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What you should consider when filling out any credit card application

Saturday, July 07, 2012 at 12:02:49 AM

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If you're like many Americans, you've probably seen your finances improving steadily over the last year or more and are now in a position to start using a credit card to meet your everyday spending needs once again.

But if you haven't filled out a credit card application in some time, you might need a little bit of a reminder about the sort of thing you should be thinking about, both with respect to the card you want and the way it might affect your own finances. This will help you to determine exactly which offer you come across will give you

the best credit card for your unique financial situation


Where do you stand?

The most important thing to ascertain before you apply for a credit card is if you're in a position to start borrowing as you once did, or if you'll need to change your habits.

Take a look at your old credit card bills

. How much did you spend on the account in a given month? Do you regularly carry a balance? What did you regularly spend the most money on? Did you have an annual fee? All this information will help you determine exactly how much you generally paid for borrowing on a credit card, and how you spent that money. And that information will go a long way toward informing your future decisions.

What's on the application?

When reviewing a number of credit card offers, you should keep in mind what you learned in reviewing your own finances, and use that information to find the best offer for you.

For instance, if you regularly carried a balance, you might want a card with a low APR, so that you end up paying less over the course of a year in interest charges. However, you should also look out for the annual fees and other costs such a card can come with, because these can quickly reduce the value of a new account.

If you are not planning to do a credit card balance transfer though, it might be a better idea to get a rewards card, as this can help to

maximize the value you get from the new account


Of course, any time you're thinking about getting a new credit card, you should examine the impact such a decision will have on all aspects of your finances.

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