Credits cards actually started out pretty simple and standard when you look back at the past. A particular set of feature was available with the one card issued by each card issuer. In today’s world, credits cards have several features associated with them including different rates of interest, rewards programme, fees, etc. Thus, it is of utmost importance that you understand the credit cards in a better way so that you choose the one that suits all your lifestyle and financial needs.
Let us know more about the different types of credit cards that are available in the market today.
Standard Credit Cards
The particular type of credit cards are extremely common and always available from different financial groups and banks. They are unsecured in nature which suggests that you will not have to deposit anything as a security in order to prove the fact that you can repay the whole amount that you borrowed. The APR or annual percentage rate calculated or offered with these credit cards varies from one another. Let us understand them further with certain examples.
- Balance Transfer Credit Cards – These credit cards allows all the consumers to transfer the balance from a credit card with higher interest to a credit card that has considerable lower rates of interest associated with it. One can commonly find a balance transfer credit card in the market today which offers an introductory APR or annual rate percentage that is zero, which would last for several months or even for a year. With different offers, there can be a lot of variation in the terms and conditions of the balance transfer credit cards. Hence, it is of great importance, that you read through all the terms and conditions for every card before you choose one for yourself.
- Low Interest Credit Cards – Low interest credit cards are also very common in the market today. These credit cards either offer a fixed annual rate percentage is low, or a very low annual rate percentage as an introductory offer which rises up after a certain period. These cards can prove to be extremely beneficial for the customers as they can make big purchases using them and get substantial amount of time to repay it back at extremely low rates of interest. Sometimes, the interest rate is zero, which makes it all the more advantageous for the customers when they make purchases. Ensure that you read all the terms and conditions before you opt for a particular low interest credit card so that accumulated interest or fees do not surprise you.
Credit Cards that come with rewards programme
With the help of Rewards credit cards, customers can avail several lucrative incentives when they make purchases using these cards. For every dollar that is spent using a rewards credit card, points are accumulated. These points can be used by the card holders on various things including travel, dining, lifestyle benefits, etc. Your credit history must be really good if you wish to avail a rewards credit card. There are different types of rewards credit card too. Let us discuss about these types and understand more about the rewards credit cards.
- Credit Cards with cashback facility – The cash back credit cards are extremely helpful when it comes to making purchases using the credit card. Cash rewards are earned more if the card is used often. Excluding the finance charges and interest, almost all cash back credit cards help the customers to earn substantially up to 1% of the entire purchases. Some of the credit cards also offer added percentage of cash back for more usage. There are cards with offer more cash back percentage for shopping from a particular merchant outlet or for buying specific products. The annual fee is considerably higher for cash back credit cards as they prove to be costly for all the credit card companies. This particular type of credit card is for the people who intend to repay their credit card bills faithfully, every month. The cash back credit cards can allow the customers to earn a substantial amount of money over a certain period of time.
- Credit Cards with general reward points – The reward credit cards are extremely similar to the cash back credit cards. With these too, cardholders can earn several points to avail great rewards for making a lot of purchases using their credit card. There are different items for which reward points can be earned using these cards. They include electronic appliances, flight tickets, hotel accommodation, gift cards, supplies for the pet, jewellery, etc. The promotional offers and the reward programmes often change. Hence, it is advisable that you read and understand the terms and conditions of the card that you wish to apply for. Mostly, there are no annual fees associated with a rewards credit cards. However, there are certain rewards credit cards which have annual fees to be maintained. This credit card is suitable for people who can pay off their credit card bills on time. As the finance charges are minimized, the cardholder can avail greater benefits using the rewards credit cards.
- Credit Cards with Hotel and Travel points – These type of credit cards are specifically designed to reap more benefits for travelling, hotel stays, etc. Some of the credit cards that are available in the market today are co-branded with different hotels. With all your purchases, you can earn several points which can be used as per your convenience later. Along with this, you are also entitled to bonus points which are awarded to you for your stay in specific hotels that are associated with your credit card. The points that you earn can be used by you to upgrade to a better room or avail free night stays at the hotels. Another type of travel credit card helps you to enjoy more for being a globetrotter. You can avail great discounts on the admission to some renowned theme parks, stay at some of the best hotels, etc. These cards come with an annual fee as they prove to be costly for the company issuing the credit cards. In case you are not really a frequent traveller, these credit cards will not really be of any special advantage as all the perks of rewards earned would be negated by the annual fees.
- Gas cards with rebates or points – Gas cards are basically of two types, brand specific and general. As the name suggests, the brand specific credit cards will help you to avail greater perks at specific fuel outlets. The general gas cards, on the other hand, will treat all gas stations as equal and also help to you earn points. For example, you might earn a rebate of one or two percent when you make regular purchases using the brand specific gas cards and a five percent discount for buying fuel at a station that is associated with that card. In contrast, the general gas cards will allow you to enjoy a one percent rebate on all the general products and a five percent discount for auto maintenance or fuel recharge. You will certainly make more profits using the brand specific gas cards if you wish to refuel at a particular gas station only. However, if that does not matter to you and you can stop at any nearest fuel station for fuel recharge, then a general gas card is what you are looking for to avail better benefits. Considering long trips on the road, make sure that the gas company associated with your credit card is popular and has presence all across the world. If not, it could be a problem for you to yield the perks of brand specific gas cards when you are travelling long distances in your own vehicle. Ensure that you also pay all your due bills on time so that you can continue to enjoy the benefits at peace.
