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Few people have hundreds of thousands sitting around in a bank account. Therefore, it’s important to access credit for a large purchase like a home. Additionally, even those who have money in a bank or investment account might need to use a credit card to take care of an emergency purchase while waiting to transfer funds into their checking account. This is why it’s important to build credit and choose the right credit card.

Check Your Credit Score

Banks will require a credit application before offering a credit card. This process will include a credit inquiry. Most cards will have credit score requirements. Therefore, you’ll want to know your credit score before you actually apply for a card. You can get this information once a year for free by contacting one of the major credit bureaus. If you’ve never utilized credit before, you may not have a score. This will likely limit the type of card you’ll be able to access. If you have a high score, you’ll have more options.

What Are Your Needs?

If you’re simply looking to build a credit profile, a student card or a secured credit card that acts like a checking account will likely be a good choice. If you have a solid credit history and a high credit score, you can start looking into cards that offer rewards like cash back or frequent flyer miles. On the other hand, you might already have some credit card debt that you’re looking to consolidate. If this is the case, you’ll want to check out balance transfer cards that provide an interest-free introductory period. 

Choose the Card That Pays the Most

After figuring out what type of card will best meet your needs, you can then take the step of researching which card will pay off the most. If you’re looking to take a honeymoon, a card that provides free nights at a resort or frequent flyer miles could pay off by helping you avoid some expenses. In this instance, you’ll want to choose a card that’s associated with a hotel chain or airline that’s available at your chosen destination. If you’re looking to consolidate your outstanding credit card debt, a lower balance transfer fee or a longer interest free period will be key. Regardless of your needs, a bank is likely to have a credit card that will meet them.

Christopher Jacob is a Registered Representative with Saxony Securities, Inc.. Securities offered through Saxony Securities Inc. (SSI). Member FINRA, SIPC. Non-security products and services or tax services are not offered through SSI. Cadeau is not affiliated with SSI.