There are 100s of different credit card in market to chose from. According to data from FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel, there were ~450 million credit cards issued in USA in Q4-2016. There are people that still rely on cash and have no credit cards while there is someone who has gone to an extent to set a Guinness World Record for most credit cards (1,497 to be precise).

You first need to establish the reason you are applying for a new credit card, it can be one of the following:

  • Improve Credit Score (yes, applying for new cards can improve your score)
  • Establish Credit (New to Credit)
  • Financial need (need to transfer balances)
  • Earn points/miles/cashback
  • Something else

Improve Credit Score

The card choice totally depends how damaged your credit score is and the reasons for it. If your score is damaged due to:

  • tax-liens, bankruptcy or collections it may take a minimum of 7 years for these negative items to be removed
  • inquiries take 1-2 years to be removed.

However:

  • If a greater percentage of your total credit line is revolving (carrying over as balance), you can decrease that by getting approved for new credit cards.
  • If you have too few trade-lines, you can decrease them by getting a new card

Now on the contrary a new credit card means new inquiry on your report and it also means that it will decrease the average age of accounts, which in return can drive the score down. You can sign-up for Credit-Karma and use their score simulator to play around. Also, don’t sweat it too much because applying for new credit only accounts for about 10% of your FICO score, so the impact is relatively modest.


Establish Credit

If you are someone who is new to credit and does not have an established credit score you can take the following steps and select from the following products:

  • Apply for a secured card, they don’t require a credit score and report to all three bureaus (Check out latest offers)
  • Get a personal loan with someone else co-signing your loan (Check latest offers). Paying off a personal loan successfully can increase your score by about 35 points
  • Use services like Rental Kharma and RentTrack to get credit for the rent you pay. They take rent as a bill you are already paying on time and put it on your credit report.

Financial need

If you need a credit card for financial needs it can be due to:

  • Transferring balances from other cards/loans with hgh interest rate (Check out Balance Transfer Cards)
  • Buy something that you cannot afford at the moment but can pay later. Why not earn some rewards for this purchase too, check the next section of this post

Earn Rewards

You will need to ask yourself what kind of rewards you would like to accumulate and there are cards in each category:

  • Cashback – They give you rewards on every purchase that can be then redeemed as cash, statement credit or gift cards
  • Points – They give you points on each purchase which can be redeemed for goods, giftcards or transferred to partners
  • Travel – They give you perks for travelling and can be one of the following
    • Miles – You will accumulate miles at one of the affiliate airlines, which can then be redeemed for air-tickets or credits
    • No Foreign Transaction Fee – These cards offer to waive any foreign transaction fee for international travelers and have heavy returns on travel spend in general which can be redeemed for booking future trip
  • No Annual Fee/First Year free – These cards offer decent rewards without charging you any fee at-least for the first year.

You may want to browse through these categories and can also use our proprietary “Card or Not” tool to compare across categories before deciding on any one credit card to apply.  Check out the latest credit card offers here.

Something else

If none of the above looks like something you can relate to, please reach out to us and somebody will personally help you select a credit card for free. (Contact Us)
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