Not all credit cards are equal.

June 25th, 2013 by Catherine James

Getting into credit card debt can be easier than most think. And big banks are likely to encourage you to use their card with some of the many common traps. But there are some easy steps you can follow to help manage your situation with the right credit card.

Don’t fall for that low introductory APR.

Most 0% APR offers are for balance transfers only. Any new purchases are more than likely subject to the higher rate. The introductory rate typically expires quickly. After the “promo” expires, that rate will jump to the much higher rate. An unexpected interest rate increase can be a big surprise. Make sure you read the fine print and understand when that rate goes up at some future time. Our low APR is not an introductory rate.

Why pay more for less?

Look for a card with a low or no annual fee. This is what the credit card company will charge you every year just for you to have the card. You are obligated to pay this fee, which is charged to the card even if you never use the card. A card with no annual fee, like ours, can be less expensive.

Rewards. But at what cost?

By now, you have seen the many rewards offers. Many credit card companies have a rewards card. You should make sure the benefits of that program outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Most credit card companies have increase the rewards option fee over the last few years. These fees can range from $75 or more each year. Our Platinum VISA Rewards option is free for the first year and $29 annually after that.

Look for Balance Transfer fees.

Consolidating multiple balances to one card is a good way to get better terms and make monthly payments more convenient.  But many card companies charge a transfer fee.  Be sure to look for balance transfer fees and understand which rate will apply to the balance you transfer over.  Balance transfers are always free with our credit card.

Remember, you’ve probably heard from a lot of credit card companies offering you what seems to be a great deal. Choose the one that has a great rate over the short and long term, one that doesn’t increase frequently. Regardless of which credit card you choose, make sure you pay your bill on time to maintain or improve your good credit rating.

Contributing Source: Consumer Reports.