This Is How I Picked the Perfect Credit Card

A young woman buys food from a street vendor using a credit card.

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The perfect card is within reach if you take these steps.

Key points

  • Choosing the right credit card can help you maximize your rewards.
  • Evaluating spending habits is just one of the crucial steps necessary to find the right card for you.

There are dozens of great credit card offers out there, and picking the right one is crucial to maximizing the potential benefits that could come from using your card.

Finding the right credit card can actually be tricky with so many different options, but these are the three steps I took in order to find the perfect credit card to meet my needs.

1. I evaluated my spending habits

There's no "perfect" card for every consumer because the right card for each person depends on their own specific spending habits. Specifically, it's important to find a card that offers bonus rewards for the kinds of purchases you spend the most on.

For example, I don't travel much right now because I have a small child, but I do spend a lot on groceries, so a card that provided bonus points for airline flights wouldn't be a good fit for me. But, one that offers extra rewards for grocery store purchases is an ideal fit.

To decide which card was best for my needs, I looked at my spending habits over the past several months by reviewing past credit card statements. I saw where most of my money was going and decided to look for a card that would give me bonus rewards on that kind of purchase.

2. I decided what type of rewards I wanted

Cards offer different types of rewards, including cash back or points that can be redeemed for merchandise, or miles that can be applied to travel purchases. I thought carefully about which rewards I would be most excited to receive and decided that I'd rather have cash back than anything else.

This would provide me with the most flexibility with regard to what I do with my rewards, and I didn't want to be tied to using them for any specific purposes such as trips or buying consumer goods. I'd rather take the cash and be able to use it to meet whatever needs I currently have.

3. I researched cards that provided the best bang for my buck

Once I had decided what kinds of rewards I was looking for and what bonus categories were most important, I started the process of researching cards.

I restricted my search to cash back cards since those were the rewards I was interested in earning. I then looked for the cards that offered the most cash back for grocery spending. By taking this approach, I've been able to earn lots of credit card rewards and use them in the most advantageous way possible.

Anyone who is interested in finding the ideal credit card should consider going through these three steps. Of course, you may also want to consider other factors depending on your situation. I don't carry a balance, for example, so I didn't care about interest rates -- but if you suspect that you might not pay your bill in full, you may want to prioritize looking for a card with a low APR.

The key is to find a card that's well matched to your specific needs, that provides the rewards you are looking for, and that gives you the most rewards possible on your key spending areas. If you do that, you can find the perfect card for you, just as I did.

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