The average American mailbox gets sales pitches from credit card companies at about two a day. With this overload of information, choosing the best product that fits your needs can get pretty overwhelming. The sheer number of brochures and application forms not only make it inconvenient to make an intelligent choice, but also adds to unnecessary clutter.
This is where the advantages of applying online for a credit card comes in. It’s easier to make head-to-head comparisons, because of the relative simplicity you can retrieve the latest information about your prospect credit card product. And once you’ve made your choice, it’s just a matter of pounding at your keyboard and clicking those checkboxes. No manual, long-hand writing each letter of your name in those annoying boxes. What a great, great consumerist world we live in.
So, what to remember when hunting for a good deal on a credit card online? Here are a few tips:
1. Know thyself.
What do you need the card for? Is this your first time to get one? Where would you most likely use it? All these are basic questions, and ones that cannot be stressed enough. You don’t want to end up like more than half of Americans who end up buying things they’re not sure they need with money they’re not sure they have.
2. Be internet-savvy.
There are a few websites that facilitate a simple side-by-side comparison of different credit card products, but usually it’s a marketing tool of only one credit card company. If you’re interested in comparing products from one company to another, you’ll still have to go to each company’s website. This still beats having to deal with all that paper, though.
3. Read the fine print.
This is as good a time as any to do your homework. Often times when we read from a brochure the company sent us, they conveniently leave off a lot of vital information about the product. Calling their helpdesk may help, but that’s just another hassle. And anyway, if you still have specific questions, there’s usually an email link you can use to field them.
4. Make sure you’re secure. This is a sophisticated techno-world we live in. If you have to, invest in security software that will protect you and how you surf the internet. This also applies to when you’re already going through the application process itself.
The credit card industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Competition for market share has kept up with the times, and that means using the internet to lure more clients. You as a consumer can use this tool to your advantage, and it won’t be that easy. But it will certainly be worth it, if you get the hang of it. Just remember your goals why you’re getting that plastic money in the first place, and try to do your homework.