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Many people tend to keep credit accounts open with the same lender for years, and while this helps with credit history, it could be a choice that is costing you money. Closing a card that you have held for a long time could skew the average age of your credit. However, it might be time to break ranks and open a new card with another lender. Here’s how to know if it’s time to move on.
Check Your Interest Rate
If the card you have is original to your credit history, chances are your interest rate is quite high. If you are barely able to make the minimum payments on the account each month and never see the balance decrease, it could mean your interest rate has got you locked in over your head. A high balance and high-interest rate mean it is time to move on. Look for a lender that offers a balance transfer with a zero to minimal APR for the first year or so. Pay down the balance as much as possible in the time period to save money.
Check for Any Rewards
Most lenders attract new consumers through the reward or loyalty benefits associated with card usage. Some cards offer a cash-back bonus in certain spending areas, such as cash-back on gas purchases or dining experiences. Big spenders often get the biggest returns, often through cards labeled as platinum or preferred. These rewards are usually more generous than the average perk. If your credit card doesn’t offer any benefits or rewards, consider changing to a lender where the perks favor your lifestyle. Consider the value of cash-back for travel, groceries or other purchases.
Check the Annual Fee
Some of the preferred cards with great perks have higher-than-average annual fees. The bonus offerings for the cardholder might make the fee seem worth the expense, but if you don’t plan on using the card a lot or if you can’t afford the yearly fee or requirements, it is not the card for you. If your card has been charging you a fee that you aren’t getting any value out of, it could be time to find another lender.
Check Your Credit Applications
If you haven’t been looking at new credit cards or applied for any credit lines lately, you can afford to open a new inquiry. By doing a free credit score check, you can get a good idea of your creditworthiness and what kind of approval odds you have. Credit scores that fall between 800 to 850 are considered excellent, and very good scores on the FICO scoring model fall between 749 to 799. Along with income to support the additional credit line, lenders will are highly likely to extend competitive introductory offers to you.
Check Your Financial Future
Many of life’s large purchases are made using credit, and if you are planning to make a big purchase in the near future, you should consider the impact on your current credit card standing. Purchasing a new appliance on your current card with an 18% APR isn’t a good deal when compared to making the same purchase on a new card that is offering no interest for the first year on new purchases over $1,000. Comparing rates, fees, and perks among several cards before you apply for them will help you narrow down which company to fill out an application with.
Even if your current credit card company has met your expectations and there has never been an issue, it may be time to consider expanding your financial horizons. You may find that there are other lenders who are willing and able to better meet your needs and offer you more in return.