Tips on How to Use Online Credit Card Comparison Charts

Written by , August 1, 2012

Tips on How to Use Online Credit Card Comparison ChartsIf you search the Internet for information or articles comparing various credit card companies and their card offers, you’re sure to find a number of comparison charts. Charts are a great way to evaluate one credit card offer against another because most cards carry the same types of characteristics – interest rates, grace periods, annual fees and bonus or loyalty programs – so it’s easy to make a side-by-side comparison.

But finding the right card involves more research and consideration than simply looking at one of these charts and finding the “best” offer. Instead, you’ll need to use a somewhat critical eye when you look at each comparison chart.

Here is some credit card advice and tips on how to use credit card comparison charts.

  • Make Sure They’re Up to Date. It’s an unfortunate fact of the Internet that you can’t always be sure how up-to-date any particular article or document you find is. Even if the comparison chart you’re looking at is dated, it’s quite possible that the date was generated with a bit of computer code to make sure that it always displays one that’s recent.
  • Make Sure They’re Accurate. The information you find on a credit card comparison chart might not just be outdated, it could potentially be inaccurate. The charts are usually not prepared by the credit card companies themselves, so it’s difficult to be confident that whoever made the chart was using information that’s accurate.
  • Make Sure You’re Looking at What Matters. As you compare various credit card offers, make sure that the terms which make a particular card better than another are actually things that matter to you. But if you always pay your credit card bill in full each month, this might not have much value to you. Instead, you’d perhaps want to focus on cards with no annual fee and a good rewards or loyalty program. Make sure to look behind the rankings or conclusions of any comparison chart to find the best offer for you.
  • Make Sure You Are Eligible For the Stated Terms. Keep in mind that credit card companies don’t offer the same terms to every customer. Individuals who have a higher credit score will often receive a lower interest rate than individuals with lower credit score. If you aren’t eligible for the terms that are set forth in the chart, you’ll need to obtain terms relevant to you before you decide between credit card offers.
  • Be Skeptical. Finally, it’s worth noting that not every comparison chart was prepared for completely objective reasons. Some websites create these charts in order to insert affiliate links for earning money for themselves whenever someone clicks a link to sign up for a new card. Often these charts will tout cards that aren’t necessarily the best, but which provide the highest payouts to their affiliates.

Online credit card comparison charts can be useful sources of information provided that you verify the accuracy and timeliness of such information, and that it’s a good fit for your financial needs.

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