Credit

What’s the best credit card for you?

There are many credit card options available, which means the right card is somewhere out there for you.

Key takeaways:

  • Do your homework and be strategic when choosing a credit card.
  • Before applying, check your credit, know what you need in a card, then take time to compare key card features.
  • The Alaska USA Visa® Credit Card has no annual fees*, low fixed rate interest, no balance transfer fee, as well as travel and retail reward options. 

 

A credit card comes with many benefits. It’s a convenient way to make purchases, protects you when shopping online, and can often be used to earn travel or cash rewards. Most importantly, when used responsibly, a credit card helps you build and improve your overall credit.

There are hundreds of types of credit cards out there, all with specific features in terms of fees, rates, rewards, and more. What’s the best credit card for you?


4 Steps to Choosing the Best Credit Card for You

Here is how to choose a credit card.

 

1. Check your credit

Make sure your credit is in good standing before you start. When you apply for a credit card, the company will check your credit through what’s called a ‘hard inquiry,’ which can temporarily lower your credit score. So, you want to make sure you are selective in the number of applications you submit since too many hard inquiries can hurt your chances of approval.

By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Request your free credit reports online, through AnnualCreditReport.com, or by calling 877-322-8228.

Note that your free annual credit reports do not contain a credit score. There are many types of credit scoring systems used by lenders; FICO and VantageScore are the most common. While your specific score may vary depending on which system is used, any score will give you a general idea of your creditworthiness. You can get your score through one of the three credit agencies.

2. Decide what you want from a credit card

The right credit card can help you do a lot of things:

 

Build credit

The best way to build credit is to use it responsibly. If you’re just starting out, consider getting a secured credit card (but make sure it’s one that reports your payments to the credit bureaus). Or get someone to co-sign for an unsecured credit card in your name.

 

Fix credit

Responsible use of the right credit card can help you fix bad credit. On-time payment history accounts for about one-third of most credit scores. To avoid missed or late payments, get a card that has online payment capabilities.

 

Save money on interest

If you have a balance on another card with a high annual percentage rate (APR), you can save money by moving that balance to a credit card with a lower APR. Then, use the money you save with the lower interest to pay off your debt faster. Just be sure to look for a credit card that does not charge a balance transfer fee.

 

Earn cash, travel, or retail rewards

Many cards allow you to earn rewards based on your spending. Some offer signup bonuses; others have annual fees for their rewards program. Take a hard look at how you’ll use the card to make sure the rewards program is best for you. For example, the Alaska USA Visa Credit Card lets you use the reward points you earn for travel and merchandise; you can even use your points when shopping at Walgreens and CVS, or when making online purchases using PayPal.

3. Compare key credit card features

Key features of most credit cards include:

 

  • Fees - These can include an annual fee, balance transfer fee, late fee, over-limit fee, cash advance fee, foreign transaction fee, or others.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - If you do not pay your credit card bill in full every month, interest will be charged on the card balance. The APR can be variable (which means it changes over time) or fixed. Many credit cards list different APRs for transactions such as making a purchase, getting a cash advance, or transferring a balance from another credit card. Credit cards may also offer a low introductory APR that changes after a certain amount of time.
  • Rewards and Perks - These can include sign-up bonuses, cashback rewards, and points that can be used to pay for things like airline tickets. Perks can also include travel insurance, waived baggage fees, no foreign transaction fees, extended warranties, purchase protection, and more.
  • Credit limit - This is the maximum amount you can charge to your credit card. Your credit score and payment history are important factors in how this number is determined. Over time, your credit card company may raise this if you make good credit decisions.
  • Minimum payment - While it’s always a good idea to pay off your entire balance, your credit card company will have a minimum required amount that must be paid each billing cycle to avoid late fees and other penalties.

 

Here's an example table comparing some of the key features of the Alaska USA Visa Credit Card with those of other popular credit cards:

 

Credit Card Annual Fee APR (as of 6/8/22)

Alaska USA Visa Credit Card

$0 with Alaska USA checking account

10.5%, 12.5%, or 14.5% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances, based on your creditworthiness

Fixed APR

Terms and Conditions

Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card

$75

16.74%-24.74% for purchases and balance transfers, based on your creditworthiness

Variable APR

Terms and Conditions

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

$0 with paid Costco membership

15.99% for purchases and balance transfers, subject to credit approval

Variable APR

Terms and Conditions

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

$95

16.74%-23.74% for purchases and balance transfers, based on your creditworthiness

Variable APR

Terms and Conditions

Quicksilver from CapitalOne

$0

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

15.24%-24.24% standard APR, based on creditworthiness

Variable APR

Terms and Conditions

 

4. Apply for the card that best meets your needs

The fastest way to do this is to apply online. You’ll need key information such as your address, income and employment, and personal information.

Young couple taking a selfie on vacation

Start earning rewards

There are many credit card options available, which means the right card is somewhere out there for you. We think the Alaska USA Visa Credit Card has something for everyone. With a low, fixed rate, no annual fee*, travel and retail rewards, and secured and unsecured options available—there’s little you can’t accomplish.

*Annual fee of $50 waived for Alaska USA checking account holders. Cash advance fees up to 2% of the cash advance amount ($10 maximum), late payment (up to $35), and returned payment (up to $20) fees apply.

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