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Are You Credit Card Savvy?

Are You Credit Card SavvyLife is full of choices.

With that said, how much time and effort do you invest into choosing the right credit card or cards? If the answer is little, then you are likely watching money go out the window.

When it comes to selecting the right card, there are a number of keys to getting it done right the first time.

According to 2012 information from the Federal Reserve:

  • There are some 1.5 billion credit cards in use nationwide;
  • There are nearly 177 million credit card holders in the United States;
  • The average American has between 3-4 credit cards;
  • The average American household credit card debt is around $15,200.

With those numbers to chew on, do you know how to go about selecting the right credit card? For the card or cards you already have, how much time and research did you put into getting them? Did you just fill out the first credit card offer that came in the mail?

For too many American consumers, little time goes into selecting the best card for them and/or their families. As a result, they ultimately end up paying higher APR’s (Annual Percentage Rates) among other things.

“Take the time to research the different card offers you come across,” said Chris Mettler of CompareCards.com. “Doing so allows you to find what best suits your financial needs.”

Shop Wisely the First Time Around

In order to find the right credit card, remember to:

  1. Understand your finances – Above all else, make sure you are financially suited to take on a credit card at this time. With many people in between jobs, it is easy to want to sign up for a card or throw a bunch of purchases on an already existing card. The problem then becomes that the bill goes upwards, yet there is little incoming money to bring the balance down. Before you know it, you’re one of the countless people nationwide with excessive credit card debt. Always think first about whether or not you can keep your card in your wallet and instead use cash for a purchase. In those instances where you can’t, make sure you have a credit card that has reasonable APR’s for starters (see below);
  2. Take your time – Never sign up for a credit card without first reading the fine print. You may over time find out that the card you thought was such a good deal is not that after all. Check on the card’s APR, along with language related to late and/or missed payments. Also use the time to do some research on the card provider, looking for any possible red flags regarding the company;
  3. Review your card/s – Finally, don’t just be satisfied with your card or cards. You want a card provider that will work for you, not the other way around. Do a yearly review of the card, your purchases, along with the customer service provided by the card company. If it doesn’t seem like you’re getting the most/best service for your money, shop around to see where better offers await.

Photo credit: thepointsguy.com

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