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Credit Cards

The Best Card for Your Credit Style

Zero in on the best card by figuring out how you handle credit.


There's more to picking a credit card than comparing annual percentage rates. A bad fit could mean paying more fees or a higher interest rate than you need to. To find the best card for you, consider the following:

Will you carry a balance every or almost every month? If so a lower monthly interest rate is more important than the annual fee.

The best deals on standard credit cards come with variable rates, which are generally tied to the bank's prime rate.

Fixed-rate cards aren't really fixed. Card issuers can change their rates at any time as long as they notify you of the change. However, you can opt out of the increase and pay off your balance at your old rate. You will not be able to use your card any more if you opt out of the increase.

Will you pay off your balance every month? Then you'll want a card without an annual fee.


The finance charges may be higher, but if you pay off the balance before the end of the month, you won't be charged.

Look for cards that feature a grace period of 25 to 30 days from the date you're billed before interest begins accruing.

If you pay the bill in full before the grace period runs out, you get, in effect, a free loan.

Deals like this make some credit cards the closest thing you'll ever come to free money. And if you make your purchases right after your billing date, you can stretch the term of this free-money period to nearly two months.


Do you want rewards? The market is awash with cards that reward customers with frequent-flier miles on selected airlines, or discounts on cars or other major purchases. Because the terms of these deals change so frequently, your own alertness is your best hope for finding offers that reward people with your particular spending pattern.

Regardless of your style remember that you will be charged a very high rate of interest and possibly extra fees for cash advances.

And if you're transferring a balance, compare low introductory rates, and how quickly they will disappear.