Before signing up with any bank for a credit card offer, it is important that you check and compare its terms and conditions with other credit card offers and other banks. One credit card offer may be good for you, but another may not. So how do you actually narrow down your list of choices and find the right credit card for yourself? Here’s a list.

1.    Think about your primary purpose in getting a credit card. Is it so you can purchase items with low to zero interest? You can look into affinity cards and cash back cards. Is it so you can have emergency cash? Then you better choose cards with low interest rates so you won’t be burdened with extreme debt. Are you thinking of using it internationally for when you travel? You should look into overseas credit cards so you won’t be charged high fees for using the card in a different country.

2.    Do you want to earn rewards for using your credit card for purchases? Rewards are good only if you can really use them. Sometimes, the rewarded points are too small for you to actually make some use out of it. You should also look into how long the rewarded points are valid; else you would end up disappointed when you discover the points are expired.

3.    If you want to transfer your balance to a new credit card, carefully read through the new card’s balance transfer terms. The terms might state that balance transfer is allowed, but there may be some conditions to it, such as only the balance from recent transactions (e.g. six months) can be transferred. You also need to determine the exact initial interest rate and subsequent interest rate for balance transfers. Is it lower than your other card? How long would they allow you to pay for this transfer? How much time are you given before the initial interest rate for balance transfer changes? Although it may be a bit tough to compute, you should at least spare some time so you can determine if getting this new card is really worth it.

4.    A credit card with no annual fee isn’t always the most affordable. It may not have annual fees, but the interest rates can be so high it’s almost as if you have an annual fee, or sometimes higher. Also, you need to know how long this “no annual fee” period is. It might be just for the first year or so.

5.    There is no single perfect credit card for everyone. The best credit card is the one that is the most useful to you, based on your credit card activities. Therefore, though initially tiring, you need to read through the entire card features, benefits and terms. Find a balance between the pros and cons of each card before signing up for one. A balance between annual fees, interest rates, bonuses and benefits must all be dependent on your financial activity.

Signing up for a credit card must never be done in a hurry. Always keep these tips into mind when doing so.