Some credit cards pack on lots of bells and whistles. Others are limited and fairly straightforward. Points, perks and extra protections abound, but so do annual fees and varying interest rates.
The best way to choose a credit card is looking at your spending habits and expectations as a guide. Your credit score will also impact your options, with a healthy score likely to deliver lower interest rates.
1. Build credit
If you lack a credit history or have a low credit score, opening and using a credit card can help build or rebuild credit — as long as you use it responsibly. A secured credit card can be a good place to start. Typically, with a secured card, you’re required to make a deposit with the card issuer, and that deposit becomes your credit limit. Interest rates still apply, and some offer rewards, but if you want a higher credit limit, you’ll need to deposit more Money.
2. Transfer debt
A balance transfer credit card can save time and money. You’ll use it to pay off the balance owed on another credit card or loan -- because it has a lower interest rate. A typical balance transfer credit card has a 0% APR for over 12 months, with a 3% balance transfer fee and a $0 annual fee. When you move debt to a transfer credit card, you’re reducing your costs and paying less in interest charges.
3. Earn rewards
Many credit cards offer rewards for using them, adding miles to your airline frequent flyer programs or points that give discounts at various retailers. Choose a card that fits your needs, depending on where you’re going today.
4. Watch for annual fees
Some cards charge as much as $500 annually, while others require no annual fee. Do the math and see if you’ll earn back the fees in rewards or with a lower APR.
As you choose the perfect card, remember Bright has your back. Once you connect your cards and your bank account, we’ll find the fastest, smartest way to pay off your debt and make your payments automatically.
5. Choosing a savings account
When choosing a savings account, look for a competitive APY, balance requirements, introductory deals, extra fees and charges, and access that suits you.
6. Look for a competitive annual percentage yield (APY)
Most savings accounts hover around the same APY. You find a lot of differentiation. But a little can make a difference, especially over the long term.
7. Watch for minimum balance requirements
Some accounts offer a higher yield - but only with a minimum balance. Make sure you can commit to their minimum before opening the account.
8. Check the fine print on introductory deals
Promotional rates often feature high APYs, but be mindful of the rate after the discounted period. You’ll likely use the account for years to come, and if the APY falls back down after the first several months, it may not meet your expectations.
9. Track other fees and charges
Some accounts charge transfer fees, others charge extra if you make too many transactions. Think about how you save and how you access your savings.
10. Look for accessibility that suits you
With more banking going online, you may not need a brick-and-mortar bank to access your savings account. But if you want to make withdrawals directly, without transferring it to a checking account, make sure your account is easy for you to access.
11. Compare Bright’s high APY
Bright offers savings accounts to all our users, with unlimited transfers and a very competitive APY. You can access your Bright Savings Account directly from the app and transfer funds whenever it’s easy for you.
Avinash is an Engineering graduate from IISc and BITS-Pilani. He is an experienced engineer and big data architect.