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When you see a great balance transfer credit card offer or introductory interest rate, your gut may tell you to open a new credit card immediately. However, before you decide to sign up, here are a few things that will help in making sure you’re getting the account that’s right for you:
Look at your current credit cards to see what you’re paying – if anything – in annual fees. If the credit card you’re considering has lower fees, it might be a good time to switch. However, it’s important to also consider what you’re getting for those fees. If the new card has lower fees but fewer benefits, it may not be worth making a move.
Rewards programs allow you to earn flight miles, discounted purchases, hotel stays, or even cash back simply by making purchases. These programs can be complicated, so take a look at how many dollars you’d have to spend on your card for each point you’d earn. Then, see how many points it takes to earn something simple, like a $50 gift card, $100 in cash back, or other rewards that suit your interests.
The payment terms and benefits of your credit card can change over time. The interest rate that you were eligible for when you first applied for your current credit card may no longer be the best rate you could qualify for. If you have a strong credit history with your current provider, consider calling them to see if they will lower your rate.
Keep in mind that opening and closing credit cards too frequently can impact your credit score. Each time you open a new credit card a creditor checks your credit report, which may affect your credit score. Therefore, ask yourself if a new credit account is really worth it before you decide to apply.
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