Comparing Credit Cards: How to Find the Right Card For You

Before you settle on a credit card, it is important to compare their interest rates, perks and other features. You can find credit card comparison tools online to help you find the best one for you. But before you get started, you should know about the main types of credit cards that are available.

Whether you need a card with low interest, one that offers perks for traveling or one that is easy to get with bad credit, there is a credit card for you.

If you travel often, a travel credit card may be just what you need. With travel credit cards, you can earn points or miles when you make purchases. You can redeem these rewards to get travel-related benefits like hotel stays, airline tickets, travel insurance and more.

There are plenty of well-reviewed travel cards to compare and choose from: The Bank of American Travel Rewards card offers 25,000 bonus points for signing up. Some of US Bank’s travel rewards include extra points on travel and gas stations, among other travel benefits. Capital One’s Venture Travel Card offers 60,000 bonus miles that you can use for vacation rentals, car rentals and more.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1.25 cents per point). You can redeem these points at many hotel chains in the U.S., including Marriott, Hyatt and more, and the fee is only $95 per year.

If you regularly use a certain airline or stay at a certain hotel chain, you may be able to find a credit card that is co-branded with the hotel or airline. Using your travel credit card can help you earn points or miles that you may redeem through the hotel or airline.

Low Annual Percentage Rate (APR) credit cards come with a low interest rate, meaning you will not accrue a lot of interest on your credit card debt. Some credit cards with low interest rates even come with an introductory period when you do not have to pay any interest.

Many consumers will often use a low interest credit card as a balance transfer card. For example, if you already have credit card debt, you may be able to transfer your current debt to a low interest balance transfer card. If you have an introductory period of one year with zero interest, you will have more time to pay off your existing debt and not accrue any more interest.

Even after the introductory period, a low annual percentage rate credit card should remain fixed at a low interest rate.

Need to boost your credit? One strategy to improve your credit is to get a credit card and use it responsibly. However, it can be hard to get a credit card if you already have bad credit. That’s where credit cards for bad credit can help. While they usually don’t come with fancy perks, credit cards for bad credit can help improve your credit, and they are usually easy to apply for online.

Often, these credit cards will be secured, meaning that they will require you to pay a deposit to get started. Some of today’s best credit cards to apply for with bad credit include the Discover it Secured Credit Card, the Secured Mastercard from Capital One and the Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card. 

If you have an unsecured credit card for bad credit, you will not have to pay a deposit, but you may have higher fees. You may end up paying as much in fees as you would for a deposit. For this reason, it may be better to go with a secured credit card if you have bad credit.

Are you a college student? If so, you may qualify for a student credit card. If you’re a traditional age student, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to develop your credit. Student credit cards have lower qualifications when it comes to your credit score and income, making them the perfect choice for young college students. 

Some student cards will offer perks like cash back rewards, but all will allow you to build credit if you use them responsibly. Wells Fargo has credit cards for students, including the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card. It comes with a 0% introductory interest rate and cash rewards for everyday purchases.

Bank of America offers Customized Cash Rewards for Students. This program allows students to get:

  • 3 percent cash back in a category of your choosing (choices include gas, online shopping, travel and more)
  • 2 percent cash back from grocery stores
  • 1 percent cash back on any other purchases

The Discover it Student Chrome requires no previous FICO score, so it may be perfect for young students without an established credit history. It also offers a 1-2 percent rewards rate, and forgiveness for a first late payment. Some student credit cards may offer perks and benefits for students who maintain a 3.0 GPA.

When you are ready to choose the right credit card, you can begin by considering the following:

  • Your credit score
  • How you will use the card
  • Compare interest rates on different credit cards
  • Compare fees and penalties on different credit cards
  • Consider the perks and bonuses that come with different cards

Once you have a credit card you would like to apply for, the easiest way to apply is through the credit card issuer’s website. You will need to have information like your address, your income level and your Social Security number. Always be sure to read the terms and conditions so you do not experience any unwanted fees or penalties.