The RBI has made it mandatory for old credit and debit cards to be replaced with new EMV chip cards by 31st December 2018 to ensure better security. But when it comes to credit cards, this isn’t the only box to check off your list. In fact, if you’re in the market for a new credit card or are reviewing ones you wish to continue, picking the best one available to you and not the first one you come across will serve you well.
By understanding how to select the ideal credit card, you can ensure you pick one that provides maximum rewards according to your expense patterns and needs. This means that you can take care of all your Christmas and New Year shopping without breaking into a sweat! Wondering how to pick a credit card to ensure it makes life easier and not more complicated? Take a look.
Choose Cashback Cards According To Your Spending Patterns
While choosing to apply for a cashback credit card or any credit card for that matter, examine your spending patterns. What will you be using your credit card for most? Will you be using it to pay utility bills or to shop at a department store? While a particular credit card may prove beneficial for your neighbour, the same may not be the best pick for you if you have different spending patterns and expenses. Further, before you choose one remember that cashback cards also come with renewal or annual fees. Check this as well as other guidelines with regards to minimum and maximum transactions before you commit to one.
Make The Most Of Benefits
Each credit card provides benefits to you. For instance, one card offers a ‘buy-1-get-1-free’ on movie tickets booked via an online booking platform, while another card offers discounts at certain health clinics. Furthermore, if you plan to use your credit card on international trips, a travel credit card can prove useful especially since such cards widely accepted internationally. Besides, they offer perks such as access to lounges at airports.
Check If The Lender Permits A Change In The Billing Date
A credit card can help you build and maintain your credit score if you religiously stick to paying your bills in full and on time. One way to do this easily is by aligning your bill payment with when you receive your salary. This will ensure you have the financial resources you need to clear the total. While the billing date may not always tie in with your salary date, you can ask your bank or financial institution to change the billing date to suit your finances. However, not all credit card issuers permit this. So, check this flexibility before you apply for a credit card.
Get Co-Branded Cards Only If You Like A Brand
Co-branded credit cards may be heavily advertised, however you should weigh both pros and cons before selecting one for yourself. For instance, if you shop at the brand outlet you may receive 10x the rewards points, while shopping at a non-brand outlet may give you only 1/5th of the same reward points. So, unless the brand is sure to serve a majority of your needs, it’s best to look for one that offers you good rewards across the board.
Review Reward Points And Check For Interest-Free EMIs
Reward points are typically worth Rs.0.25–0.50 so it makes sense to pick a card that offers you higher value per point. While looking into the various perks of the credit card, consider this aspect as well as the minimum amount you will need to swipe the card for and what the reward catalogue comprises. This way you will know if the card is worth your while.
Further, some credit card issuers offer interest-free EMIs on purchases of electronics or travel tickets, allowing you to convert ticket payments into EMIs spanning 3–9 months. You can also use certain credit card at partner stores to buy electronics and other goods and services in a similar manner. For instance, certain e-commerce platforms may have tie-ups with multiple banks allowing you to shop on No Cost EMIs. This makes big-ticket purchases easier and more convenient.
Keeping these pointers in mind will ensure that your credit card serves your unique needs and allows you to boost your creditworthiness in one fell swoop.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.
BankBazaar.com is a leading online marketplace in India that helps consumers compare and apply for credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan, and insurance.