Credit Cards for Good Credit: Insert Chip Here

I have noticed that the better your credit is, the more credit card offers seem to head your way. Also, I can always tell my credit score has risen when I get a mailbox full of “pre-approved” credit card offers. I do monitor my credit, but I do not watch it 24/7. Credit card companies must though because these companies always seem to know my credit score long before I do. Those offers are always tempting, too. They really are. It is so easy to fool yourself into thinking, “Oh, this could take care of these bills and I could breathe”, especially when it seems like you work more than you sleep or see your family.

While it is true that those credit cards can offer some relief, it is only temporary relief and it comes at a price. Like most things in life, there will be a trade-off. However, credit cards can be utilized to make your situation better than ever if you use them wisely. To do so, it is important that you know what to do, what to expect, and how to choose the best credit cards for good credit. We have you covered with the 411 on credit cards for good credit.

Should I Apply for Credit Cards with Good Credit?

The first question to ask yourself to figure this out is what exactly are you getting the card for? Do you want it to build your credit? Help out with gas in between paychecks? Have it available for emergencies? Or do you simply want to spend money you do not yet have? If the last scenario is the case, back away now. Do not add that temptation to your life. There is enough trouble already- do not add more willingly.

On the other hand, if your intentions are honorable, such as the first three scenarios, credit cards for good credit just might be a good thing for you. Do not just start applying, though. Learn what you can about them first, look for the best one, then remember and live by the reason you want the card.

Types of Credit Cards for Good Credit

You typically find two types of credit cards: secured cards and unsecured cards. Each has different requirements and different benefits.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards require that you put some type of deposit down. This might be as low as $39. Some, though, require that you put deposit your entire credit limit. Over time as you make timely payments, your deposit will usually be refunded to you.

People with good credit usually do not have to put down a deposit. In some cases, like perhaps if you do not have much credit history, you might still be required to get a secured card.  You might also be required to pay a deposit if you want a higher credit limit than they approve you for.

Unsecured Credit Cards

An unsecured card is the most likely option of credit cards for good credit. This is one area that all of your hard work to build your credit comes in handy. Many cards will still start you out on a smaller limit and increase that as you show your creditworthiness.

Remember, compare credit cards for good credit in order to find the best one for you. Everyone is different, so do not go with the first option. Shop around, see what is out there and then decide.

Understanding Credit Scores

You may be wondering what exactly your credit score means and how it is determined. There are five parts to it:

1. Payment History- 35%- This depends on how well you have paid your debts in the past and if you made the payments on time. As you can see, this accounts for a great deal of your credit.

2. Amounts Owed- 30%- How much of your available credit are you using?

3. New Credit- 10%- Opening new accounts affects your score, but not as much as other things listed here.

4. Length of Credit History- 15%- How long have you had credit?

5. Credit Mix- 10%- You should have more than one type of debt. Mix up installment loans and revolving credit, but try to have more installment loans as they have a more positive effect.

These five factors tell the lender whether it is safe to lend money to you or too risky, though they also consider other factors, such as income. The higher your credit score and better your income, the better chance you have to get credit cards for good credit. Typically, good credit is considered to be a score that ranges between 680 and 720.

Benefits of Good Credit

There is one major benefit to having good credit that all other benefits fit into. And that benefit can be summed up in one word: freedom. While you might not be able to buy anything and everything you want, good credit affords you many opportunities.

You can much more easily get a loan than those with fair or poor credit, so buying a house, car, or other desires is going to be very attainable for you. You also have a better chance of being approved for good credit cards, take better vacations, and so on. Good credit may also help your children during college years if they ever need to take out private loans. This is because good credit can get you much better interest rates than those without it.

Obviously, perfect credit- if it actually exists- is what we should strive for. However, good credit can provide you a lot more financial freedom than fair or poor credit.

But….

Though good credit opens up a lot of doors, there is a caveat. Maybe two. First, it does not matter if you have perfect credit- if you do not have an income or you have a low income, you will still face restrictions. Having a great credit score is just part of it. Lenders and credit card companies are not going to want to lend you anything if you do not have the means to repay them. Additionally, some creditors care a lot more about what is on your credit report than your score. Keep these factors in mind as you apply for credit cards.

Compare Credit Cards for Good Credit

Even if a card seems like a great one, you should never simply go with the first one you find or are offered. You should compare credit cards online to ensure that you are getting the best credit cards for good credit. Interest rates and how they are calculated are the biggest factors to consider. As you search for credit cards for good credit, you should find that you get pretty good interest rates- at least better interest rates than those with lower credit.

