If your credit card no longer suits your needs, it may be time to apply for a new one.
To decide whether you've outgrown your current card, there are a few different things to consider. Below, CNBC Select walks you through the questions to ask yourself before pulling the trigger on a new card.
Because different credit cards offer different rewards based on the spending category, it's smart to consider where most of your money is actually going.
For instance, if you regularly dine out, you may want to consider getting the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 4% cash-back on dining. Or, if you are big on cooking, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns users 6% back on up to $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%). (See rates and fees.)
Some credit card issuers have tools that can help you decide if the card you're considering makes sense for your lifestyle. For example, the TD Cash Credit Card, which offers 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on dining, has a calculator that estimates how much you could earn annually based on your monthly spend on dining, groceries, travel, and other purchases.
The best way to get the most of your credit card is to pay your bill on time and in full each month. But if that's not possible, you don't want to be stuck paying a high interest rates on the money you owe. If you've got a card with a big balance and a steep interest rate, you might want to consider doing a balance transfer to a credit card with a 0% intro APR.
The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® card offers 0% interest for the first 18 months (then 16.49% to 24.49% variable APR) and the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 0% APR for the first 20 billing cycles (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR). (Read more about how balance transfer cards work.)
It's tempting to sign up for a card with a high annual fee because they often come with a lot of cool perks, like statement credits, access to upgrades and big welcome bonuses. But before you shell over money for a card, you want to make sure you can afford the fee and will use the card enough that it's worth the cost.
For instance, let's say you frequently travel and are looking at travel credit cards. These cards can have annual fees upwards of $450, but often provide numerous statement credits and perks that help offset the steep fee.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a $550 annual fee, but offers a $300 annual travel credit and access to over 1,000 lounges with Priority Pass Select membership (valued at approximately $429). Those perks effectively add up to over a $729 value and don't include a $60 credit for DoorDash (both in 2020 and 2021) and a credit for a Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application (every four years).
If you plan on taking on a large expense, such as a major appliance or cost of a medical procedure, it can be a good idea to put that charge on a card offering no interest on new purchases for six to 18 months. These cards allow you to pay off debt over time without incurring interest fees — just make sure you pay off your balance in full by the end of the intro period.
One option for financing a big purchase is the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card offers no interest for the first 15 months on new purchases (then 15.74% to 25.74% variable APR). Plus, you earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
If you apply for credit cards too frequently, card issuers may see this as a red flag and potential indicator that you may not be a responsible cardholder. However, if you want to shop around for the best credit card offers, consider pre-qualification forms.
Most card issuers offer pre-qualification, which allows you to check your qualification chances without hurting your credit score. Simply fill in some information and receive an answer to whether you may qualify, with no damage to your credit score. Just know, pre-qualification is not a guarantee of approval and when you submit a formal credit card application your credit will be pulled, which dings your score.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.