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Compare Credit Card Offers: A Checklist To Help You
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Compare Credit Card Offers: A Checklist To Help You

Choosing a credit card between several offers can be difficult, but by using this checklist, you can narrow down your choices. Print this out and fill in the answers to these questions. It will help you find the right credit card for your needs.

Name of credit card offer: ____________________________

1. What is the APR offered: is it a short term introductory rate, variable or fixed? The percentage rate is: ___________ and (choose one) is it a fixed, variable or an introductory 0% APR credit card?_________________ If the credit card states that it has a “fixed rate”, the credit card interest rate doesn’t change too often. A “variable rate” credit card interest rate can change; it is usually tied to the current prime rate or the Treasury index.

2. What is the APR for purchases? ___________ Usually there are several different rates for the types of activity on your credit card; purchases have a lower APR than cash advances or balance transfers.

3. What is the APR for cash advances? ______________ Be careful! APR’s for cash advances are usually higher than interest rates for purchases, and they usually carry additional fees.

4. What are the penalties for paying late? __________________________ Be sure to read this carefully! Most low introductory offers ratchet up to a higher rate if you are late paying ONE time!.

5. Does this credit card impose an annual fee? If so, what is it? ____________

6. How long is the grace period for purchases if you pay your balance off each month? _______________________ A typical grace period is from between 25 and 30 days.

7. How long is the grace period for cash advances?_______________________ A grace period is the number of days you have before triggering a finance charge. For example, your credit card company may state that you have 25 days from the statement date or billing cycle to pay your balance in full. The grace period usually only applies to new purchases. Most credit card companies do not extend grace periods for cash advances; these charges incur finance charges immediately.

8. How is the finance charge calculated, average or adjusted? ______________________This is the finance charge you are charged for your credit card balance. The average daily balance is usually calculated on your outstanding balance, excluding new purchases.

9. What are the minimum finance charges? _________________________ Some credit cards impose a minimum finance charge. You’ll be charged that minimum even if your finance charge is less. For example, your finance charge may be only 35 cents, but if the minimum charge is $1.00, you’ll be charged a $1.00).

10. What is the credit limit? ___________________ This is the maximum amount of your credit card account, including purchases and cash advances. If you go over this amount, you will be charged an “over the limit fee”, which can be substantial.

11. Is it a secured credit card or a regular card? ____________________ Sometimes referred to as the “bad credit credit card”, secured credit cards usually require a security deposit. The greater the security deposit, the higher the credit card limit. This can be a good opportunity for someone just starting out or anyone who is trying to rebuild credit.

12. Does this credit card offer incentives, rewards or rebates? _________________ Generally cards that offer rewards or rebates charge a higher interest rate.

Comparing credit card offers side by side can be very confusing. Use this handy checklist so that you can easily compare several credit card offers side by side and select the credit card that's best for you.

Hope this helps in selecting the credit card offer that is best for you!

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