What's Up With All These Credit Card Applications?

Friday, July 4, 2008

4 Things To Consider Before Getting That Credit Card

You see them everywhere. They arrive in the mail. They arrive by phone. They arrive by email. They are positioned by cash registers and gas pumps. They are credit card offers. It can be exciting to read all the enticing offers included on the applications. Free gifts, prizes, rewards, and discounts abound when it comes to credit card applications but before you stretch out your eager hand to grab that pen to fill in the offer you should take a few minutes to consider four important questions.

Can you handle it?

In case you never read the news or watched television, you should be made aware that credit card debt is a tremendous problem in the United States today. Credit card debt can destroy your financial future and drastically impact your life. So it is important to ask yourself before signing up whether or not you can handle the temptation and responsibility that comes along with a line of credit. If you are not sure then start out with a very low credit limit to test the waters.

Is this the best offer?

Once you have made the decision to fill in a credit card application you should do your homework before actually taking up an offer. Shop around for the best terms and rates as well as rewards. A great reward package that you will never get to use really isn't so great while something that might sound pretty small can really add up if you use it. For example, a discount on a car or cruise might be great but if you don't see either of those major purchases in your future then why not choose a gas or food discount instead. You know you will be using those.

What are your long-term financial plans?

If you plan to apply for a big loan, such as a mortgage or vehicle loan, in the near future then be careful about how many new accounts you open. Too many checks of your credit might be a red flag and sometimes having too much credit open can also be a detriment to your credit rating. Of course, if you don't have much on your credit report then you should likely take out a credit card and use it a bit just to show that you can handle credit.

Is your credit good enough?

Some high-level credit cards will only accept new customers with very high credit scores. Some reward or low-interest cards are also only available to a select group with good credit. Make sure your credit is good enough for the credit card offer you want to take and that your credit won't suffer due to one more credit check.

Credit cards can be a great tool, but just like any tool they need to be used wisely and can be used to do harm as well as good. Protect your financial future by asking these four important questions before filling out the credit card application.

Advanta Platinum with Rewards Card

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