What to Look Out for in Low Interest Rate Credit Cards
When looking for low interest rate credit cards, there are many factors you need to take into consideration in order to ensure you are really getting a great deal. Many people do not realize that low interest credit cards may not really be as low as they think they are. In fact, these supposedly cheap credit cards may be costing you’re more than you think.
Finance Charge Calculations
So, you think you have found a great credit card with a low interest rate, right? Well, this might be true, but it may not be as cheap as you think it is. Be sure to read the fine print on the credit card and learn more about how the finance charges are calculated. The traditional method for determining finance charges is the Average Daily Balance method. This method best when it comes to saving you money. The Two Cycles Average Daily Balance method, however, can become quite costly if you carry a balance on your card from month to month. And, since you are looking for low interest credit cards, you most likely intend to carry a balance.
With the Two Cycles Average Daily Balance method, finance charges are determined two times during your billing cycle rather than just once. Therefore, you are actually accumulating finance charges twice in your billing cycle. So, while the APR may be low, your finance charges are not because you are paying twice.
Pay Attention to the Grace Period
The grace period is how long you have to pay back what you have borrowed from the credit card before finance charges start adding up. Therefore, the longer the grace period, the less finance charges you have to pay. When looking at low interest rate credit cards, be sure to find out how long your grace period is before you have to start paying. Twenty-day grace periods are the most common. So, if you find a credit card with a low interest rate that provides a grace period for this long, or longer, then you have probably found a good card. If the grace period is shorter than this, continue your search until you find one with an acceptable grace period. Obviously, a low interest rate doesn’t do you a lot of good if the finance charges begin piling up from the instant you make a purchase!
Consider Annual Fees
Some low interest rate credit cards have annual fees. This is the credit card company’s way of compensating for the low interest rate it provides. For the most part, paying annual fees to receive a low interest credit card is not worth it to the cardholder. Shop around some more and see if you can find some cheap credit cards with the same APR that does not include an annual fee. Chances are, you will be able to find one that doesn’t make you pay to be a cardholder.
If you cannot find a low interest credit card with the same low interest rate, then you might want to take a closer look at the card charging an annual fee. In this case, you will have to weigh the annual fee payment against your potential interest rate savings. If the annual fee and interest rates are both low enough, then it might be worth your while to apply for the card. Be sure to provide yourself with an honest assessment of your spending habits and how much money you will be able to send to the credit card each month to pay off your debt. The last thing you want to do is just give your money away to a credit card company in the form of an annual fee if it doesn’t ultimately benefit you financially.