Choosing What's Best For You
Choosing What Credit Card is Right for You
Check your credit score. The better the credit score the more likely you are to be approved for cards with better benefits. If the number isn't what you are expecting, check your credit report to see what is causing the issue and look to fix it.
Identify what type of credit card you would like:
- A card that will help you improve your credit - Student credit cards that are unsecured are meant for college students who are new to credit and are generally easier to qualify for than other credit cards.
- A card that will save you money on interest - If you only plan on using your credit card for emergencies, the right choice for you may be having an irregular income, or may carry a balance from time to time a card with a introductory 0% APR and ongoing low interest rate. If you need to pay off high interest debt, you may want to consider a balance interest offer to help you pay it off interest free. Both these options may be harder to find if you have poor or average credit.
- A card that will earn you rewards - This is a good match if you pay off your balance in full every month and never incur interest. These cards typically have higher interest rates, but offer larger sign up bonuses and give you points, miles or cash back for every dollar spent.
Choosing What Bank is Right For You
There are many factors which you may consider when choosing what bank to open accounts in such as:
- Locations - If you prefer to bank in person your bank branch and ATM locations are an important consideration. If you travel frequently you may also want to see if your bank has branches or ATMs in the places where you travel most.
- Availability of products and services
- Fees associated with accounts - Many banks charge fees for their products and services they provide and these fees can vary from institution to institution. Some banks may waive or lower some fees if you meet certain criteria such as maintaining a minimum balance. Some fees a bank may charge are monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, statement fees, out of network ATM fees, and statement fees among others.
- Interest rate offerings - Interest rates vary from institution to institution. Ideally you want to find an institution that has low interest rates on loans and high interest rates on savings and checking accounts.
There are also several different types of banks such as credit unions, traditional banks, and online banks.
Traditional Banks provide financial services and products primarily through brick and mortar locations and tend to offer a wider variety of services as well as more ATM and branch locations than smaller banks.
Online Banks offer similar services of a traditional bank but have few or no branch offices. Online banks typically offer more competitive fees and interest rates than traditional banks as their overhead is lower.
Credit Unions are nonprofit member owned organizations that offer financial services to their members. In order to be a member you must meet certain criteria specific to each credit union. Since these banks are member owned, credit unions tend to offer low feed and loan rates as well as higher interest rates on savings and checking accounts.
When choosing a bank, make sure that it is insured so that your money is protected. Banks will be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and credit unions will be insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). If you would like to check if you bank is insured check here and here if you want to check if your credit union is insured.
Online and mobile banking has become increasingly popular in the recent decade and you may want to consider what institutions offer for online banking when choosing a bank. There are important concerns when it comes to the security of online banking so you may want to consider a bank that offers dual authentication methods.