Vrakas CPAs, Here Are Your Articles for Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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How to Choose a Credit Card


It may seem like a simple decision: What kind of credit card should I get? However, there are long-term implications, and the kind of credit card you use and how you use it can have major effects. Whether you're thinking about the next quarter or what happens to your estate plan, you should review your credit card situation.

Here are three steps in finding a credit card that's right for you:

  1. Start with checking your credit score — the better the score, the greater your chance of being approved for cards with juicy perks. How do you check your score? You're entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Go to annualcreditreport.com to check your credit. Finally, look for cards recommended for your credit score range.
  2. Which type of credit card do you need? Some cards help you improve your credit when it's limited or damaged, and others can save you money on interest. Others help you earn rewards. Low-interest, 0 percent APR or balance transfer cards can be a good match if you have an irregular income and carry a balance from time to time.
  3. If you do want to earn rewards and get points, miles for travel or cash back on every dollar you spend, it pays to read the fine print. How complicated is the card? You don't want to contend with limited award seat availability, spending caps, rotating bonus rewards or loyalty tiers. Perhaps consider a card with a flat-rate cashback reward. Look at how much you have to spend; the less you need to spend to qualify, the better. Also, look for rewards that have no expiration date.

You can explore sites such as NerdWallet, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, which offer credit card comparison tools. Use the internet to search for the type of credit card you're considering and filter results according to your credit score and monthly spending.

Meanwhile, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Will this card help me build my credit? Cards that report your credit card payments to the three major credit bureaus help.
  • How much does it cost to open an account, including the annual fee? You can likely avoid the annual fee unless you have very poor credit.
  • Can I graduate to a better card? If you choose a card that lets you build your credit, you can upgrade to a card with more competitive terms. Keep your accounts open longer to boost the average age of your accounts; credit scorers like this. They also like to see that you're making payments on time and keeping your credit card utilization rate below 30 percent.

The credit card you choose should help you achieve your financial goals in the most affordable, efficient way possible. Are you trying to build credit? Borrow money? Earn rewards? Use your card for everyday purchases and, if possible, pay your bill in full every month.


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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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