Receive A Credit Card Application In The Mail? You Can Find Better Ones Online

Interesting observation: over the past six months, I’ve started receiving a number of targeted mail offers for new credit cards.

Although it’s nice to see my mailbox filling up with glossy credit card applications again, as that means at least some banks still find my FICO score and heartbeat appealing, most of these offers have not been as good as ones you can find online with a bit of digging through your bank’s web site — or browsing through a card offers comparison portal like the one we publish each week at Outlaw.

In fact, one mailed offer was so bad a normal person would probably have thrown it in the trash, but since I’m a credit aficionado and a card reviewer, I was curious and applied. I was approved for the card, but to my horror the initial credit limit was only $500 — that’s an insult given my credit history and the size of my other lines. I swiftly called in and canceled the card (I would have kept the thing, but it had a $39 annual fee — the annual fee amounted to nearly 8% of my total credit limit, which seemed ridiculous…).

So here’s my suggestion: take the mailed offers you receive seriously, but before you apply, search around and see if the same exact card can be applied for with a beefed up online-only offer.

Impulse decisions help the banks, not you. Take your time when you’re on the hunt for a new credit card and the finance gods will award you with a longer introductory APR, and perhaps a first-year waiver on the annual fee (or no fee at all).

Also, if your credit line is super-low when you get approved, call in and ask them to raise it. If they are unwilling, consider doing what I did and cancel the card… unless it has no fee and there’s no conceivable downside to keeping it in your wallet as a “back-up.”

P.S. Check out Outlaw‘s newest posted card deals (as of 6/19) from American Express, Discover, HSBC, and other top issuers. No annual fee, and awesome rewards — click here to check them out.

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