How to Choose your Credit Card and Which Ones you Should Get

 
Guest post written by Sydney Hahn

Getting your first credit card is proof that you’re growing up. While a credit card can be a dangerous thing (I can buy stuff even if I don’t currently have the money?), they are extremely useful; and, in today’s society, practically essential.

Without good credit it is hard/impossible to make large purchases like buying a car, house, and sometimes even renting an apartment. Regardless of being able to make large purchases without cash, if you use a credit card right, you can actually end up saving some money.

The problem is… there are TONS of credit cards out there. It *feels* like every store asks you to sign up for their credit card.

So, before you start applying for multiple credit cards,  figure out what is most important to you, what you spend the most money on. At most, try to limit your amount of credit cards to 2-3. Keeping track of more than 3, especially if you’ve never had a credit card before, is hard. And, before you know it, your credit can go downhill FAST. There are perks to nearly any credit card you sign up for, so there’s a lot to tempt you. We’ve categorized the most popular kinds of credit cards to get, and the basic perks you receive with each card.

Travel

This is most millennials go-to category. Obviously, we like to travel, and credit cards that help us get to where we wanna go are going to be a BIG hit. One thing to keep in mind is that whatever airline’s credit card you choose, they are buying your loyalty. While that does mean perks for you, it also means that you’re going to limit yourself to one airline, overlooking possible deals & perks from other airlines.

  • Delta

    • Spend $500 in the first 3 months and earn 10,000 sky miles. Get 20% off every Delta flight, plus, earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend at a restaurant. The best part? No annual fees.

  • American Airlines

    • Spend $2,500 using your American Airlines credit card within the first 3 months of opening your credit card and get 50,000 sky miles. Earn 2 skymiles for every $1 spent on gas or restaurant. Other perks include: free checked bags, priority boarding, and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases. 

  • United 

    • A sign on bonus of 40,000 sky miles if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. You can earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at a restaurant and 1 mile for every $1 spent on everything else. Some other huge perks are 2 free United Club member passes per year and primary rental car insurance. You and one other person on your itinerary can get a free checked bag on your flight as well.

Cash back

What does cash back mean? Well, it basically feels like free money, and that makes them the bomb. Generally banks offer this option.

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited 

    • With this card, you get 1.5% cash back on any purchase. This is convenient because you don’t need to put all of your cards into different categories. You can also get a bonus of 3% cash back if you spend $20,000 in the first year of signing up… that’s $600!

  • Bank of America Premium Rewards

    • Receive 50,000 bonus points if you spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days of signing up. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and 1.5 points on every $1 spent after that. You can redeem your points for cash back, travel, or gift cards. There is a $75 annual fee.

  • Capitol One Quicksilver Cash Back Card

    • Earn a $150 sign on bonus after you spend $500 within the first 3 months. After that, get 1.5% cash back on any purchase. Best yet--this card comes with no annual fees!

Grocery

You’re already spending money on food, so why not lower the cost by getting a card with perks on groceries?

  • Target REDCard

    • No annual fees, 5% discount for in-store purchases, 10% discount for online purchases, free two day shipping.

  • Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express

    • Earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 (that’s $360 back!) and 1% back on everything after. You’ll also earn a $250 statement if you spend $1000 in the first 3 months after your account opens.

  • Capitol One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    • If you like eating out and grocery shopping, this may be the best card for you. You can earn 2% cash back on grocery stores, and 4% cash back when dining out. You can also get 1% cash back on any other purchases! The first year, there is no annual fee, but after that, there is a fee of $95.

Gas

Transportation can be some of our biggest costs, so having a credit card solely dedicated to helping pay for gas is usually a good way to go.

  • Bank of America

    • Get a $200 sign on bonus after making at least $1,000 of purchases in the first 90 days. Earn 3% cash back when you spend your money on gas, 2% back on groceries, and 1% back on any other purchases. 

  • Any gas card

    • If you only get gas from one gas station, using their credit card can be a simple perk. Most gas cards offer 1-3% cash back when you use their card. They may also offer 20% off your gas purchases. Pick out a few gas stations that you could stop at on your way home from work or school and compare their rewards, interest, and rates. 

  • Blue Cash from American Express

    • This card is kind of an all in one type card. There is a annual $95 fee, but if you use it right, you’ll more than make up for it. There is a $250 statement of credit if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Along with that, here are the cash back as follows: 6% back on streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transportation like rideshares, taxis, buses, parking, etc, 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% back at gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Whatever card you decide to get, there are a lot of different perks to each card. Figure out where you spend your money the most and what kind of perk is most enticing to you.

If you already have a credit card, tell us about it in the comments below!



 
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