Picking a Credit Card (Part 2)

So, now that we know where to look for credit cards, I want to share with you the final part of making my decision.  While interest rate is not a major issue, it does come into play and I will be looking over the terms of the card I choose.  When looking at credit card terms, you should always see a table like the one below.  Click to enlarge.


This is a standard disclosure for all cards.  This example came from a Bank of America credit card.  Notice the major important numbers: interest rate for standard purchases, balance transfers, and default.  The default APR will go into effect if you make late payments or do not follow standard credit card procedure.  Variable rate information discusses potential rate changes in the future.  The grace period is how long you have from the billing date to make your payment.  Minimum finance charge and annual fee are self explanatory.

Two good resources for understanding the dozens of pages of disclosures are Bankrate’s 15 Must Know Credit Card Terms and the Credit and Charge Card pamphlet from the Federal Reserve of San Fransisco.

That in mind, I have limited my selection to just a few cards.  The Discover Cashback Bonus card has come up a few times in my searches, so I will give it a closer look.  Chase Freedom has come up a few times, but that is the card I am dumping, so it is off the list.  Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express looks highly rated by Consumer Reports.  I have the Citi Dividend Rewards card.  It has 2% cash back on top categories, but 1% on everything else.  I think I can do better than that.  Finally, I am looking at the Charles Schwab rewards credit card.  That gives me four cards to examine in greater detail.

Update 11/8/2012, not all of these cards are available anymore. See my always up to date list of my favorite credit cards.

So there it is.  As my marketing professor would say, this is my “choice set” of card.  I will pick on of them to be my card in the next few days.  I want to take a non-binding poll of readers to see what you think.  If you are reading this in an RSS reader, you may have to visit the site to vote.

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