Sunday, October 19, 2008

Test Your Credit Card IQ

Just about everyone over the age of 18 has a credit card in this country, but not everyone is aware of all the in's and out's of how to get the best deal or how things work. It's what you might call credit card IQ, the awareness of everything that's out in the marketplace and an understanding of the mechanics of how the credit process actually functions.

Most folks develop some degree of credit card smarts from the school of hard knocks, unfortunately. They have applied for, used and subsequently cut up bad credit card deals that involved ruinous interest rates, punitive late fees and skimpy rewards. It's a painful way many people learn, through trial and error, the ugly dark side of many credit card offers.

But, there is a better way to develop a solid credit card knowledge base. Now that the Internet is at everyone's finger tips, doing a bit of instant research only takes a few minutes. That's if you know where to look. And, if you want the real scoop on the subject, employs a staff of seasoned credit card experts that has already developed a huge educational reference library covering virtually every conceivable topic related to credit cards.

To gauge your own credit card IQ, try pondering some of the questions below:

  • What is your current APR?
  • For that matter, what does APR stand for?
  • What is a grace period, and how long does it typically last?
  • What are the major credit card types?
  • How do credit card rewards work?
  • What are some examples of credit card rewards?
  • How much does it cost the average merchant when you use a credit card to pay?
  • How many credit cards does the typical American carry?
  • What is the average credit card debt per U.S. household?

If you are able to answer most of these questions, you should consider yourself gifted in the card smarts department. If you could only answer a few, don't feel bad because most people can't. A little continuing education could move you to the top of the class. But, if you don't have a clue about any of them, you should try to bone up on your studies. That probably indicates you are paying too much in interest and not earning any rewards with your credit card.

By developing your knowledge of credit card terms, background and options, you can easily find the card offer that represents the best deal for your stage of life and financial lifestyle. That way, you can have your cake and eat it too.

No comments: