Use the Web to Take Charge of Your Credit
We use credit to make many substantial business deals, such as buying a home or car, or obtaining a loan. Other times, we simply want to use a credit card to make our daily lives a little easier. Whether you want to learn how to select the right credit card, protect yourself from identity theft, or learn how your credit score affects the loans you receive, the Web can serve as your guide to understanding, establishing, and maintaining good credit. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here
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There are credit cards to suit a unique array of personal needs. Flight miles, cash-back rewards, discounts on certain purchases, and low interest rates are just some of the perks you'll find. There are several factors to consider when you're selecting a credit card, and some helpful Web sites can guide you in choosing the card that will be the best fit.
- Many credit card companies help you sort through the benefits of their various credit cards. Try to find a comparison feature on a lender's site that allows you to compare offers next to each other rather than going back and forth between pages.
- Many major banks offer credit cards, and you will find information about the available cards at the bank's Web site. Other organizations, such as the American Kennel Club and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, offer branded credit cards through major banks; your use of these cards benefits the organization financially. If you are a member of these organizations or others, you might want to check their Web sites to see if they offer such credit cards.
- If you have poor or no credit, you might still find a card to suit your needs. The Web sites of major credit card companies generally have sections dedicated to consumers who fall into this category.
For general advice about choosing a credit card ...
The Federal Reserve Board
provides a list of helpful considerations to review when you are preparing to apply for a credit card, along with basic credit terminology. This site also has recommendations for handling credit card billing errors and complaints against credit card companies.
Credit Card Sanity
has an article called "How to Use Credit Cards Sanely" that teaches you how to apply for credit cards, shop for the best interest rate, eliminate credit card debt, and more. This site is also updated with current credit card news.
To find the best interest rates ...
helps you find the best interest rates on credit cards and contains a "Basics" section that address topics such as finding the best reward cards, avoiding penalties, and finding the best credit cards for teenagers. Some specific questions about credit scores, credit accounts, and missed payments are also answered under "Q&A."
For help comparing credit cards ...
mentioned throughout this guide, compares credit cards by type and by issuer. And if you've ever wanted to know something more specific about credit cards, such as why they aren't accepted at all stores, read the credit card blog
Credit Card Menu
is another online credit card comparison tool. In addition to comparing U.S. cards, it also features cards from the United Kingdom. Click the "discuss" icon for quick access to message boards about credit and credit cards.
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