Finder’s free service makes it easy to compare credit cards. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate your choices and understand the features and fees that come with this convenient source of credit.
Credit cards are a form of unsecured credit that allows you to borrow money from a credit provider without having to pay it straight away. You’ll have a minimum of 21 days to repay the balance before you’ll start to incur interest – with some cards offering up to 55 days interest-free. Credit cards are different from debit cards which are tied to actual money in a savings account. While banks are the first place most people will go for a credit card, there are many credit unions, stores, supermarkets, airlines and stand-alone credit card companies that issue credit cards too.
A wide range of credit cards exist on the market, including cash back, balance transfer, rewards, travel, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, student, business and many others. The right credit card for you will often depend on your lifestyle and your financial goals. There are also prepaid cards on the market.
Think about what you will use your credit card for, how often you plan to use it and which rewards and perks are of interest to you. Consider balance transfer offers, interest rates, annual fees and rewards when you compare credit cards. Compare different types of credit cards to find the one that suits your needs best.
There are hundreds of credit cards on the market. Once you’ve narrowed down your options to the type of credit card you’re interested in, compare eligibility requirements and other features like interest rates, annual fees and rewards programs.
Once you’ve picked a card, apply online and follow the steps to complete the application. You’ll need to provide personal details including your contact details, income and your Social Insurance Number. Many credit cards offer near instant approval – which means you could know within 60 seconds or less whether you’ve been approved for the card or not.
Once you’ve been approved for your new credit card, you should receive it in the mail within 7-14 days. Clear instructions will state whether you need to call to activate your card or whether you can login to your online banking.
Move your high interest debts to a low or 0% interest balance transfer credit card and pay off your debts faster.
Whether it’s a promotional offer or for the life of the card, save on yearly credit card costs with a no annual fee credit card.
Earn rewards points as you spend and maximize the prizes and perks you can redeem with a rewards credit card.
Compare travel rewards credit cards to earn points on everyday purchases to redeem for your next vacation with your favourite airlines.
Manage your student expenses and establish your credit history by comparing a range of student credit cards.
Keep track of your business expenses, earn reward points and manage employee spending under one account.
To help you find the right card for you, there are a few factors to consider when you compare credit cards and your various options.
To apply for a credit card, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. Just like with any other loan application, there’s no guarantee that the application will be approved. While eligibility criteria can vary between specific credit cards, it usually includes the following:
To get the most out of the process when you compare credit cards and ultimately choose the right one for you, it is important to understand the different features that are included within credit card deals.
Your credit limit is the maximum amount you can spend on your credit card at any one time. Your limit is calculated by the card provider and will depend on various factors including your credit score and your annual income.
What happens when you go over your limit will vary depending on your card issuer, but at a minimum, you’ll usually be charged an additional fee and your credit score will be affected. Other penalties might include increased interest rates, reduced credit limit and freezing your credit card until your balance is back within the maximum amount allowed.
Many credit cards charge an annual fee, however some providers might waive the fee for 12 months as part of a signup deal.
A balance transfer fee is levied when you transfer your balance from one credit card to a new one and is a percentage of the transfer amount. This rate is usually between 1% and 3%, but can be as low as 0% on some cards.
Additional fees are also levied when you withdraw cash from an ATM, exceed your credit limit and use your credit card overseas.
The interest charge on a credit card will be shown as the APR. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is the amount you’ll pay to the card issuer on top of the money you borrow. The APR includes the interest rate as well as any fees and is averaged out over 12 months.
You’ll only pay interest if you don’t pay off your balance in full before the end of the interest-free grace period.
Credit Cards often carry an interest-free grace period during which no interest will be charged on an outstanding balance. It can also be seen as the period from when the billing cycle closes to when the outstanding amount is due on that bill. The period varies greatly between card issuers and can be anything from 21 days to 55 days.
You’ll benefit from grace periods if you pay your balance off in full every month as it’s only applicable on new purchases and, in most cases, not available on cash advances or balance transfers.
Credit cards are secured by a CHIP and PIN system for physical payments and by a 3 digit security code for online payments. If a fraudulent transaction does occur, your bank or credit provider has to refund you unless they have an adequate reason for refusing such a refund.
You can also get protection for any purchases you make up to 90 days usually with purchase protection.
Rewards credit cards are a good way of getting compensated for making purchases with your credit card. The type of rewards will vary but may include cash back, miles and rewards