How to choose the right personal credit card


This timeless advice can be applied to a lot of different things, but nothing beats a solid credit card. Yes, while all Madison credit unions offer credit cards that give members the opportunity to earn bonus points on things they buy, make emergency purchases, and treat themselves once in a while, they may also open the door to questionable financial charges.

But before we dive into which cards are best for which members, let’s get down to the basics. First, the interest rate on a credit card is essentially what you pay for the privilege of borrowing. Credit cards have fixed interest rates that stay the same or variable interest rates that fluctuate over time.

Second, credit cards have limits.

Your limit is the total amount your card issuer allows you to borrow. This amount depends on your credit history. As a general rule, you don’t want to flirt with your credit card limit because it will hurt your credit score. In other words, do not max out or exceed the allowed limit. Keep your balance low and pay on time to protect or improve your score.

The first step in deciding which credit card is best for you is to consider your spending habits. If you plan to pay your credit card bill monthly, you don’t have to worry too much about interest rates.

However, if you plan to carry a monthly balance on your credit card, you’ll want to choose a card with a lower interest rate. The Visa® Platinum Card may be a no-rewards, no-annual-fee, and low-interest card for you. It’s also a great card if you plan to use your credit card primarily for emergencies.

However, if you plan to use your credit card for most things, like groceries, gas, and other everyday expenses, you may be more interested in a credit card with a generous rewards program. Remember: You want to avoid paying extra for a rewards-based card.

DCCU Rewards Credit Cards

The Visa Signature® Bonus Rewards Card and the Visa Signature® Bonus Rewards PLUS Card offer a bonus percentage of all points earned each month with no annual fee. While you earn 1 point for every $1 you spend with both cards (which can be redeemed for cash back, travel, and gift cards at popular retailers), traditional rewards cards offer a 25% The Rewards PLUS card offers a bonus of points from 50% of the regular points earned each month. Point redemption starts at 2,500 for both cards, so you can get $25 back.

For members who want cash back on their purchases, the American Express® DCCU Cash Rewards Card is the answer. With this card, members get 3% back on gas, 2% back on grocery purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases, all with no annual fee.

Our newest rewards card, the American Express® Travel Rewards Card, is for members who travel frequently. With this rewards card, members earn 3 points per $1 on airline purchases, 2 points per $1 at hotels and restaurants, and $1 on all other purchases, 1 point. Plus, this annual fee rewards card allows members to save 10% when traveling within the 48 states.

DCCU credit cards for people with limited credit history

For our student members, we offer the College Rewards Visa® card. This rewards-based credit card helps struggling students pay their bills on time and make early financial decisions that help build a strong credit history. As an added benefit, cardholders can earn additional bonus points by enrolling in programs like automatic payments and paperless billing.

The Secure Visa® card is the ideal card for members just starting to build their credit history or looking to improve their established credit history. While the card has a $35 annual fee and a $300 minimum deposit, it allows you to balance while earning interest through a secure savings account. Improving your credit score with a secure Visa® card is as easy as signing up!

When you’re comparing and contrasting these different credit cards, be sure to read the fine print, which can be found here, so you know exactly why you’re applying. Once you apply for, receive and activate your credit card, you can start making smart and responsible purchases while building your credit.

Remember: use a credit card for your needs, not yours, avoid unnecessary charges and don’t skip payments. Because with great power comes great responsibility. Credit cards that offer great convenience are very powerful.

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