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How to Compare Credit Card Offers

Credit card offers are everywhere. Choosing the right credit card, understanding its terms, and using it wisely can affect your finances in a major way. In choosing the card that’s right for you, consider fees, be aware of the rates and examine the fine print.


High fees?

Some cards charge no annual fees (Tower Mastercard® is one), while others charge up to $50 or $60 per year. An ideal card to choose would be one with no annual, monthly, or transaction fees. There are also fees that companies charge for late payments, being over the limit, and paying by telephone.


High interest rate?

If you carry over balances every month and are likely to pay finance charges, then you want a card that offers a low, fixed annual percentage rate, or APR. Rates can vary by over 10 percentage points and be as high as 30 percent. Beware of cards that only keep your rate low if you agree to make minimum monthly purchases. Tower’s low everyday rate is 10.9% for all purchases, cash advances.


Fine print?

Read the card agreement carefully. When opening a new card with a balance transfer offer, only your transfer amount may be calculated at a low introductory APR, while purchases and cash advances carry the normal, non-promotional rate. Review the company’s policy on late payments and midday cut-off times, too. If the company receives your payment on the due date, you should know whether paying after the due time will cost you.


Rewards and rebates?

Does the credit card in question offer you free gas, airline miles or free groceries? These things sound nice, but will you be required to make regular card purchases? Will you use the rewards you receive, or will you lose the incentives after a period of time if you don’t redeem them? And if the card offers you a purchase rebate, does the company make you wait until the end of the year to receive your rebate check? With a Tower Gold Mastercard, your cash-back rebates are credited monthly to your statement.


Not a member of Tower Federal Credit Union yet? See if you are eligible to join!

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