A credit card is a convenient method of payment that allows customers to pay for goods and services online and offline. Among the many benefits are bonus points, insurance plans, theft and price protection, and extended warranty and return policy. Customers can choose from a large selection of products, including no annual fee, low interest rate, airline, cashback, and business cards.
Bonus points for savvy customers
Rewards cards are intended for customers who have a very good or excellent credit score, pay their balance in full, and are looking for ways to earn money. Bonus points can be exchanged for gift certificates, hotel stays, groceries, office supplies, and more. Holders earn points when paying for drugstore and grocery purchases and restaurant dining. They can use the points for fashion and accessories, electronics, home entertainment, concerts, and a lot more. Eligible categories include office supplies, internet, and gas. Additional benefits are complimentary points and insurance covers such as baggage insurance, roadside assistance, and extended warranty. Moreover, cardholders can donate to their favorite charity, school, cause, or non-for-profit organization.
Airline cards for frequent travelers
There are similarities between rewards and airline credit cards, and one is that customers receive bonus points. However, the latter allow holders to earn points that can be exchanged for airline tickets and other travel-related perks. Airline cards are intended for frequent travelers, and many issuers offer complimentary bonus points to customers who spend a certain amount of money during the first 3 or 6 months. Airlines such as the WestJet, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific offer such cards. Airline cards offer plenty of benefits to frequent travelers, from concierge service to cruise privileges. Customers enjoy cash checking and car rental privileges. Some issuers also offer bonus points for charging a limousine to the credit card. Preferred seating and guaranteed hotel reservations are additional benefits.
Cash back for purchases
Cashback credit cards are intended for people who pay their balance in full each month. Instead of bonus points, customers earn cash back for purchases charged to the card. Some issuers even offer bonuses of $100 to attract new customers. To get the bonus, however, holders have to spend $500 or $1000 in purchases. Similar to bonus and airline cards, customers enjoy plenty of added benefits such as no annual fees, extended warranty, purchase protection insurance, and more, depending on the issuer. Some banks and finance companies have minimum income requirements.
Saving on gas
Gas credit cards are similar to other cards that offer rebates for purchases. The rebates can be redeemed at participating stations. Customers save per Litre depending on the issuer. Holders earn points for grocery, gas, and other purchases and can convert them to travel, merchandise, and cash. Many issuers feature no annual fees and perks such as signup bonuses, fraud protection guarantee, extended warranty, and others. The downside is that many banks require very good credit to qualify.
Saving on annual fees
While many gas cards come with no annual fees, some issuers offer products that are designed as no annual fee credit cards. Some banks also feature cash back and rewards points and low introductory interest rates. In addition, cards for authorized users and co-applicants are offered free-of-charge. Issuers feature purchase insurance and coverages for purchases and travel. Customers also benefit from emergency travel assistance, zero liability, and guaranteed hotel reservations. Many issuers also offer online banking services that allow holders to review and archive their statements, check their outstanding balance, receive and transfer funds, and pay bills online.
Some banks advertise cards with no penalty rates and late fees and bonus points. There is no limit or expiration date, and cardholders can use their bonus points at any time.
Low interest for people with good credit
Most of the cards above come with an interest rate in the range of 15 – 25 percent. Unlike them, low interest credit cards feature an APR of 5 to 12 percent and zero or low introductory interest rates. Customers enjoy added perks such as no annual fees, concierge service, signing bonuses, and no over-the-limit fee. Moreover, there are low interest cards with no balance transfer fees, which are ideal for borrowers who want to transfer their balances. Other benefits include 24/7 travel assistance and information on immunizations, visas, passports, and more. The interest rate offered to applicants depends on their credit score.
Another advantage of using a low interest card is lower minimum payments. Some issuers calculate the minimum by adding the finance charges to a percentage of the balance. In this case, a low minimum payment is the result of a low interest rate. In addition, many banks offer personal banking services such as 24/7 account access and instant cash access. To attract new customers, issuers also offer privileges and complimentary services, including dining privileges and concierge service.
Transferring high interest balances
Some low interest cards feature no balance transfer fees, but there are cards that are specifically designed for balance transfers. Borrowers with multiple, high interest credit cards benefit from this option. Issuers feature low introductory interest rates and zero percent on balance transfers during a period of up to 25 months. Applicants cannot transfer balances from cards that are issued by the same bank or company. Similar to cashback cards, some issuers have minimum income requirements. The length of the promotional offer and the annual percentage rate offered depend on the applicant’s credit score and other factors. These cards come with plenty of added benefits such as discounts from different retailers, no cash advance fees, online banking, and contactless payments. In addition, issuers offer overseas emergency assistance and mobile banking.