Still, you want to be sure you are getting the lowest interest rate possible, so compare multiple cards. You should also look for credit cards for good credit that do not charge interest until the end of the month. This gives you the chance to pay off your balance or pay it down before interest hits. Compare options here on Loanry:


What to Do If You Have Good Credit But Get Turned Down

I mentioned above that lenders want you to have more than a good credit score, so it is still possible to get turned down for credit cards and loans. It is likely that you have worked hard to achieve that credit score, so a rejection is a stab in the chest. With it comes the confusion of what you could have possibly done “wrong”. Fret not as it is actually pretty easy to figure out.

First off, you will likely receive a letter from the lender. It is an “official” rejection that will often list two or three (or more) things that likely affected the decision. You might see things such as not enough credit history, too many open accounts, and so on. With this letter comes the opportunity to request a free copy of your credit report. It is important to know that you can get a free credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year, and every time you get rejected for credit. You do, however, have to request that copy within the specified time period. Having your credit report in hand can help you figure out what exactly is going on if you have any delinquent accounts.

Or…

As this is the digital age, though, there is a much easier and more helpful way to do this. Sign up for a free Credit Karma account or Credit Sesame account. I am most familiar with Credit Karma and love it, so I personally recommend it, though you can decide for yourself. Through Credit Karma, you can monitor your credit. It alerts you if there are any changes, giving you the opportunity to watch out for any fraudulent activity. While I love this fact, there is an aspect I love more. It is the fact that it tells you what, if any, changes you should make.

For instance, if you do not have a good credit mix, it lets you know that and tells you how to fix it. If you are using too much credit, it lets you know. This can be used as an excellent tool to build and monitor your credit. So, if you get turned down for a credit card, Credit Karma can help you figure out why.

How to Keep Good Credit

You should work as hard to keep good credit as you did to attain good credit- maybe even harder. I can say with absolute certainty that it is easier to keep good credit than to get it in the first place. Once that score goes down, it takes a lot of work to get it back up. Since you are applying for credit cards for good credit, here are some ways to make sure you keep that good credit:

Pay Your Bill Early or on Time

The early you can make a payment, the better off you are. If you charge something Tuesday on your card and get paid Friday, it is in your best interest to pay off what you charged with your Friday check. This is true for three reasons. The first is that if your credit card does not charge interest until the end of the billing cycle, you avoid that interest. Yay! The second is that doing say prevents you from being late with a payment (Score 1 for preemptive action). And the third reason is that the less you owe on your card at any given time, the lower your credit utilization (which you always want to keep under 30%).

If you cannot pay your bill early, at least pay it on time. Late payments will hurt your credit score in a heartbeat. Also, try to pay more than the minimum payment. Make every effort to pay your balance down every month so that you can keep your credit utilization where it needs to be. Again, that is less than 30%. For example, if your credit limit is $500, you should keep your balance at or below $150.

Tips for Paying Your Credit Card Bill on Time Every Month

Do Not Charge More Than You Can Afford

One of the biggest mistakes made with credit card use is charging more than you can afford to repay. This tends to be because people view credit cards as a way to buy all of that expensive stuff they want. They forget, though, that the money has to be repaid, and the balance can get out of hand very quickly.

Let’s say you purchase a $300 TV on your credit card that charges 20% interest. That would make this purchase cost you $360 to repay it, but only if you repay the full amount that month. If you do not, you will get charged an additional 20% interest on your full balance the next month, and the next, until you pay it off. If you let it continue, you could end up paying $3,000 for that $300. You probably wish you would have saved your cash for that purchase at this point, but it is too late.

A rule of thumb, I suggest- and attempt to follow- is to only charge each month what you can pay back in a month. I say attempt because there are times that it simply cannot be helped. Sometimes an illness keeps you out of work and you need to pay a bill, or there is some type of emergency.

Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes, including getting into more debt than you can afford at that moment. To be clear, though, keeping your power on is one thing. Go into ridiculous amounts of debt over a TV is a whole other ball game, and I cannot think of one reason that would justify such debt.

The only exception to this rule, in my opinion, is if you are in a 0% introductory interest rate period. Some companies offer these periods for six or twelve months as an incentive to sign up for their card. During this time, you could purchase that $300 TV without worry. As long as you paid a minimum of $50 per month on your credit card, you would have the TV paid off prior to interest being charged.

The rule still applies though: do not purchase anything with a credit card that you cannot afford to repay. In other words, a 0% interest rate period is not an excuse to go out and spend $5,000 unless you know you can pay off that $5,000 during that period.

