Nothing remains the same, including your credit card. Terms change. Interest rates change. Your financial situation changes. Your life is in forward motion and your financial needs change, so why are you continuing to use the same old credit card?
There are a number of signs that indicate your credit card may be outdated and it’s time for an upgrade. Any of the following nine signs should be enough to make you consider a change:
1. Your interest rate is too high.
This is probably the best reason to switch credit cards. Many card companies offer great deals with low interest rates to get you to sign up, but after a grace period, those interest rates may rise above the market APR. Be sure your credit card interest rates are competitive. If not, there are plenty of low interest rate cards available.
2. You can get better rewards.
Many credit cards offer attractive customer rewards such as cash back or travel insurance. Depending on your spending habits, you can take advantage of these card offers to get money back on holiday purchases, help pay for an upcoming vacation, or help with a big purchase. Reward cards can be worthwhile, but there are usually terms required to earn those rewards, such as paying off your balance every month or making specific types of purchases. Be sure to read the fine print before you apply.
3. Your current credit card is no longer offered?
Credit cards age, but unlike fine wine, they usually are just discontinued (although the credit card companies are happy to keep you as a paying customer). New credit cards are issued all the time because of new promotional arrangements with hotels and airlines, new bank relationships, or as a result of mergers. If you can’t even remember the last time you applied for a credit card, it might be a good idea to see if it’s still being offered. Whatever the reason, if your card is no longer being offered, it’s time to change to get the latest benefits and better rates.
4. Your spending habits have changed.
Many reward credit cards only offer points for specific types of purchases, such as meals or travel spending. As your lifestyle changes, so do your spending habits and the rewards that used to be valuable may no longer be beneficial. It might be time to look for a different kind of rewards card that offers benefits you can really use.
5. You have better credit.
When was the last time you checked your credit score? It could be that your credit rating has improved, which means you should qualify for a lower interest rate on your credit card. This is especially true if you have been using a secured credit card to improve your credit rating. It might be time to apply for a credit card that offers more benefits and higher spending limits.
6. Your credit limit is too low.
Many starter credit cards and retail store cards have very low spending limits. If you have been building your credit for some time, you may qualify for an increased credit limit which can give you more spending power. Check with your credit card company to see if they will raise your credit limit, or look for a card that lets you purchase more with a higher credit limit.
7. You’re paying an annual fee that isn’t worth it.
Some credit card companies charge annual or even monthly fees for poor credit or to pay for services that you may not even need. Most of today’s credit cards are offered free of charge, in addition to offering generous rewards and bonus programs. If you are paying a fee for your current credit card, ask yourself if it’s worth it.
8. You get a terrific sign-up offer.
The credit card industry has become incredibly competitive so companies are offering attractive deals to entice you to sign up. They might offer free travel miles, bonus points, or even cash to new applicants, so if you are shopping for a new credit card, you may be able to get a bonus in the process.
9. Time for a balance transfer.
Balance transfer offers allow you to take the money you owe on one credit card and transfer it to a new card that charges little or no interest for an introductory period. This could be extremely attractive if you are paying high interest charges on another card and are looking for ways to save money. Be sure to look for a card that offers low interest and no transfer fee.When it’s time to look for a new credit card, you want to balance a number of these factors to get the best deal across the board. The iQ Credit Union Visa Platinum Credit Card, for example, has a low interest rate, gives you cash back on every purchase, and includes $500,000 of travel insurance and other benefits. When shopping for a new credit card, you want to make sure you get rewards you can use, as well as benefits that keep providing value. You also want to work with a credit card provider that you trust. That’s why iQ Credit Union continues to find the best credit card deals for our members.