Credit cards are designed to make financial transactions more convenient. While a credit card is not required to shop, it can make the checkout process a lot easier. When you want to go shopping, the first step is to choose an ideal credit card for your situation.

Finding the Right Offer

The first step to getting a credit card is to sort through different credit card offers. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions — in particular, compare the interest rates, late fees, and penalties. In addition, you might want to look at when the payments are due and what limits you may have.

See If You Pre-Qualify

Next, consider the different perks with each offer. Some credit cards offer cash back, mileage, or bonus points. If you plan to use your credit card for those types of benefits, then be sure to research the terms related to each one.

With some credit cards, your purchases may be backed by the issuer. If it turns out an item is defective or it arrives broken, your credit card may give you some financial recourse. Some cards will even double the length of the manufacturer’s warranty. This could help to prevent you from getting stuck with an item that doesn’t work the way it was intended or was not described properly. Make sure you check each card carefully to determine whether or not the protection offered by the card issuer fits your needs. 

Applying and Getting Accepted

The next step to credit card shopping is applying for the offers. The qualification requirements are usually based on your credit history and credit score.

Get your Credit Report

Don’t be fooled by offers claiming that you are “pre-qualified.” This just means that a credit card issuer has completed a soft credit check to determine whether or not you may be a good potential customer. It is not a guarantee that you’ll receive a specific interest rate, or even get approved for the card.

For some people, a secured card might be a wise choice. A secured card requires a cash deposit that becomes the credit limit for the card. There may be some fees involved which would lower your initial credit limit, so be sure to read the terms. You essentially set your own limit with the amount you deposit. You can still shop online or in person with a secured card just as you would with other types of credit cards. However, a secured card automatically limits your liability if the card is ever stolen or lost.

Apply for a New Credit Card