My finances, my projects, my life
November 30, 2021

How to choose credit cards

  Compiled by myLIFE team me&myFAMILY June 28, 2017 7103

Are you a regular online shopper? Do you travel a lot? Do you often make impulse purchases even though you aren’t getting paid for another week? You definitely need a credit card! Here are some things to bear in mind that will help you to choose the right credit card for you.

Why would you want a credit card?

There are three main reasons for using credit cards:

  • They are accepted almost everywhere, whether you’re paying for your shopping at the local supermarket, shopping online or settling the bill in a little seaside restaurant when you’re on holiday.
  • They mean you can defer paying off your spending in full until the end of the month, interest-free, and keep you going until pay day.
  • Some cards offer purchase protection or additional cover. Depending on which card you use and who you bank with, you may be eligible for discounts at some shops or companies, or for a savings scheme.

Things to bear in mind

  • The cost. Your credit card incurs purchase and usage charges (when you make cash withdrawals, for example). Depending on how you use your card, especially on holiday abroad, these usage charges can be very high.
  • Your credit limit. Your credit card will always have a spending limit. This will vary depending on your income and your bank, among other factors. Normally you can change your credit limit online and request a temporary increase, such as before going on holiday.
  • Repayments in instalments. Depending on the bank, you can choose to settle the total amount of your spending in instalments rather than having it debited in full at the beginning of the next month. This option incurs additional costs, of course, so check what these are.
  • The terms applicable to any included insurance, assistance and benefits.

Your credit cards often include hidden service benefits that offer peace of mind, especially when you are on holiday.

Find out about the insurance and assistance included

Many credit card users are unaware of the details of the cover that their cards offer. However, they often include hidden service benefits that offer peace of mind, especially when you are on holiday. It is important to distinguish between:

  • insurance cover. This offers protection when travelling, provided that you used your credit card to pay for the insured service, partly or in full depending on the bank. The most common types of cover are accident, trip cancellation or delay, missed departure and delayed or stolen baggage cover.
  • assistance cover. By merely having a valid bank card, the assistance cover gives you access at any time to assistance worldwide, and to a level of medical expenses cover depending on the type of card. Be sure to always contact the assistance service before incurring expenses.

Your cards are usually valid for the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse and any other person residing at the cardholder’s address.

Usually valid for the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse and any other person residing at the cardholder’s address, this cover may involve an excess.

In any event, read the terms and conditions applicable to your card carefully before making up your mind. These term and conditions will vary depending on the card chosen and the issuing bank.

Compare card benefits

Can’t decide which credit card to get? Check out BIL’s credit card comparison service. This will give you a clear overview of the different services on offer, depending on the card chosen.