When was the last time you gave any thought to the kind of credit card you have? Maybe you were meticulous when you chose your card, searching for specific benefits and applying for cards strategically. But it’s possible, too, that the credit card you have represents a you that you’ve grown out of. Maybe you travel more now than you used to, or you’ve given up your car and don’t need bonus points on gas purchases. Maybe you didn’t know to pay attention to interest rates back when you got your credit card, and now you do.
With the variety of credit card issuers out there offering an assortment of interest rates, terms, fees, rewards and perks, you may have more choices than you’d have thought!
So how do you know if your credit card is working for you? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I usually carry a credit card balance? If you’re aware of your spending habits, and therefore you know you carry a credit card bill balance each month, you may want to spend on a card with the lowest interest rate. The average card balance as of September 2021 was nearly $5,525, according to CreditCards.com. If you’re carrying a balance month-to-month—even if it’s not as high as the average—you’re paying interest on that balance. Being aware of your spending habits, and whether or not you carry over into the next month, can help inform what kind of interest rate you look for in a credit card.
- Do I pay off my balance each month? If you rarely or never carry a balance each billing cycle, and don’t make late payments, the interest rate on your card may not be as important to you. Instead, you may prioritize a rewards credit card, one that offers purchase warranty or a one with a high credit limit (not that those benefits are mutually exclusive!). Knowing that you won’t be affected by the card’s interest rate (because you’re not carrying a balance into the next cycle) can give you a chance to aggressively collect points or earn cash back.
- Do I pay an annual fee? If you prefer a card that provides rewards and perks, and your lifestyle warrants it, it may be worthwhile to pay an annual fee. For example, if you’re a frequent traveler, paying an annual fee may make sense when you consider the savings you could earn on flights and hotel rooms.
- Am I earning the right kind of rewards? However, if you’re not a traveler, then a travel rewards card may not be the best option for you. The rewards you earn will simply languish, while you could’ve been earning points you could apply to your holiday shopping total or stacking cash back. Look for a new credit card that gives flexibility to choose the rewards you prefer.
- Do I travel overseas often? Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees of up to 3% of overseas credit card purchases. The best way to avoid foreign transaction fees is to consider a card that doesn’t charge these fees.
Dare to Compare
Still looking for the right card? Navy Federal Credit Union offers a range of credit cards with great rates and competitive rewards. Whatever your needs are, you can find a card to fit your lifestyle. Compare your options.
- Take the time to review the credit cards you have – list things like interest rate, rewards and perks to make sure your cards work for your lifestyle.
- If you’re currently carrying a balance, use our Credit Card Interest Calculator to determine how long it will take you to pay it off.
- Start searching for the perfect card that will match your lifestyle.
As of 05/2/2022, the nRewards® Secured card rate is 18.00% APR and will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate. All other Navy Federal Credit Card rates range from 6.24% APR to 18.00% APR, are based on product type and creditworthiness, and will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate. ATM cash advance fees: None if performed at a Navy Federal branch or ATM. Otherwise, $0.50 per domestic transaction or $1.00 per foreign transaction. $49 annual fee for Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards.
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.