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The No Annual Fee Credit Card Advantage

If you're currently shopping around for credit cards you may be considering which one is the right one for you. With so many credit card offers to choose from it can be confusing and frustrating. Should you go with the low interest rate card, a cash reward or one that provides movie certificates and airline tickets?

The first place to start, when choosing a new credit card, is look at your spending history. If you are a conservative credit card spender and mainly use it for large purchases, occasional travel or a potential emergency you can be classified as a conservative credit card user. These are consumers that won't benefit from credit card rewards or other perks geared for those frequent credit card users if a steep annual fee goes along with the credit card. When a low interest rate and travel points don't entice you, a no annual fee credit card might be a good choice.

It's also important to factor in your finances and if you'll maintain a credit card balance should you charge that annual trip to the beach, make a large purchase or have any emergencies arise. Weighing the cost of utilizing a no annual fee card with a higher interest rate against a card with a lower interest rate but a $50 annual fee is smart financial planning. We all like to say we won't use our credit cards but if your budget is currently pretty tight you might be pulling out that Visa more often than you like to admit. If paying only the monthly minimum card each month is your short term future than honestly the interest rate should be the larger driver.

Once you identify your realistic spending trends and how much you'll be able to pay off each month you are in the right place to choose the credit card for you. But with any card you choose, look very closely at the annual fees, any application fees and late fees associated with payments that come after the due date. For interest rates look closely at the current interest rate and if that is introductory or fixed. Also read closely on what will trigger an interest rate increase. If you've decided that a reward card is a good fit, then consider how those reward points are earned and at what rate. Will that rate change in the future and do rewards expire over time.

Overall, no annual fee credit cards have an advantage over those with hefty charges but only when your spending is conservative and you are not interested in cash back or other rewards for frequent spending.

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