Credit CardsWritten by Carly Simon-Gersuk
We have launched credit card applications! Before you head to our home page to fill out your application, let’s take a few minutes to discuss credit cards and how using it wisely will help you build credit, save money and enjoy various benefits!
To start, let’s break down the basics. Credit cards allow you access to a line of credit; everytime you pay for something with a credit card you are borrowing money that needs to be paid back. Your credit limit depends on factors such as your income, debts and other available credit you have on other cards. The options for paying back the credit monthly is by either paying the full amount or a minimum amount. Paying the full amount is the best option to avoid paying an interest rate. Interest rates are the percentage of principal charged by the lender for the use of its money. Interest rates and fees vary so make sure you know what rates apply to the card you use.
The rates associated with a card should influence your decision when getting a credit card. While banks offer credit card rewards programs, such as points and cash-back, credit unions’ reward is lower rates. These lower fees make it less expensive to carry a balance. The average bank interest rate for credit cards in the past six months was 17.25%, while credit unions averaged at 9.65% (1). This gap difference can save you hundreds annually if you have balances carrying over.
Lower rates is one the many benefits associated with getting a credit card through a credit union rather than a bank. Another benefit is customer service. Credit unions strive to provide excellent customer services and to support their customers. This means they can be more flexible in terms of payment and if you get rejected for a credit card they are more likely to reconsider than a bank. Credit unions want to help members maintain financial stability and will work with you to enhance your financial education and responsibilities.
According to the US Census Bureau, an estimated 253 million adults have a credit card (2). So what makes credit cards appealing? First off, while debit cards are simple to use since they do not involve accumulating debt, they do not help you establish a credit history. Building a credit will establish a payment history to help you borrow money in the future, especially at lower rates. A second reason to get a credit card is flexibility. As we have mentioned, it is best to pay off your balance in full every month, but with a credit card you also have the flexibility to pay things over time. While some months may be easier to pay off than others, it is helpful in cases such as with major purchases and emergencies to have the ability to access funds.
With good discipline, credit cards are a great financial tool. Check out what low interest rates you pre-qualify for today!
Written by Carly Simon-Gersuk