Use Only When Necessary

In truth, it is best to only use your credit card when you actually need to. If you can only swipe it when there is no other choice, you will save yourself a ton of interest. Again, shopping sprees are not  necessary. Necessary means that you will somehow suffer in an intolerable way if it does not happen, like going hungry or not having running water. Even when it does not seem like it, I promise that you can tolerate going without impulse purchases or splurges.

Protect Your Credit Card Information

A very important way to protect your credit score is to protect your credit card information. Nothing can destroy your credit as quickly as an identity thief can. How, though, can we do this? I will be honest and tell you that your information is never 100% safe online. There are some very talented hackers out there that put their skills to bad use and can find whatever they want. While this is true, there is something else to consider.  If you were hungry and standing in front of two refrigerators, one locked down like Fort Knox and the other standing wide open, which would you choose to find some food?

Unless you are a renegade, Robert Frost facing the road less traveled, or Pocahontas wondering what’s around the river bend, you will probably take the path of least resistance and choose the unlocked fridge. That’s kind of how identity thieves roll. Yes, they could put the effort into breaking into locked down accounts, but why would they want to? There are so many accounts wide open for the taking. Obviously, nothing is a guarantee. But I have found that the more protection you put into place, the less likely the chance of theft. Here are a few very simple ways to add tons of protection:

1. Watch the Websites You Purchase From

First and foremost, be careful with which sites you make purchases on. Here is a scary fact: hackers can actually mirror other websites and set up fraudulent ones. This means that when you put your card information into those sites, you have literally just given them free access. So how do you know if a site is safe? Take a look at the web address bar. If you see a little lock there, you are good to go. Also, do not purchase from websites that you are not familiar with or that you cannot check out for customer reviews and such.

2. Use Prepaid Cards

Another very safe way to make online purchases is to use a prepaid card to do so, and by this I mean one of those that does not require you to load it from your bank account. If you wish to make a purchase or pay a bill, load the cash onto the card. This one does require a little more work, but if you do not do much business online, you should be okay.

3. Use a VPN

If you have never heard of a VPN, or virtual private network, you are about to get some incredibly valuable information. Have you seen the movie Black Panther? If not, what are you waiting for? Marvel movies are awesome (yes, I am a big fan).

Anyway, in the very exciting Black Panther movie, Wakanda has a shield. And it is covered to the extent that if you do not know it is there, you are not going to find it. Between the reflective dome and the dense foliage, I am not sure that even if I lived there I could find it. It is that well hidden.

This is kind of what a VPN does for your online presence. It shields you, your activity, your information, and more from everyone- even your cable provider. Can a hacker bypass it? Sure, but, like Wakanda visitors, hackers would have to know that the information is there to hack it.

There are a lot of VPN options, but my favorite is SurfShark. I am not going to go into a sales pitch- you can check out their website to compare it to others. But I will say though that the benefit of the SurfShark VPN is that for about $2 per month, you can download it to an unlimited number of devices, so you can cover your entire family. I have yet to find another that covers that much for such a low price.

4. Monitor Your Credit

Monitoring your credit usually means seeing a charge after it is made, so you are not really preventing the fraud. However, the quicker you spot issues, the quicker you can get the ball rolling and fix it.

5. Freeze Your Credit and Your Card

Again, there are no guarantees, but freezing your stuff is as close to perfect identity protection as you can get. For a few years now, many banks and credit card companies have allowed their users to freeze their cards through their apps and websites if the card is lost. This is great because you do not have to immediately cancel the card. (A major frustration when you find the card at the bottom of your purse or in the wrong pocket of your wallet the next day.) You can just as easily unlock the card if you find it.

Lately, though, thanks to all of the website hacks and data breaches that have been going on, you can actually freeze your entire credit. This means that no one, including you, can apply for credit or run a hard check on it. You have to go back in with your password to unfreeze it first.

I decided to do this recently because I did not want anything unauthorized to show up on my account. Not only have I not had any alerts of suspicious activities, but it has actually helped my credit score. When I consider applying for something, I know that I have to go through a process to unfreeze my credit. It gives me time to think through what I am doing. For about three months now, I have not found a thing worth that effort. Since no one has been running hard checks on my credit, my credit score has improved.

Check For Free Identity Theft Protection

Some banks and credit card companies actually provide free identity theft protection. If you are looking for credit cards for good credit, or if you have one already, check with your company to see if you have this.

Conclusion

If you are ready to take the plunge and shop for credit cards for good credit, be sure you are ready to commit some time to compare a few. For those considering a credit card simply to pay off other credit cards, consider a personal installment loan instead as they typically have lower interest and better repayment terms. Regardless of the direction you choose to take, be sure to understand the terms and conditions you are signing up for and make a plan to keep yourself from racking up too much credit card.