So now that you have a good idea about credit cards, where would you go to look for one? Many of us start our first credit cards with the bank we primarily use. The reasoning is simple: you can easily see all your financial transactions through a teller or website, you can easily make payments to and from your credit card through a teller or website, the brand image is important to the bank and they will try to service you the best they can (although, I can’t say the same for American banks). The resources for you are available and easy to understand. If you prefer to keep your finances simple, your primary bank should be where you want your credit card issued.
Why would you even want a card outside your bank?
That’s a positively good question. Well aside from the fact that I dislike any one organization having too much data on my personal well-being (yes, I’m looking at you Google and Facebook), there area few things to keep in mind. In fact I made a table below to show the pros and cons of a bank issued credit card.
|Pros of bank issued card||Cons of bank issued card|
|-Convenience of all chequing, savings, retirement savings, spendings in 1 dashboard for you to see
-Convenience of any trouble shooting issues via teller, phone, website with the bank’s network of employees
|-Rewards or perks just aren’t as good elsewhere (i.e. 1% cashback with banks vs 2% cashback)*
-Additional perks from companies that grants you a specific benefit (i.e. travel insurance and rental car insurance)
*Spending $10,000 a year with a 1% cashback entitles you to $100. With a 2% card, you earn $200 and so on.
Three things to keep in mind when owning credit cards. For example, just because you travel maybe twice a year may not mean it is more beneficial to own a travel-based credit card. Another example, the rewards you earn at a specific supermarket chain for groceries might only be applicable when you make purchases there. The last example is that the rewards might only be applicable to the chain. In all of these scenarios, you are limited by the frequencies, the versatility, or the variety that each card presents itself to fully optimize and reap their benefits.
How would you choose your card then since there are so many and each having their own perks?
Solid question, which can only be answered with a solid answer. The answer would be dependent on your yearly expenses. Everyone has a different personal lifestyle, career, family obligations, and habits so if you want to issue a credit card for yourself, you must find out where you spend your money the most and categorize them. Food and eateries, grocery stores, gas, travel (hotel, car rentals, airlines), and pharmacy are but a few of the categories.
Personally for me, I would say I spend the most on food, gas, and groceries. This is followed by my girlfriend expenses in which I lump all date places into one category and then recurring bills (phone, cable, internet, utilities, rent, etc) which I will further break down at another time. Now if you understand, this means I should focus my categories on restaurants, gas, groceries, recurring bills, maybe entertainment/travel for my credit card.
Now for your options
For Canadian audiences: check out Greedyrates.com. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it does the trick for putting a comparison of a majority of company-offered cards as well as bank-issued ones. Not only that, but they have a really good spending calculator to optimize your rewards.
Got none for other audiences, sorry.