Every financial advisor will tell their clients to periodically re-evaluate their investments. Over time, the market will change, as will the needs of the individual investor. Credit cards are little different. The financial industry continues to introduce new products with innovative features and benefits. At the same time, cardholder’s personal finances will evolve to the extent that new products are necessary to fully conform to their changing needs. Here are the benefits of reviewing your credit cards at regular intervals:
1. Find the best rates. Like rates of return on mutual funds or savings accounts, the rates offered by credit cards will change over time. For example, credit card interest rates can rise and fall depending on not just the Prime Rate, but the overall condition of the economy and the banking industry. Likewise, cardholder’s own personal credit score will vary over time. As credit scores improve, cardholders can qualify for new cards with lower rates.
2. Find the lowest fees. Like interest rates, new cards come on the market with lower fees. If a cardholder continues to use a card with an annual fee, a foreign transaction fee, or other ancillary charges, that person will benefit from a review of current cards that may meet his or her needs without these fees.
3. Earn the best benefits. Banks are competing with each other to offer credit cards with the most compelling features and benefits. New credit cards may offer more points or miles than previous offerings. In addition, many credit cards have increased the portfolio of perks being offered to their users. For example, many airline affiliated reward cards now feature priority boarding, checked bag fee waivers, and discounts on in-flight purchases.
4. Receive a sign up bonus. By receiving a new card, customers can earn extremely valuable sign up bonuses. These bonuses, sometimes worth well over $500 in points or miles, can add significantly to the amount of awards received each year.
5. Take advantage of a promotional financing offer. Another distinct advantage of receiving a new card is the opportunity to utilize 0% APR introductory offers. These offers can last 15-18 months or even longer, and can relieve the cardholder of interest payments on both balance transfers and new purchases.
By constantly surveying the market for new credit cards, and evaluating the accounts currently open, cardholders can maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of using these important financial products.