It’s the time of year where shopping and spending is top of mind. So credit card deals that seem too good to be true are probably a dime a dozen. Be smart, and always read the fine print.
Here are four such credit card promotion gimmicks that might be worth a second look before submitting an application.
It’s probably the first thing that you’ll gravitate toward when shopping around for a credit card—is there a “low, low rate” that’s impossible to pass up? Make sure that they’re legitimately useful to your needs before you take the plunge. These rates are often temporary—ensure the regular rate that will come into play once the promotion ends is one that your budget can stomach. In addition, many promotional rates are intended for just certain customers—your credit score might skew your eligibility, so read the fine print.
“Rewards” is a fun word—we all want them, but not all are created equal. A credit card promotion might put the opportunity to earn rewards front and center. But if the rewards are mediocre at best or require very specific types of spending to even earn the smallest of rewards, it might not be worth your time. Investigate your credit card of choice’s rewards details—do they offer cash back, gift cards, travel points and other worthwhile items or are they lackluster? (SFFCU does—have you seen our Better Rewards credit card?)
Points can be very useful when it comes to a high-quality credit card with a good rewards structure. But they can also be used deceptively to confuse a cardholder into thinking they’re worth more than they are. Read the terms of a rewards program and make sure you understand how you can redeem points—are points worth more when they’re redeemed for certain things or do they expire quickly? (SFFCU’s rewards, for example, are good for an entire 48 months—now that’s a lot of opportunity to redeem!) Make sure it can be used in a way that will be truly beneficial to you and your financial needs.
This is less of a gimmick and more of a word of advice—while many credit cards will establish a clear-cut “credit limit” beyond which they don’t intend for you to borrow, some will allow you to “overdraw” on your credit limit. Namely, when using your card, don’t assume that your transaction will be disapproved before you inadvertently overdraw—instead, you may be dinged with a fee for going beyond your credit limit. Read your credit card’s fee table carefully—look for penalties of this nature so you are aware ahead of time.
There’s nothing better than a clear-cut credit card. We offer a choice between a competitively low rate and a bigger opportunity to earn truly useful rewards. We’re not a national player—we’re local and we pride ourselves on showing how much we care about our cardholders. Talk to one of our lenders today, or click here to learn more about your options.