New to Credit Cards - What to Consider When Applying For Your First Credit Card?


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Originally published at: https://mawazna.com/blog/new-to-credit-card/

While Pakistan is still a predominantly cash based society, the number of shops, restaurants and other services that accept credit cards is now growing quickly. The market share of electronic payment may be significantly behind that of many other countries internationally, and even in the region, but that is changing.

As well as the convenience of being able to pay for goods and services by credit card, particularly online, being a card holder helps you build up your credit rating, a financial stability and reliability score, which is an important factor to being approved for other forms of credit in the future, such as a mortgage, personal loan or consumer credit. Having a credit card is also particularly important for those who travel frequently, whether within Pakistan or abroad. It’s highly inconvenient to pay for flights or other modes of transport and hotels in cash and a credit card is also often vital in an emergency such as a missed or delayed flight.

So what are the things to pay close attention to when choosing between the best credit cards in 2019 if you are applying very first time? Here’s what we consider the most important factors to compare the offers, terms and conditions on this year. The credit cards that have the best average offers, terms and conditions across these categories can be considered the best offers on the Pakistan market in 2019. You can quickly and easily contrast and compare these qualities between the best credit cards via our credit card comparison service.

Balance Transfer Rate & Fee

A credit card’s balance transfer fee is the percentage of the value of the other loan, credit or outstanding credit card balance you’ll pay in interest if you transfer it over to your new card. This is usually, or at least often than the credit card’s standard APR, to encourage you to transfer any other outstanding debt to your new credit card provider so they’ll earn the interest.

There is also sometimes an additional fee charged for the initial balance transfer. So make sure you also check what this is as well as early repayment fees and contracted balance transfer charges that might apply to any debts whose balance you plan to transfer to your new card. You should also look at any fees your new credit card provider will apply if in the future you choose to transfer its balance for a better offer with another card.

Cashback Rewards

Cashback is a rewards structure whereby the credit card provider pays the card holder back a percentage of all goods and services paid for by the credit card. It’s provided as an incentive to use the card more regularly but can work to the benefit of credit card holders who pay off their balances regularly and quickly, avoiding significant interest payments. Different credit cards providers offer varying percentage offers in their cashback programmes, though some do not offer cashback at all.

Additional Reading: Applying for a Credit Card is no longer a Hassle

Other Rewards on Offer

rewards offered by credit cards come in a variety of different forms but are usually earned in ‘points’ based on how often the card is used and particularly the value of purchases. Reward points can usually be exchanged for gifts or bonuses such and merchandise, air miles or discounts from services. You should check not only what rewards are available but how many points are awarded for different kinds of spending, what rewards those points can be exchanged for and how many points are needed for what rewards.

Discounts on Offer on Various Retail Transactions

another form of reward or incentive, discounts might be available when paying for the goods or services of a company your credit card provider has established a partnership with. This could be anything from hotel chains to airlines or even a bookstore.

Travel Related Rewards & Discounts

Terms, conditions and perks when travelling abroadare important features to look for in a credit card if you travel abroad regularly for work or pleasure. You should look at number or distinct services and offers for a card you will travel abroad with regularly. Are there any additional charges applied when you use your credit card abroad compared to in Pakistan, whether paying by card or withdrawing cash at an ATM?

Also, what commission and exchange rates are applied when you pay for goods and services denominated in foreign currencies? You will get your bank’s rate not the spot rate so it is important to compare those with other credit card alternatives.

Does the card provider offer air miles or other travel related rewards and bonuses if you pay for travel tickets and accommodation with it?

‘Platinum’ or ‘Gold’

Platinum and Gold credit cards tend to offer better and a greater range of services and perks and standard credit cards. These can include a higher credit limit, lower interest rate, better exchange rates or no fees on foreign currency transactions, better payment protection, free or discounted insurance such as travel, personal possession or card fraud insurances and richer reward programmes. However, Platinum and Gold credit cards also typically come with higher fixed fees or some other conditions so it is important to consider if you will use the card enough, and the rewards or extra services, that the benefits will outweigh the additional costs. Similarly Silver credit cards are basic cards that offer lower credit limits and limited discounts or rewards on transaction etc.

Fees and Charges

Comparing fees, fixed and those that apply depending upon your payment patters, is of course very important when choosing a credit card. Ideally, the credit card will have no fixed fee, which means you pay a monthly or annual charge simply to have the card. Other typical charges to compare and contrast are those for withdrawing cash or using your card abroad.

And the most crucial fee of course, and single most important feature to compare when judging the relative qualities of the best credit cards available in Pakistan in 2019, is the APR rate you will be charged. This is the annual interest rate that will be applied, usually broken down to its monthly equivalent and charged each calendar month, applied to your outstanding credit balance. This might be fixed or vary depending upon your balance and there might also be a separate rate applied to cash withdrawals.

The APR charged for cash withdrawals is usually higher than that applied to goods and services paid for with the credit card. It is the latter that will be standardize and be given as the headline APR so make sure you read the small print for the cash APR.

You can compare a wide selection of the best credit cards available to Pakistani citizens and bank account holders by the features and criteria covered here on Mawanza.com’s credit card comparison service.

Mawanza.com champions Pakistani consumers and the country’s best consumer-facing financial services companies and products by providing a review and comparison service. You can quickly and easily compare and contrast the most important features to you for not only credit cards but also bank accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance products and investment products and services.