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Can low interest credit cards trim your expenses?

Monday, August 06, 2012 at 1:26:58 PM

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These days eliminating unnecessary credit card costs is a no-brainer. But can a low APR credit card reduce your expenses?

But this type of card might not be for everyone. Each person has a unique financial and credit situation, and their own habits for both spending and repaying bills. To know if low/no interest offers will benefit you take a close look at where you stand before you fill out any credit card applications.

Where to start

When you want to determine the kind of credit card you should get, the first step you should always take is to make sure you know what you need, rather than simply applying for a credit card application online before you check do the math.

First, you should look at your financial situation, including where your credit stands. If you don't think you can afford to start borrowing, or believe your current credit score might restrict your access to some of the low interest credit cards you want, then you might want to wait a little while, or change your expectations for what kind of cards to consider.

Furthermore, you should also take the time to review several of your past credit card statements carefully. This will give you a better idea of how much you tend to carry as a balance from one month to the next, as well as how much you typically spend on the card. Once you know that, you will be in a better position to start your search for a new credit card off right.

When should you apply for a low interest card?

Again, credit cards that have low interest rates aren't useful to everyone, even if they sound like a good idea in theory. For instance, if you've generally been diligent about making sure your bills are paid on time and in full so that you do not carry a balance from one month to the next, that low interest rate likely won't be of much use to you.

You should also keep in mind that, as a means of making up revenues lost to lower interest rates, these cards also come with annual fees that can make borrowing more difficult to afford in some cases. This is particularly true for people who don't use their credit cards very often as a matter of practice, or only use them for emergency or large purchases. That means that the card is just racking up an annual fee for sitting in a drawer unused.

But if you do usually carry a balance from one month to the next, then low interest credit cards could be right for you. It will help to reduce the cost of borrowing given your specific habits, and therefore make this type of financing more affordable. Just be sure that fees and loss of rewards don't offset the anticipated savings.

Getting a card that works for you

When you're looking at credit card applications, the work you spend examining your past habits will pay dividends. It's the total package an not any single feature that will determine your best credit card deal.

That time spent looking at your finances will help you do the math and figure out how much each credit card offer will end up costing you in the long run. With this information in mind, you'll be able to make the most informed decision possible, and get the best credit card with a low interest rate available to you.


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