low interest rate is no longer the most important feature of your new credit card. Instead, you might choose to look at the perks which compliment increased disposable income: earn free airline miles, generate high cash-back rewards or provide travel services such as free baggage check-ins on airline flights.
Changing your credit card to accommodate family life
Maybe your 30s marks the start of an expanding family. A new family also might mean more trips to the grocery store and more visits to the gas station as you ferry your children from soccer games to preschool classes. A credit card that provides you with rewards every time you fill your tank or buy groceries.
Having young children might mean, too, that you rarely eat out at high-end restaurants. You might no longer need a credit card that provides you rewards for restaurant meals.
Your first home means different fiscal responsibilities
Hitting your 30s often comes with another important milestone, your first home. If you're a new homeowner, you'll want a credit card that provides generous reward points for purchases you make at home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's. As any homeowner will tell you, you'll spend plenty on paint, nails and scrapers when you buy a new home.
Or you might go with a credit card that simply offers plenty of reward points on most any purchase you can make. You won't only be buying tools and home improvement supplies after becoming a homeowner. Buying a new home means trips to the furniture store for a new couch and visits to department stores for a new refrigerator or washing machine. Cards that earn generous cash-back rewards for general purchases are always a good fit for new homeowners.
Your credit score has improved
Hitting your 30s also means that you've built a credit history, hopefully a good one. Your three-digit credit score is a key number. Lenders and banks use it to determine how responsible you've been with your credit in the past. If your score is high -- 740 or higher on the popular FICO scale -- you'll qualify for the lowest interest rates on mortgage loans, auto loans and credit cards.
You get this higher score by paying your bills on time and keeping low balances on existing credit cards. If you've done this, and your credit score reflects it, you might be able to qualify for credit cards with more perks and lower interest rates. Why not take advantage of this and trade in that credit card from your 20s that comes with no rewards and a higher interest rate?
The better your credit score, the more likely you are to find a credit card loaded with perks, said Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations and external affairs with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
"People in their 30s and 40s are looking for perks, so cards that offer cash back or reward points are most attractive," McClary says. "Look for cards that offer the type of reward you are most likely to use, and read the fine print to uncover any obstacles that could make it difficult to cash in on points."
Your credit card should advance with you
As you advance in your career, it's natural to take on more responsibility at your job. This often means that you'll be traveling more for business, too. That's why G.E. Moon, a business owner based in Olympia, Washington recommends that 30-somethings choose a credit card that gives them the opportunity to earn free airline miles.
This is one perk that can make those long business trips more enjoyable, Moon said. Not only can you earn free miles, your credit card might also give you free access to airport lounges across the country, let you check bags for free or let you slip into the always shorter TSA pre-check line instead of the regular security queue at the airport.
Regardless of how your life progresses from your 20s to your 30s its important for your credit card to advance with you.