Every consumer’s financial situation is unique, but when seeking out a new credit card, many may be faced with the same questions.
Many credit card offers are very generous these days, and it may leave consumers wondering whether they’re better off accepting a card that gives them a low ongoing interest rate, or one that carries a 0 percent interest rate for a certain number of months. But as always, because each person’s finances are different, there is no overarching answer as to what’s best.
[Free Resource: Check your credit for free before applying for a credit card]
So what’s right for you?
Choosing a credit card with a zero percent introductory interest rate is often a great idea if you have a large amount of debt on another account that you want to pay down. That’s because these cards will essentially allow you to pay down your existing debt -- after you pay a one-time balance transfer fee that’s usually around 3 percent of the total amount you owe -- without having it added to.
However, if your current outstanding balance isn’t large enough that you’ll have to put in a significant amount of work to reduce it, you might want to steer clear of these accounts, because they tend to have higher ongoing interest rates once the introductory period expires.
However, if you aspire to be, or currently are, the kind of credit card user who pays your balance off in full every month, this type of card might be helpful to you because the interest rate on it will matter very little or not at all going forward.
[Credit Cards: Research and compare low APR credit cards at Credit.com]
Meanwhile, credit cards with low ongoing APRs may be a good idea for you if you do not currently have a large amount of debt but do tend to carry some sort of balance over from one month to the next. That’s because it will help you to keep your balance lower than other types of credit cards might on a month-by-month basis.
Of course, you should also keep in mind that these types of offers, particularly the best ones, are typically only available to borrowers with good credit ratings, meaning that you might have to do a little work to build your score before you can qualify.
Credit.com provides readers with unique insight, helpful tips and straight answers about their financial world. Our team of reporters and experts explore credit, loans, debt, saving, and identity theft topics, all designed to help you make smarter financial decisions. Visit Credit.com to sign up for your FREE Credit Report Card and find out where you stand today!