If you are looking for a credit card with better terms and conditions than the big banks, your local credit union may hold the perfect solution. Credit unions are smaller local financial institutions that have been increasing in popularity for many consumers looking for better services. Because credit unions are smaller than the larger, more competitive financial institutions, they are able to offer other alternatives and more flexible lending terms.
Credit union credit cards have overall been shown to have the following advantages over bigger credit card providers including:
- Lower interest rates for purchases
- Lower interest rates for cash advances
- Lowered fees for penalties
On average, credit union credit cards offer APRs of 9.99% compared to the larger card companies offering of 12.99%. Penalty APR for credit unions were found to be as low as 17.99% compared to the high 29.99% of other credit card providers.
There is one potential drawback when comparing credit cards from larger providers to those offered by credit unions. For those looking for incentives and reward programs, credit union credit cards may not be able to compete. Those who bank on airline rewards or other incentives offered through credit cards rewards programs will likely not be satisfied with a credit union’s card offerings.
But if the goals is to find a credit card that is more financially affordable than big company credit cards, your local credit union may be the idea starting place to look when first comparing credit card offers.
Comparison is Key
Ideally, before you select any credit card regardless of the provider, you need to comparison shop and know exactly what is available before making any decisions. The Internet offers many resources for sizing up different cards at a glance. You need to take into consideration several key factors before committing to a card.
These factors include:
- Membership/annual fees
- Grace period
- Rewards/Incentive programs
- Penalty fees
- Cash advance APR
- Promotion incentives/time periods
Credit cards should be selected based on the ‘fit’ for one’s normal spending habits. Cash back cards may be ideal for anyone but those who do not travel have no use for airline rewards. Find a card that makes sense for your life and forget about the promotional offers being flashed in your face.
Finding the right card is also good for your credit score. By using a credit card wisely, you’re credit score and overall financial profile will benefit. If you end up with a card that doesn’t suit you, you may need to sign up for yet another credit card that does. Too much credit on your profile can actually bring down your score and hurt your credit in the long run.