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Is it the Wrong Credit Card for You?

You may have had the same credit card for a long time and don’t want to take on the hassle of changing it. Or you may have received an offer without reading the fine print. Even if you suspect you may currently have a credit card that’s not right for you, there’s always an opportunity to switch to a card that supports your financial goals. If you’re wondering how to spot an inferior credit card offer, we’ve outlined some of the most common signs.

Woman holding her credit card and looking at her statement with an unhappy expression on her face

5 Signs It's an Inferior Credit Card Offer

1.  You Pay Excessive Fees.

The wrong credit card will cost you more money than it saves you. Before you sign on any dotted (or, more likely, digital) line, make sure you know what sort of fees you’re in for. Some cards will charge an annual fee, but their rewards or cash back will make up for any extra cost; others will charge excessive annual fees that you won’t recoup.
Beyond annual fees, some cards will charge you a foreign transaction fee when you use your credit card outside the United States. For frequent travelers, these fees can add up quickly. Many cards will also charge high fees when you exceed your credit limit or if you pay late. Bottom line, if you’re spending more on fees than you’re saving, reconsider the card.

2.  You’re Charged High Credit Card Interest Rates.

Ideally, you’ll pay off your balance monthly, so you won’t be charged credit card interest rates, but sometimes emergencies arise. You’ll see the term “APR” on a lot of advertisements for credit cards. This stands for “annual percentage rate,” and it is a cumulative yearly figure of the interest you’ll be charged on outstanding balances. For example, if you’re charged a 24% APR, you’ll pay 2% monthly, which is pretty high. Some inferior credit cards will charge even higher annual fees — so beware.

3.  Your Card Is Not Widely Accepted.

Credit cards can earn rewards and help you build your credit score, but one of the main features they offer is convenience. You should be able to use your card when you travel, on your favorite websites, or at local restaurants. If your card is only accepted in a few places, it’s not a good credit card for your lifestyle.

4.  Your Card Offers Minimal or No Fraud Protection.

With the prevalence of identity thieves, mobile payments and online scams, fraud protection has never been more important. If your credit card holds you responsible for unauthorized purchases — even if you took reasonable precautions — it’s likely the wrong credit card for you. Investigate what sort of safeguards are in place for your finances.

5.  It Comes with Rewards You Won’t Use.

If you’re not a habitual traveler, you likely won’t use accumulated airline miles or hotel points. Instead, maybe look for a card that provides cash back or discounts at stores you frequent. It’s wise to pick a credit card that offers rewards, but make sure the rewards are actually benefiting your finances or your lifestyle. You may want to reevaluate your choices after life events — maybe you traveled a lot before you had children or before you got a big promotion.
Now that you know the signs of an inferior credit card offer, you’ll recognize the signs of a good one. First National Bank and Trust can help you determine the right personal credit card for you. Answer a few questions about you and your goals, and we’ll provide suggestions. If you’d like to discuss your options in person, call us or come by your local branch of First National Bank and Trust. A helpful member of our team will be happy to advise you.