Benefits of instant approval cards
While applicants have to wait for weeks before issuers review their application, instant approval cards save time. In fact, you will learn whether you are approved on the same business day and in some cases – within 60 seconds. Some issuers also feature no annual fees, cash back, and zero introductory interest rates. These cards are a good option for people who are new to credit and need quick cash. Some banks require that applicants have a very good credit score while others offer cards to people with poor credit. Most issuers have minimum age and income requirements. Banks offer a wide array of additional benefits such as paperless statements, bonus points, gift vouchers, contactless payments, and many others.
Options for borrowers with poor credit
Many credit cards require a very good or excellent score to qualify. This means that borrowers with no or poor credit have limited access to loans and other forms of financing. One idea is to apply for a prepaid card, which is a great tool for borrowers who want to control their spending. These cards are reloadable, meaning that you have to load money and use the funds to make payments. There is an application fee, and holders can reload the card online or through bank transfer. Some innovative products make it possible to deposit money through checkout counters, to set up direct deposits, and more.
These cards are free to use, and holders can make contactless payments. No credit check is required. Note that there is a difference between prepaid and secured cards. The former are not linked to a bank account.
Another option for borrowers with fair and poor credit is to apply for a department store card. Unlike prepaid cards, they are not reloadable and often come with a high interest rate. At the same time, borrowers who pay the balance in full (make timely payments) can build or rebuild their credit. It is recommended to use no more that 1 – 2 cards because this makes budgeting easier. Borrowers should make timely payments to avoid high interest charges and late fees. While high interest rates are a major disadvantage, borrowers enjoy generous discounts. Moreover, having a department store card is beneficial in the event of emergency.
Secured cards are a third option for people who are looking for ways to establish or reestablish credit. Issuers require that applicants deposit money, and the limit is equal to or lower than the sum deposited. In essence, the money that cardholders deposit serves as collateral. The amount that applicants deposit varies from one issuer to another. It is usually between $300 and $500. Banks and finance companies offer secured cards, but union members may want to check with their union first. The reason is that the latter often waive annual fees and feature low interest rates. Banks usually charge an annual fee, and some lenders require that borrowers purchase an insurance policy. At the same time, a secured card is a good option for people who are rebuilding credit after a major event such as prolonged illness, loss of job, bankruptcy, or divorce.
Paying school related expenses
Student cards are different from secured and prepaid cards in that they target the student population instead of people with compromised credit. These cards go with many beneficial features such as low interest rates, no annual fees, cash back on purchases, and interactive tools that help customers to monitor their spending. Students can use the card to pay their bills, buy textbooks and school supplies, and pay medical bills. Some issuers offer a low introductory interest rate, which can be as low as 5.9 percent. In order to qualify, applicants should meet the lending criteria of the issuer and show proof that they are enrolled in an accredited trade school, university, or college. Other benefits that issuers feature include zero liability, free mobile banking, and identity theft protection. In most cases, a co-signer is not required.
Transactions in US funds
US dollar credit cards are different from other cards in that they allow payments in US dollars. This is a good option for people who often travel to the United States or shop online (make transactions in US dollars). Customers can:
- View their transactions;
- Pay their bills online;
- Check their outstanding balances;
- Receive funds;
- Transfer funds.
Like other credit cards, customers benefit from insurance plans such as purchase security, trip interruption, and travel accident insurance. Card issuers also offer personal banking services and free authorized user cards. Note that cash advances and purchases in other currencies are automatically converted to US dollars.
Benefits for business owners
Business credit cards are another category, offered to small and large companies. They allow customers to separate their business and personal expenses and come with many beneficial features. These include emergency cash disbursement, stolen and lost card reporting, and emergency and travel assistance, among others. Many business cards come with easy-to-use online finance management tools that allow holders to receive alerts, check for unauthorized use and unusual spending patterns, and track their spending. These tools enable business owners to view and track employee expenses and to receive reminders and payment notifications. Cardholders can check employee spending on gas, entertainment and meals, lodging, and travel. They can track expenses for merchandise, office supplies and materials, and business services. In addition, business owners can check whether employees make cash advances.
In addition to keeping track of business-related expenses, business cards offer other benefits such as better protection and higher spending limits. Cardholders can rest assured that their identity is protected. Issuers offer identity theft and travel accident coverage, which provide an added level of protection. Moreover, banks offer a variety of perks and added benefits such as bonus points, discounts on business supplies and in-flight purchases of movies, entertainment, beverages, and food. Emergency card replacement is offered by many issuers, but it is subject to cash availability and local regulations and laws. Some cards feature bonus miles and other perks. Note that the purchase and reloading of prepaid cards does not earn bonus points. The same is true for cash advances, balance transfers, interest charges, and fees.