With more than 9.5 million credit cards in circulation, as on Dec 2015, as per statistics published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a population of about 5.399 million, it is no wonder that almost everyone you meet has a credit card or four in his/her wallet.
But, just because there are a plethora of choices and you have the ability to pay off credit card dues on all your cards, does it mean that the number of cards you have in your rainbow collection are suited for you? Anyway, here are a few tips for you on choosing the credit card that best fits your lifestyle.
Are you the credit card type?
You must understand that credit cards are not a tool for everyone. Especially if you are prone to impulsive shopping. Or, you are easily tempted to indulge in shopping “deals and offers”. Impulsive or uncontrolled shopping can easily blow holes in your budget / income. Hard as this may sound, if you fall in this category, you are better off keeping away from credit cards, at least, until you have your impulses under some control.
Know thyself – financially
To make smart use of your credit card, you will need to identify your spending patterns. Group your spending and identify your biggest spend categories. These could be groceries, fuel spends, medical care spends, public utility spends, fashion / dining / entertainment spends or other categories (like online shopping or air travel) depending upon your age, gender, lifestyle and needs. Analyzing your spends category-wise and identifying high-spend categories helps you to choose a credit card that gives you the most rewards for your highest spending categories. This enables you to maximize the rewards and benefits you earn.
Check out credit card categories
There are various categories of credit cards available in Singapore; category “specialization” is based either upon the type of rewards provided or upon the major category of spend. Some of the main categories are cashback cards, rewards cards, travel cards, petrol cards etc. Knowing the various credit card categories and the type of rewards and benefits associated with each category can help you better sync and choose a credit card that is fitted to your current needs.
Understand credit card jargon
Credit limit, cash advance fees, annual fees, reward points, revolving credit, minimum due, balance transfers, due date, billing cycle, Visa / MasterCard, supplementary cards, grace period, cashback cards, rewards cards, air miles cards etc are some of the terms you need to get familiar with. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to caps, restrictions, tiers and limits on spending, on rewards and due dates.
And, finally… shop around
Now that you know your category-wise spending and the various card categories that exist, it is time to select the card best fitted for you. Don’t assume that your current bank will have the best credit card for you; check the cards issued by different banks in your favoured category and choose the one that matches your requirements the closest while also providing the best rates. Promotions are a great time to get yourself a great credit card; just make sure that the benefits are permanent and not just limited to the promotional period and that the minimal spends required do not go beyond your budget.