Finding the Right Credit Card for You

There are hundreds of them out there; all offering different rates, rewards and incentives. Which one is best for you?

We do our very best psychoanalysis of consumer buying behaviour to tell you which type of card best suits you (we’re no MDs but we sure as heck know credit cards!).

First, you need to consider how you plan to use your credit card. Will it be in your wallet for emergencies only? Do you plan to use it often and if so will you pay off the amount owing in full each month or carry over the debt? Maybe you have some existing debt that you need to pay off and you’re looking for the best card that will allow you to do that.

Our Credit Card Guide for Different Spending Habits

Emergencies Only

Look for a card with a low annual interest rate and no fees. If it's just going to be taking up space in your wallet you don't want to be paying a fee for it. Also, if something does happen and you need to charge a large amount you want to make sure the interest doesn’t mount up with a ridiculous high rate while you try to pay it off.

Plan to Spend and Pay it Off

If you can pay off your balance on time every month, then a card with a higher interest rate won't bother you. You want a card that will reward you for spending and then paying it off. Look for a card with rewards or points that offer you the best value.  The world`s your oyster when it comes to rewards these days.  You can get everything from travel points, to AirMiles to Cash Back.

Plan to Spend but Can't Pay It all Off

You need a card with a low annual interest rate and no fees. If you plan on spending a lot, look for one that also offers some kind of reward benefits. A cash back rewards card could be a good option - you could use the rewards to help pay off your outstanding balance.

Have Existing Debt That I Need to Get Under Control

Transfer your debt to a card that offers a low interest rate on balance transfers. You may even be able to find a card that will offer a specific sign-up bonus of 0% interest on balance transfers for the first few months. Just be sure to check how long the offer runs for and what the rate increases to when the offer is up.  If you think you can pay off the balance in the given time, then go for it.  If not, consider a line of credit to help get your debts under control.

I have Bad Credit

Simple – get a secured credit card.  This is a great way to help build credit your credit score.  Similar to a pre-payment card, you put down money on the credit card before you use it, then you can charge up to as much as you put down.

I’m All About Rewards Baby!

See ‘Plan to spend and pay it off’.  If you can’t pay off your balance every month but you still want to benefit from the purchases you’re making on your card, look for a card that has a combination of low interest and rewards.  Don’t expect the interest rate to be any lower than 9-11% and don’t expect the reward return to be that great either.  You can’t have everything in life!


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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