There is no single best card in the market. It really depends on your particular circumstances and lifestyle. Set out below are a few scenarios to help you in your choice of credit card.
I always clear my credit card balance in full
Most credit cards offer an interest-free period of up to 55 days from the date of the transaction. There are however, a few deals that do not offer any grace period even if you clear your debt in full each month, so watch out for these.
In the case of full payment every month, the interest rate becomes irrelevant. Instead look for credit cards that will reward you for your spending. There are different reward schemes such as cashback, airmiles, discounts or loyalty points. Some are more generous than others so go for the card that gives you the best return on your spend.
If you can afford to clear your balance in full each month, but have a tendency to forget, or be late, making your payment, then set up a regular payment with your bank or credit card provider. This is the easiest way to guarantee you’ll always pay off your debt on time and avoid a penalty charge.
I do not pay my credit card balance in full
If you use your credit card for borrowing purposes and pay interest every month, then the interest rate is a very important feature to look at. There are many cards nowadays offering introductory offers on their rate, but be aware that, once the period ends, you will charged interest applicable on your whole balance.
Some people don’t want the hassle of having to shop around for a new credit card every six to 12 months, in which case a card with a low standard rate of interest is worth considering.
The other alternative is to have a credit card for each purpose – one for purchases and one for your balance transfer.
I’m a regular traveler
If you go abroad regularly, then you need a card that has lower overseas usage fees than most cards charge.
As much as credit cards are a convenient method of payment, particularly when you are abroad, they can also be costly. Most providers charge a foreign exchange fee on purchases made abroad and this can be anywhere between two and four percent. [Read more: Foreign exchange (FX fees) on spending abroad]
Credit card exchange rates are based on the Visa and MasterCard wholesale rates.
You will also pay a lot to withdraw cash on your card, either abroad or at home. [Read more: Credit card cash withdrawal fees add up fast]
Other features that are worth looking at when using the card abroad is the emergency service in case of lost or theft, provision of a replacement card and any insurance on other lost possessions.
Another option, if you are a regular traveler, is to go for a prepaid card. This type of card is relatively new to the market, but an increasing number of providers are offering them. They can be used in the same way as a credit or debit card, but the difference is that you have to load money onto them beforehand and they do not offer a credit facility – you can only spend what is on there.