If you have not shopped for a credit card in some time, you may be surprised to learn that some things have changed.

Notably, credit card providers must disclose an agreement summary that highlights the details of the usual multi-page agreement, making it easier for consumers to figure out what they are getting. Also, billing statements are more informative and account changes are displayed in a box near the top of the document.

What has not changed is interest in having you as a customer. Indeed, if your credit is excellent, that company’s interest in you may be confirmed by multiple solicitations in your mail box. Even if your credit is not that good, there are credit card issuers that may still be interested in your business. And by “good” we mean a FICO score of at least 720 as noted by Jason Brown on CBN.com

Mailbox offers. The credit card deals online are often quite good, but do not discount the ones that come to your mailbox. Often, credit card providers serve up pre-approved offers and include balance transfer and 0% financing offers together. This means that the issuer did its homework and determined that your exemplary credit score is worthy of a special offer.

Balance transfers. No matter the rate that you are paying on your credit card now, a new card offering a balance transfer may be worth considering. Most balance transfers are for 0% interest and have initial special terms from six to up to 24 months. Yes, you will pay a balance transfer fee — usually 3 percent — but the savings in interest will greatly offset that fee. Consider this option if it will take you some time to pay down your debt.

Introductory rates. What scares off some borrowers are interest rates of 18 percent or higher. Rest assured, you can secure a low introductory rate and usually keep that rate or a slightly higher rate going forward. Tip: if your rate suddenly spikes, contact the credit card provider to have your rate reset lower. As long as you have been making your payments on time and have very good credit, a lower rate should be in the offing.

Avoid annual fees. Generally, you can avoid annual fees. Even so, an annual fee may not be as bad as it sounds especially if it comes with some perks. For instance, that credit card tied in with a hotel may charge a $45 annual fee. If it comes with a free night’s stay each year, then you come out ahead. Chris Mettler, of CompareCards.com notes that airline cards offer perks too such as free checked baggage and seat upgrades.

Rewards matter. Some of the best cards out there do not charge annual fees and also offer rewards. For instance, if you spend a $1 at most shops, you get a point or cash back. That means your $5,000 annual purchases with your credit card can yield 5,000 points, redeemable for an assortment of gifts. It might also yield $50 cash back, money that you can use to pay your bill or spend as you please.

Review your terms. Understand the credit card terms fully before signing up. Keep in mind that some terms, such as interest rates, won’t matter if you always pay your bill off each month. In this case you may find that the higher interest rate credit card has better perks, but you won’t be paying for them as you will be paying your balance off in full each month.

Credit Considerations

An important factor in finding the right credit card is your credit score. So, before you shop for a card, learn what your credit score is by visiting MyFico.com. The higher your score the more likely you will be approved for a loan and at favorable terms.

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