Must have features for your credit card

As credit card usage grows, and you get more and more calls from banks trying to sell you their credit cards you will need some parameters to help you evaluate the best credit card for you.

credit card features

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Today, we’re going to take a look at 5 factors or credit card features that you should keep in mind while deciding which credit card you opt for. These factors are fairly easy to evaluate and it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to figure it all out in your head.

1) Your Credit Card Must Be Free:

All credit cards have interest on the outstanding balance, but there are some on which you have to pay an annual fee. You should try to avoid such cards because there are plenty of banks that provide you a credit card without an annual fee.

There are some cards on which there is no annual fee, but a renewal fee. This is nothing more than the fee waived off for the first year. Basically, they don’t charge you for the first year, and then have a fee to renew your membership after that. I recommend staying away from these cards as well.

The only time you should be willing to pay for your credit card is when you see real value in the service they offer. They could be offering concierge services, or there could be a good cashback or rewards program that you think you can take advantage of. If you don’t see any tangible benefit then don’t pay for the card as you can find plenty of free credit cards in the market.

2) Easy to manage:

Your credit card should be really easy to manage and pay off. The easiest way is to link your credit card to your bank account and pay the bill online.  It should be your goal to find a card that’s very easy to pay off because if you end up missing a payment you will end up paying very high interest needlessly. As far as possible – go for the credit card that’s easy to pay off.  We often underestimate inconvenience and end up paying a price for it. For example – you may not think much of driving to a nearby ATM to drop off a cheque, but ask yourself how many times you’ve forgotten to make a payment, and how many times have you just delayed a haircut because you were feeling lazy? Life is complicated as it is and you don’t want to make it any harder on yourself by adding another task of driving to a bank or ATM to drop of the credit card payment. As far as possible look for a credit card that can be paid online, and if possible link it to the bank you have an account with anyway. That way your payments will be instant.

3) Where do you spend the most?

Some people have a lot of air travel, others need to fill up petrol quite often, and then there are others who shop at a particular mall very often.

Find out where you spend most of your money, and then see if there is a credit card that will give you rewards on where you spend the most money. Most petrol pumps have co-branded credit cards that give you some money off, and there are air travel credit cards as well.  Find out the credit card that gives most bang for your buck.

I’m sure you know friends who got a toaster for all the reward points they gathered over years! You don’t want to be that friend, so be smart and do a little planning before you apply for a credit card. A little thought on the rewards program can go a long way in terms of reaping benefits later.

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4) Rewards that don’t expire:

Some credit cards give reward points but they expire after a certain period. Make sure you are familiar with how the reward points work; ideally they shouldn’t expire at all, but if they do – then make sure you’re familiar with how long they last and how you can take the most advantage of it.

5) Reward points used to pay off outstanding balance:

There are some credit cards that allow you to use the reward points to pay off your outstanding balance, and that’s just great because sometimes it’s a challenge to use reward points. However, such cards may have an annual fee, so be careful – you don’t want to pay so much in the annual fee that the rewards become meaningless.

These are five factors that you must think about while selecting a credit card, as a credit card can be a great tool if used wisely, but can be the most lethal of weapons if you don’t give enough thought to which one you use, and how you use it.

This is a guest post by Manshu Verma – he is an MBA in Finance and writes about investing and personal technology at Onemint

Disclaimer: This post represents the opinion of its author only, and does not in any way reflect the opinions of the author’s employer, The Financial Literates or the other authors who write content for this Website.

credit card features
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Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice & TFL Guide Blog in 2009. "The Financial Literates" is a dream & mission to make Indians Financial Literate.

8 COMMENTS

    • Thanks a lot Manshu for sharing such a nice article – this will also give a fresh taste to TFL readers as most of my articles are on investment or insurance. 🙂

  1. Thanks a Lot..!!! Information available here is very simple to understand and to the point.

    Very useful as it addresses the Bulls Eye – Always.

    Thanks for guiding (Learner) people like me..!!

  2. Hello Sir,

    I use SBI Credit Card. It’s credit limit is Rs. 50,000. Credit card is offering me to increase the credit limit to Rs. 70,000. Should I go for it? Currently my monthly bill amount vary from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 30,000. I never found more than Rs. 30,000 bill. I pay full amount on time (before due date) and do not use partial payment feature.

    Thanks
    Paresh

    • Hi Paresh,
      Credit card companies are in a loan business they want to give more credit limits – so people should take more loans & then pay more interest. As you said you have rarely touched even 50% of the limit avoid increasing it – if you have more limit someday you may find it tempting to buy something or think what will happen if someday your card is mis-used.
      One more thing – don’t think that one who is making full payments of credit card dues is on the right way, actually card impacts your spending habits & some time results are very dangerous. You never know when your needs becomes wants & luxury looks like a necessity.
      Think thrice before using your card next time.

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