Credit cards are one of the most popular and widely used plastic money options available. Credit cards give consumers extra spending power without having to rely on cash. Credit cards can be used at any place that accepts debit cards, including gasoline stations, drug stores, restaurants, movie theaters, department stores, banks, and many other businesses. A credit card is simply a payment card issued by a bank to consumers to enable the user to pay for goods and services without any accrued debt at the time of the purchase. In return, the credit card company charges a set amount of interest.
There are four types of credit cards currently on the market, American Express, Discover, Visa, and MasterCard. Each one has their own benefits and features, and their rates of interest are generally lower than those offered by other companies. However, credit cards come with a variety of fees, and consumers should carefully review all fees before deciding which credit cards are right for them. Some of the most common fees are higher interest rates, annual fees, and rewards programs.
Most credit cards offer one or more reward programs. These can include gas, airline miles, department store purchases, and home care services. The type of reward program that card offers will depend on the type of balance that a card holder has. For example, if a card holder makes purchases with a debit card, then they will earn points towards earning a rebate on certain retailers or services.
Consumers should also closely examine their payment history. Credit cards can come with a variety of payment options. Balance transfers may allow a customer to take advantage of low interest rates. However, consumers need to ensure that the payment history will not adversely affect their credit score. Excessive use of any credit line could lead to a high balance transfer fee, and/or an exorbitant interest rate. Consumers should review the different payment options on a monthly statement balance to ensure that all payments are reported accurately.
Credit cards are excellent for those who have excellent credit. However, many individuals who have less-than-perfect credit may not qualify for introductory rates or extended terms. It is important for these individuals to determine their payment history. If a card is paid in full each month, excellent credit scores can still be obtained. To find out more about qualifying for the best rates on these types of accounts, consult a consumer affairs service.
One way for consumers to manage their credit card debt is to avoid interest. High interest balances can be difficult to pay off because they force consumers to make payment after a period of time. In some cases, balances become too high for a consumer to manage without incurring financial hardships. To avoid high interest rates on high-balance balances, it is important to contact the company about reducing or eliminating the interest. Consumers can also look into other credit card debt consolidation programs to help reduce monthly payments.
Some credit cards may offer customers a low interest rate but charge a hefty annual fee. Consumers can use a consolidation plan to help eliminate the fees and increase the savings. Consumers should consider a low-interest rate plan, if they only make the minimum payment or rarely make any monthly payments. Low-rate cards also help reduce late fees. Consolidation plans can also reduce or eliminate late fees.
MasterCard and American Express cards are similar, offering a wide variety of rewards and benefits. Both companies are well-known nationwide. However, there are differences between these cards. American Express has several plans including prepaid cards and debit cards. A few cards from American Express can be used to purchase gift certificates and airline tickets.