Choosing your credit card
Recently, Protégez-vous magazine has conducted a major survey – in which milesopedia was quoted in the introduction – to determine which cars were the most advantageous in order to enlighten its readers.
We agree: choosing your credit card is not easy. There’s no such thing as a perfect credit card . It doesn’t exist.
What’s the reason for that? Because every consumer is unique and has different needs:
- Income levels are different,
- The types of expenses vary from person to person,
- Everyone’s expectations about the rewards that credit cards should offer are not the same.
Some people want to be rewarded with travel points or miles: there’s a kind of “dream” behind every purchase. We think of the future trip we can afford thanks to our stop at the petrol station, or this packet of washing powder we bought.
Other people, perhaps more down to earth, prefer cash back. It’s “less sexy”, but we know exactly what to expect: a credit will be made to the account to dispose of our money as we see fit.
Others swear by “debit” cards. These offer none of the above advantages… except for a certain “peace of mind”: no fear of late payment, no risk of over-indebtedness… It’s a choice.
However, as I mention in my articles about credit score, credit cards are one way to build a credit score that will allow you to apply for a mortgage, for example. Using only the debit method will therefore not help your case.
The choice of credit card is therefore personal. Here are a few clues to help you figure out which one is right for you.
Your credit report
The better your credit score, the more interesting cards you will have access to and the more applications you will be able to make each year in order to take advantage of the welcome bonuses.
If you don’t yet have an established credit report, or if your score is not high enough, I suggest you consider cards with no annual fee. They may not necessarily give you a big advantage, but they will increase your score (as long as you always meet the deadlines).
If you are a student, you could also ask your parents, if they agree, for an “extra” card linked to their main card account. This will allow you to start building a credit score.
And remember, the longer you keep a card, the higher your score will be: history with a credit company is an important part of your score! If your card has no annual fee, it may be worth keeping it… just for that!
Your income level
Some issuers ask for- but do not require – a certain level of income in order to apply for their cards. It’s more of an “access filter”. After all, if you’re willing to pay the main fee and respect your commitments, any bank will be happy to welcome you…!
The American Express Platinum Card is without a doubt one of the most “high-end” cards you can find: full of benefits, excellent insurance coverage… and yet, the income level required is “only” $40,000.
Its little sister, the American Express Gold Rewards Card “only” requires a $20,000 annual income, while it also offers excellent benefits.
While other cards such as the Visa Infinite Privilege cards require a family income of $200,000…!
But let me remind you, income level is a kind of filter. Some people report having a higher income in order to get this or that card …and it can work.
Your “wealth” management
If you’re familiar with the rewards programs offered by different credit cards, you probably know thatit’s extremely important to respect the different deadlines for all your cards.
I currently have 15 active cards in my wallet. When I say 15 cards, I mean 15 balance due dates & 15 anniversary dates.
Certainly, once you earned the bonuses on the different cards, the balances are always $0 for 12 of them. But I need a calendar so I know when to cancel a card before the second year starts.
To help you manage your accounts, specialized software is available, including this one – free of charge – which is of great service to me: Mint.
The management of your assets (money, points & miles) is therefore an important factor in your choice of credit card . If you don’t feel up to it or just don’t feel like getting into trouble, stick with one – good – card!
Your reward wishes
The choice of your credit card will depend on your annual objectives: travel, savings, renovation, studies…
You will therefore have to set an objective for each year. If you are planning to travel in 2021, ask for a card with points and travel insurance! If you want to save money instead, ask for a card with cash back!
Your daily expenses
Your choice of card will also depend on your consumer profile: do you have a car, do you shop in a grocery store or market, do you regularly go to restaurants or movies?
Because cards are specially made for certain consumer profiles! The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card for example offers 4 times the points for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and movie theatres.
I suggest you look at the best credit cards according to your consumer profile:
- Credit cards for travellers
- Credit cards for students
- Credit cards for retirees
- Credit cards for Costco
- Credit cards for Business
- Credit cards for VIP Lounges
- Credit Cards with Cash Back
For more profiles, visit our best credit cards page.