Credit Cards

Shopping for a Credit Card?

Are you looking over new or better quality credit cards? There are dozens out there! Again, I suggest you do some comparison shopping or research first. There are many sites that review charge cards for you. Educate yourself by reading up on them so you can make the best choice, but be willing to read negative reports too. Remember, you're trying to do balanced research. Ask friends or check online forums for the kind of experiences others have with their credit cards.

Determine what kind you need or want. You will find:
* Best Canadian Credit Cards
* Balance Transfer Cards
* Cash Back Cards
* Instant Approval Credit Cards
* Low Interest Credit Cards
* Rewards Cards
* Auto/Gas Cards
* Airline Credit Cards
* Business Credit Cards
* Student Credit Cards
* U.S. Dollar Cards

Some cards promise to help you build better credit - but for many, your application is only accepted if you already have excellent credit. Some issuing institutions offer you a charge card if you have no credit history at all - study such contracts carefully!

Generally the big banks or financial institutions issue the best known and most accepted credit cards;
* American Express
* Bank of Montreal
* Capital One

For Your Credit Card Research has all sorts of comparison charts for the many types of credit cards, including the ones with low or no fees. This site adapts to where you are located, so that if you are in Canada, it will whisk you immediately to, and if you are in the UK you will find yourself on The same applies if you are in Australia - you end up at The information provided will be focused on what is appropriate in your country. It may be a bit tricky getting the info for another country if you are not presently located there.

iFreedom card for debt-averse Muslims

Melanie Dixon writes there, that this special Shariah-compliant credit card has been developed by MasterCard for devout Muslims whose Koran forbids the charging or paying of interest. It has been reviewed and approved by Muslim religious scholars. Traditionally banks do not offer interest-free cards because there is no money to make, but this credit card is really a preloading debit card, which can be preloaded with cash for a .95 fee, and then reloaded as needed. This allows Muslims to shop online too, or wherever credit cards are the method of payment. IFreedom sounds like a good name for it!

. . .As I Consider a New Card

Although I've said for many years now that I don't need or want a credit card, I have been looking into the various cards lately because of some personal instances where having a true charge card would have expedited a purchase faster. (Moving funds from savings to checking takes an extra day). I'm open now to apply, if find one that is bare bones simple, convenient, and as good as free. Would you like to tag along?

I've read that you can often get a better credit card deal at a financial institution where you already do business. Let's start there.

First, I have a President's Choice account for groceries and such, and two savings accounts with excellent interest rates. PC has been promoting their credit cards with ads in my face at every turn. Maybe it's time to examine them more closely. So I go to their site first; PC Financial, now it is called Simplii

Since I hate debt, I would plan to pay off my balance every month - before any interest is charged. Perks like rewards will only speak to me if I don't have to pay extra for them. If you expect to carry a debt balance you will be looking for the lowest monthly interest card too.

I hesitate to record the rates I see here, as they can change quickly, but I see that I don't qualify for their World Mastercard because I'm not of a high enough income bracket. Their PC Financial Mastercard does appeal, as it has no annual fees, 19.97% on purchases - as long as I pay ahead of each month's due date, and it provides PC points ($1 = 10 points) that can be used for free groceries.

But let's see what else is out there. I rarely choose anything until I've checked out the range of options.

I also have a credit union account at Affinity. So I browse their site until I come to this Low Fee Mastercard! Aside from the annual fee, it looks much like the one I saw at, until I skim further down and see a lot of winsome extra features.

Annual Fee: $12
Additional Card: No Fee
Grace Period: 21 days
Interest Rate: 19.49%
Credit Limit: $1,000 - $50,000

Additional Features include: MasterPurchaseĀ®, MasterTripĀ®, Common Carrier Travel Insurance, Optional Balance Protection Insurance, Credit Card Registry.

On checking out the others in the list I see more that are appealing. I find a Business Mastercard with no annual fee and an interest rate of 16.99% with a grace period of 21 days. Hmm! Maybe that's the one?

Recently I was in an Affinity branch on other matters and asked in passing about difficulty in getting a credit card since I had not borrowed money for over 30 years. I was quickly informed that they have a credit-building card for just such a situation. Their no-fee Choice Rewards card allows you to charge items up to $500, and if you wait until the bill comes and pay it off promptly, this shows up in credit rating organizations, giving you a name as a good credit risk. Naturally, they want a detailed application filled out, but since they already know me as a conscientious client, I'll have no trouble.

Also, in this list is the Global Payment Card which I already have. (Only available to credit union members). It works like a Mastercard in most places, but it is really a debit card, so each purchase is withdrawn from my checking account immediately. I've often told friends that it is like a checkbook; it gives me the conveniences of credit cards without fees to worry about. I'd forgotten some of it's good features. (That may still be the best deal around!)

There are some other sites that have comparison charts for various credit cards, and I've looked some over, but I'm beginning to feel like I don't need them. (slide down below the menus).

Oh yes, I must remember to check out deals at my favourite rebate sites; (check in the Finances category to find that you can get anywhere from $30 - $65 back if you sign up for a credit card by going through them! Oh. But not the ones I've just selected as my top choices).

Don't forget, besides your own financial institutions, do your searches on Google or other search engines with the keywords for the kind of credit cards you have in mind. You will be astonished at the wide range of choices out there. Some are bound to meet your criteria.

Debit Card vs. Credit Cards

There are people who are disciplined in their use of credit cards, and even manage to carry a debt on their card, and do it sensibly. I think I have the self-discipline, but I don't want to carry debt! That can make for sleepless nights.

However, there are many others who cannot restrain themselves from spending. Online shopping offers even greater temptations. I want to tap you on the shoulder and warn you that if you suspect you may end up charging far more on your credit card than you can reasonably pay off in the next month or two, or if you are an impulsive shopper, I recommend that you refrain from getting a credit card, or if you have one, - destroy it. I suggest a debit card, or prepaid gift card instead. Not just a banking card - there is a difference. Get a debit card that has a brand name such as Mastercard or Visa, and has the security code in the back. (Like the Global Payment Mastercard I have and rediscovered above). That's the safest!

Now I'm mulling over the pros and cons for my decision:

My first motive was quicker access to my funds at PC. But does that need arise often enough to make this necessary?

The big advantage of shopping online with a credit card is that it is easier to cancel a purchase, if something goes wrong, or you have buyer remorse. The extra fees you pay cover insurance for such things.

The big advantage of a debit card is that it is like a checkbook. You can only use it when you have money in your bank account. If the money is not already there, the purchase won't go through. This can restrain one from foolish shopping online with credit cards.

Some time we'll have a talk on self-control and self-discipline, and also budgeting, or living within your means. Math is not a problem once you learn those character-building traits. In fact, there are people who take pride in saying they don't go shopping online with credit cards.