How To Choose The Perfect Credit Card?

How to choose the best credit card

Choosing the perfect credit card is highly crucial as it’s one of the key factors that’d determine your monthly savings. However, this could be tricky sometimes. More often, we fall prey to some zero joining fee credit card offer and end up picking a card we absolutely do not need.  Before choosing a credit card one must remember that every card is personalised for someone. In this post, I’m not going to list down the top credit cards but rather try to teach you, how to choose the best credit card for yourself. I’ll be mainly elaborating on the factors one should consider while picking the right card.

HOW  TO CHOOSE THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR YOU?

 

STEP 1: Identify which category (from amongst shopping, utility bill payments, travel, entertainment) are your max spends from in a month.

STEP 2: Shortlist cards (that lie within your income eligibility range) that let you earn/redeem rewards/miles from that respective spend category.

STEP 3: Do a comparative analysis of direct savings on all the shortlisted cards.

STEP 4: You have your winner. Now all you’ve got to do is APPLY!

Things To Consider For Choosing The Perfect Credit Card:

Choice of card:

Firstly, figure out which of your spends form the majority of your monthly expenses. This is extremely essential as it not only earns you accelerated rewards on your major spends but also redeem them for freebies. For instance, if your fuel expenses are high go for a petro-linked card, if you’re a frequent flyer go for a co-branded airline card. However, there are also some cards on the market that offer miles/rewards/cashbacks on ALL kind of spends. My personal favourite is the CITIBANK Premier Miles Credit Card. I’ll elaborate more on these in my next post titled ‘My Favourite Credit Cards!’
 

Evaluating the Fees:

Most lucrative credit cards have a hefty joining fee. However, there is a very simple way of evaluating if it’s worth it or not. When credit card companies charge you a joining fee they also give something called a ‘joining bonus’ in the form of frequent flyer miles or reward points. In most cases, these rewards can be easily valued in monetary terms. Typically, every mile could be equated to 0.50p. So the trick is: to check for is if the said card is offering you the equivalent of the joining fees or less or more.
Also, keep an eye out for those renewal charges. Sometimes, you may be surprised to find them to be even double that of joining fees.
 

Spends to Rewards Ratio:

Check the mileage you’ll gain on every 100 bucks spent on the card. So you’ll know, monetarily speaking how much % savings you’d make on your general spends, airline spends, fuel spends etc. This will give you a fair estimate of exactly how much you’d end up saving annually based on your spends.
 

Cost to Savings Ratio:

While analysing any card one of the most important things to look out for is the direct saving on joining and annual spends against the fees and charges you’ve to pay.
I’ve done a sample study of the Amex Gold Credit Card here for reference:
 
Joining Fees: 1000/-
Benefits: Along with the joining bonus, on doing 4 transactions of 1000/- each month you accumulate enough reward points to get you a statement credit of 7,500/-
Total Expenses: 1000 X 4 X 12 = 48,000
Net savings: 7,500 – 1000 (joining fees) = 6500/-
Thus, % Savings: 13.5%, which is not bad at all!
 

Credit Card Issuing Company:

  • As you may be already aware there are various credit card providers such as AMEX, Mastercard, VISA, etc. Depending on where you do a majority of your transactions, you could go for either of these. If you’re a globetrotter you’re probably looking for a Mastercard or AMEX. If you travel to tier II cities in India you should go for a VISA as their domestic coverage is a lot wider.
  • While choosing the credit card company, make sure to quickly look-up if they offer complimentary airport lounge visits at cities you frequently travel to. Most of them do and I must say they’re every bit worth reaching the airport early for.
  • CC companies also offer their own exclusively curated dining, travel, entertainment, retail offers (these aren’t usually bank specific). Maybe, you’d wanna look up which of these three CC companies offer discounts in the eateries around the corner, or at the cinema hall closest to your place.

Special Offers:

Over and above the credit card company offers, the bank has its own set of offers.

Look out for offers that you think you’d definitely use on a regular basis. These can be offers related to movie tickets, groceries, online shopping sites.

 

For example, ICICI Coral (and above) credit cards offer Buy 1 Get 1 on Bookmyshow for 2 tickets worth 250/- in a month. That’s a straight saving of 6000 bucks in a year as I’m sure we hit the theatres at least once a month.

 

Another example, ICICI has its own culinary program where they offer up to 20% discount in about 2,500 restaurants across the country.
 
After considering all these factors, run a quick eligibility check on the bank/CC site
 
DISCLAIMER: I’ve not taken into account factors such as interest rate, time-limit etc assuming timely bill payments.
Hope that helped 🙂 Looking forward to reading your feedback in the comments section 🙂

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