Frequent flyer or airline miles credit cards
Airline miles credit cards are specifically designed to help you earn more air miles which can be later used for the redemption of flight tickets for free. Whenever a particular purchases is carried out using an airline miles credit card, points for air travel are automatically accumulated on the card. Some of the credit cards that are available in the market today are co-branded with specific airline companies. Other credit cards do not offer points for specific companies and air miles availed can be used for the flight tickets of a wide range of airline companies.
- Credit Cards that are airline specific – The cards that are airline specific are generally associated with one particular airline company. Just like any other credit card, the cardholder is awarded with points for both shopping using the credit card and traveling with the specific airlines. There are added benefits of these credit cards too. Some of the credit cards help you to earn twice the points when flight tickets are purchased. One can also avail priority boarding facilities and avoid the fees for baggage when using these airline specific credit cards.
- Credit cards that earn you generic airline miles – These generic airline miles credit cards helps you to earn points for traveling through any airline, online website for travel and travel agents. These credit cards can prove to be extremely beneficial for people who are not really frequent flyers. These cards will also not do any good for people who are not loyal to a particular airline company for flying. With these credit cards, you can redeem the frequent flyer points for flight tickets at any airline that suits your traveling needs the best. You are entitled to earn points for every single dollar that you spent using these credit cards. However, they are not associated with any specific airline company and will not earn you the additional points for flying.
All the airline credit cards that you see today in the market are somehow different from one another. Read the terms and conditions of all the credit cards carefully before you choose the one that is best for you and meets all your needs and requirements. There are certain things that you must carefully understand about an airline miles credit card like maximum air miles that can be earned in a whole year, minimum air miles that you need to enjoy a free flight ticket, expiry of the air miles that remain unused, etc. Some of the air miles expire within a span of five year, whereas, some air miles never expire and can be used whenever the card holder wants. For the credit card companies, this reward programme can be really costly. For this reason, there are heavy annual fees associated with these credit cards. These reward programmes are generally meant for people who fly frequently on a particular airline or on various airlines. These cards could also prove to be beneficial for the people who plan vacations often to distant places. Other card holders, who do not fly that frequently, might think of the high annual fees to be quite impractical.
Bad credit cards and cards for credit repair
Your credit score can be doing very good now. However, a credit can go to bad or worse under different circumstances. In case your credit score is not satisfactory, it does not actually imply that you are not eligible for a credit card. There are different options available for the customers to improve the credit score and make it better, if they had a bad credit history.
According to your current situation, introductory annual rate percentages on the balance transfers or debt consolidation can prove to be a wise idea. If you require credit or wish to repair your credit score, there are different credit cards which can help you in this regard.
- Secured Credit Cards – These particular kind of credit cards need collateral for its approval. In order to secure the card, a deposit of a specific amount is required. The amount of the security deposit must be equal to or more than the amount availed on credit. There can be several form of collateral that include jewellery, car, stocks, boats or any other thing that has substantial money value. These secured credit cards are specifically designed for the people who have no credit history or are trying to make their credit score better. The credit lines for these cards can be as low as SGD 250 and along with it some additional charges and fees might apply. Ensure that you go through all the terms and conditions before you choose the card that you intend to. Keep paying the credit card bills on time and avoid late payments. This will only make situations better for you when you can go ahead and ask for an increase in your credit limit. Understand and analyse your current financial situation and go for a secured credit card if it help you in the long run. The low credit limits and the added fees and charges can prove to be worthy if they actually help you rebuild or build a good credit score.
- Prepaid Credit cards – These are technically not credit cards. However, these cards are used and also accepted like the credit cards. The best perk of this type of card is that there are no finance costs associated with them. The debt scenario can also be avoided with the use of the prepaid cards as all the purchases that are done using these cards are paid for already. These cards allow you the flexibility of choosing the amount that you want to transfer to the card for your expenditures. This not only reduces all the chances of you going into a huge debt, but also, it helps a lot in the budgeting process. Majority of the prepaid cards have no finance fees associated with them. However, some card might have charges that include start up fees, application charges, monthly fees, ATM charges, over limit fees, reload fees, etc. You should understand the terms and conditions for each of these prepaid cards before you decide on taking one for yourself.
Speciality Credit Cards
Speciality credit cards are those cards with are designed for the consumers to meet their unique requirements and needs. From business professionals to students, these cards are tailored in way so that it satisfies all the needs of the consumers. They come with innovative and flexible solutions that offer lucrative benefits and features.
- Business Credit Cards – These credit cards are designed for the business owners and other executives and have very similar features like different traditional cards which include cash back programmes, low introductory rates, airline rewards, etc. The additional benefits of these credit cards are designed for the business world. The several bonuses and perks that are available with these credit cards are expense management reports, higher limits for credit, additional cards for the employees, special business savings and rewards, etc. The business expense can be kept separately and none of your personal expenses are involved when you use these credit cards. All the credit cards are different from one another and promotional offers too keep changing from time to time. It is always advisable that you do a thorough research about the terms and conditions of the credit cards before you opt for the one that meets all your business demands.
- Student Credit Cards– Several college students actually need credit cards for different purposes. But they hardly have any credit history which makes it extremely difficult for them to be eligible for a credit card. These student credit cards are specially devised for the students so that they can work on a good credit score, starting from their college days itself. When compared to the other credit cards, the student credit cards are lower in rewards, benefits. Features, etc. However, they can prove to be an extremely valuable commodity. The students can use the card to pay their hostel fees, college fees, books and equipment costs, etc. These credit cards can also be used by the student for traveling purposes related to his course of study. It is a good chance for all the students to prove that they are financially responsible. Once they prove a point about their financial responsibility, it will be much easier for them to avail better credit cards and higher credit limits in the long run.