Apply For A New Credit Card: Avoid These Cards

As you can see in the Instagram photo below that I took earlier today, I’m cleaning out my wallet — my goal is to reduce my plastic to one really good rewards credit card with a high limit, a debit card, and perhaps a backup debit card or second credit card for emergency purposes. Nothing else.

When you have too many credit cards, your personal finance picture becomes a cluttered mess, when what I’m after at this point is a minimalist, simple (although still prosperous) existence.

If you’re thinking about applying for a new credit card soon, check out my 5 tips below to make sure you score the best possible deal.

Did it come in the mail? I’m amazed by how many people respond to pre-approved credit card offers. I don’t respond to anything I get in the mail, except for bills. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, use Outlaw‘s deals comparison tool here to browse most of the major cash back and airline rewards offers. Impulsively responding to an offer in the mail helps the bank, not you. Take your time and find a card that fits your spending habits perfectly.

Is there an annual fee? Outlaw‘s readers have less and less tolerance for annual fees these days — and with good reason. There are so many great credit card promotions out there today which offer competitive cash back, or air miles, without a hefty annual fee. The ONLY time an annual fee makes sense, in my opinion, is if the value of the bonus clearly outweighs the fee. For example, if a card had a $25 annual fee but offered approximately $100 or $200 worth of air miles right out of the gate, I might apply for it. Similarly, if a card had an annual fee but offered 24/7 personal concierge service — and that were a service that I needed — I might consider it.

How is the bank’s online and mobile banking experience? This is more important than ever. An easy-to-use online/mobile experience makes it simple to pay your bill in time, review recent transactions, and perform other account actions such as requesting a credit line increase or contacting support about a suspicious transaction.

Does this credit card fit my lifestyle? You want to apply for a credit card that actually makes sense. For example, if you fly Delta almost exclusively, a Delta credit card might make sense — but not a Southwest card. If you live in a large city and rarely travel by car, a cash back credit card which offers its highest cash back rate on gas station purchases would not be your best bet, either.

Can I add an authorised user to this card account? This feature is particularly useful if you and your spouse or partner want to consolidate your spending onto one card account for record keeping purposes, or to accrue miles or points faster. If this is a feature you need, it’s best to consider this before applying, not after you have already received your card in the mail. Most offers these days allow an authorised user, and some even reward you with an additional one-time miles bonus when you do so.

— provided by Outlaw; see all of our favourite credit card promotions this week.

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