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Canadians Don't Put Enough Research into Choosing Credit Cards

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While Canadian credit card holders are happy to join rewards programs and consider it the most valuable feature of their card, many fail to do proper research before applying.

American Express Canada and Angus Reid recently surveyed 1,343 Canadian credit card users and found that 60 percent admit to initially applying for a credit card through their bank while only 15 percent say they researched their options.

Almost 7 in 10 say credit card reward programs are important yet 27 percent report that they don't understand the reward offers. Furthermore, 11 percent admit to being confused and overwhelmed by the choices available, different programs offered and affiliated cards available.

Brian Kelly, rewards expert and founder of ThePointsGuy.com adds: "It's incredibly important for Canadians to do a little research upfront to ensure they choose the credit card that actually fits their spending habits and lifestyle rather than a default card provided to the masses. There are other factors to also keep in mind when selecting a card such as flexibility on how points can be earned, redeemed, and transferred — all valuable considerations when it comes to making your spending work for you."

The survey indicates that 89 percent of Canadians carry at least one credit card in their wallet and just over half (52%) of credit card holders carry between two and three on a regular basis. Almost 60 percent have used their primary credit card for over seven years. That's a significant amount of time considering the limited thought consumers put into the card selection process.

Despite the lack of research, nearly 80 percent of  the Canadians  surveyed chose cash back as a preferred perk, while  two-thirds like redeeming points for products, and  57 percent ranked discounted travel as a preference. Three-quarters of the survey group cite worldwide customer service as an important factor in choosing a credit card and travel insurance coverage appeals to almost two-thirds.