A credit check for credit cards…

When you apply for a credit card you are required to fill out a credit history. The analysis of “credit worthiness” can be a two-way street, however. As a credit consumer, ask the following questions:

  • What is the annual percentage rate, and if it is adjustable, what index is used?
  • When do finance charges begin to accrue?
  • What’s the fee for transferring card balances and how long does the teaser intro rate last?
  • If I use “credit access checks,” when do finance charges begin accruing and are there any extra fees for their use?
  • Are there extra charges if I use the card at an automated teller machine (ATM)?
  • What is the annual fee, and will it be waived under certain conditions?
  • How do I benefit if I already have a credit line or account with a particular lender?
  • Does the lender have other programs available (a gold credit card, for instance) that offer a better rate or lower fees?
  • If the lender is offering special incentives (for example, buyer protection insurance), will I really benefit from them?
  • How are the reward points calculated: fixed %, tiered scheduled, rotating categories?
  • How can reward points be redeemed: cash, merchandise, gift cards, travel, entertainment?

Once you have all the answers, you can determine if a card issuer is “credit-worthy” for your financial lifestyle and circumstances.

Read Powwow’s thoughts on getting the most from your Fidelity Rewards Card at Credit Karma!

About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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