Searching for the right credit card can be difficult—you’re constantly barraged with gimmicks and “special offers” and cards that are too good to be true. To help navigate this process, we’ve assembled five clear signs that a card offer isn’t worth the trouble.
Here are five reasons a credit card might be a bad one.
There’s an annual fee.
If a credit card comes with an annual fee, it had better have the benefits and rewards to back it up. In fact, it’s becoming less and less common for a provider to charge a fee just for having the card—this card from Voyage Federal Credit Union, for example, foregoes an annual fee all together. The bottom line is, if you want to avoid paying an annual fee, you have options—don’t settle for a sub-par card with add-on expenses.
The rates aren’t fixed.
This is a buyer beware moment—while some “introductory rates” can be a good selling point for picking up a given card, read the fine print. If the APR post-introductory-period is steep, it might not be worth the application. Plus, some card issuers may allow for the rate to change at will versus being fixed for the life of the cardholder relationship. Check for variable rates—they can be unpredictable and difficult to manage on a budget.
It’s your first card.
This one isn’t a sign of a bad card per se, but more of a sign that it’s time to switch cards. Everyone has that first credit card—the one he or she maybe opened in the early years of adulthood to establish credit. But if you hang onto that card well into your 30s and 40s, it’s likely not a good fit for you anymore. Unless you are in the same work and financial situations you were when you first opened it, it’s probably a good idea to upgrade to a card that better suits your life situation—whether it’s a different rate, a different limit or more rewards opportunities.
There’s a balance transfer fee.
One of the best parts of signing up for a new credit card is the opportunity to transfer a balance from another card to gain a better interest rate. But many cards charge a fee for balance transfers—seek out ones that keep these sorts of transactions affordable. Voyage FCU’s credit card keeps it simple—no fee charged for balance transfers.
It has a late-payment rate.
Whether you’re taking advantage of an introductory rate or simply managed to find a card with a nice, low APR, make sure to look for a penalty rate—a rate that the card issuer may revert to in the event you ever miss a minimum payment. These penalty rates can be exorbitant and can be extremely difficult to keep up with—especially if you typically carry a balance. If a penalty rate is more than you’ll be able to afford or is a huge jump from the standard, everyday rate, it might a bad fit for you.
Ready to apply?
If a great credit card with minimal fees, a low rate and awesome rewards is your speed, click here to apply for Voyage FCU’s Visa® Credit Card.
This is an advertisement. Qualification is based on an assessment of individual creditworthiness and our underwriting standards. All Credit Union loan programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. A 1.0% Foreign Transaction Fee for multiple currencies and .8% Foreign Transaction Fee for single currency will apply to transactions in U.S. Dollars. Visit voyagefcu.org/account-services/credit-cards for more details.
DISCLAIMER: The views of the author are not necessarily those of this station, its owners, officers, agents or employees.