Building up your credit is an important step toward total financial health. Having a clean credit history may help you secure an increase in your credit card limit or negotiate a lower interest rate on a new car or home loan.
What types of credit cards are there?
Banks, credit card companies, stores, gas stations and even phone companies offer credit cards. Standard credit cards usually have no fee or a low annual fee. Some of the benefits of a standard credit card include convenience, security, the ability to extend payments over time, low interest on balance transfers, cash back, savings on purchases and loyalty points – and of course, the ability to build a good credit history over time. Premium credit cards charge higher annual fees and may offer more valuable rewards programs, access to airport lounges, insurance benefits and a broad range of other benefits. With rewards cards, you earn points based on the amount you spend, provided your payment history is up to date.
Should I have a specialty credit card?
Specialty cards, such as business or student cards, are designed for people with very specific credit needs. These cards have many of the standard features—low introductory rates, cash back and airline rewards—but also include specific benefits that may not be valuable to you. For example, a business card might have features for increased credit limits, employee cards and tools for keeping personal and business expenses separate. Credit card issuers design student cards to help students build credit for the future. These cards often have minimal rewards, but are convenient, have low or no annual fee and if managed well, build a solid credit history.
Can I qualify for a credit card if I have bad credit?
Secured credit cards are for people who need to establish credit, repair their poor credit histories and rebuild their credit. In general, secured cards require collateral or prepayment, offer low credit limits and may charge annual or other fees.