First Financial Credit Cards

A Guide to the Different Types of Credit Cards

Woman researching types of credit cards

Types of Credit Cards

You’re on a quest for the perfect credit card, but with a sea of options, how do you choose the right one?

Fear not, financial adventurer, as we journey to uncover the unique features of the most popular types of credit cards. This article will be your treasure map, guiding you through the world of credit cards with ease and clarity.

By understanding the differences between these cards and their benefits, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and unlock the potential of your wallet. Let’s dive in and discover the card that’s perfect for you!

Standard Credit Card

A standard credit card is a simple, no-frills option for everyday use. It provides a line of credit that allows cardholders to make purchases and pay them off later.

While it doesn’t offer rewards or cash back, it helps build or maintain credit and handle unexpected expenses.

Paying off the balance each month is essential to get the most from a standard credit card. That’s how you’ll avoid interest charges and keep credit use low.

Rewards Credit Card

You can earn points or miles for every dollar you spend with a rewards credit card. You can redeem these points for merchandise, travel, gift cards, or cash.

Many rewards cards offer bonus points in specific spending categories like dining or travel. That makes them perfect for those with high spending in those areas.

To maximize your rewards, consider using the card for everyday purchases. And pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges.

Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a savvy choice for those wishing to repair or build their credit. This card type requires a cash deposit as collateral, determining the credit limit.

Cardholders can improve their credit scores by using the card responsibly and making on-time payments. After demonstrating responsible credit behavior, upgrading to an unsecured card and returning the deposit is often possible.

Prepaid Credit Card

A prepaid credit card is ideal for those who want to avoid overspending and keep their finances in check. These cards require the user to load funds onto the card before purchasing.

No credit checks or interest fees are involved, but reward options are generally limited. Prepaid cards are great for budgeting. They help teach teenagers about money management and avoiding debt.

Balance Transfer Credit Card

If high-interest debt is causing financial stress, a balance transfer credit card can help. These banking cards allow you to transfer debt from one card to another, often with a low or zero-interest introductory period.

By consolidating debt onto a single card, you can save on interest charges and simplify your monthly payments. Remember that balance transfer fees may apply, and paying off the debt before the promotional period ends is essential.

Student Credit Card

Credit card providers design specific financial options for college students.

A student credit card helps young adults build credit while pursuing their education. These cards offer lower credit limits and rewards programs tailored to students’ needs. For example, cash back on textbooks or dining.

A student credit card can help someone establish good credit habits early on. But it’s crucial to avoid overspending and always pay off the balance on time.

Business Credit Card

Business credit cards are a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and small business owners. They offer benefits like higher credit limits, expense tracking, and rewards programs tailored to business-related spending.

Separating business from personal expenses makes managing cash flow and monitoring financial performance easier.

Additionally, many business credit cards offer bonus rewards. That might cover office supplies, travel, and advertising. It makes them an excellent choice for growing your venture.

Airline Credit Card

Frequent travelers can benefit from an airline credit card. This card rewards users with miles for their preferred airline. These miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, lounge access, and more.

Many airline cards also include perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and in-flight discounts.

These cards can offer substantial savings for loyal customers. However, it’s essential to consider the annual fee, blackout dates, and any restrictions on redemption.

Cash Back Credit Card

Cash-back credit cards return users a percentage of their spending as cash rewards. These cards often provide a flat rate on all purchases or tiered rates based on spending categories.

Using a cash-back card for everyday spending can accumulate significant savings over time.

It’s important to remember that rewards should not encourage overspending. Cardholders should always pay off their balance each month to avoid interest charges.

Low-Interest Credit Card

A low-interest credit card is an attractive option for those who occasionally carry a balance or plan to make a large purchase. These cards offer lower interest rates than other credit cards, making them more affordable in the long run.

However, it’s essential to remember that low interest doesn’t mean no interest. Paying off the balance as soon as possible is crucial to minimize interest charges.

Instant Approval Credit Card

Instant approval credit cards cater to those who need access to credit quickly. These cards provide an immediate decision, often within minutes of applying.

Approved applicants receive a temporary card number for immediate use while waiting for the physical card to arrive.

Remember that instant approval cards may come with higher interest rates and fees. So it’s essential to read the terms and conditions carefully before applying.

Store Credit Card

Store credit cards are designed for loyal customers of specific retailers. These cards offer rewards, discounts, and exclusive offers for shopping at the affiliated store.

Some store cards also provide special financing options for larger purchases. These cards can offer substantial savings for frequent shoppers.

But you must remain aware of the potential drawbacks, such as high-interest rates and limited usability outside the store. Always read the terms and conditions to ensure the benefits outweigh the costs.

Find the Perfect Option for You With All Types of Credit Cards

Finding the right credit card can significantly impact your financial journey. Now that you’ve explored the most popular types of credit cards, it’s time to take action.

Don’t wait—visit First Financial today and browse our wide selection of credit cards tailored to your needs. Make the smart choice and elevate your financial game with First Financial.

Leveraging Benefits and Rewards of Student Credit Cards

Leveraging Benefits and Rewards of Student Credit Cards

About 35% of Americans have some form of credit card debt.

This can be extremely detrimental to someone’s financial success.

This is why getting a credit card early and learning how to use it properly can offer a huge advantage for the rest of your life.

For instance, student credit cards have a lot of benefits and rewards. It’s all about leveraging those rewards as a student to make owning a credit card beneficial to you.

Ready to learn more? You can keep reading to learn more about credit cards and student finances!

Benefits of Student Credit Cards

Student Credit Cards

If you have a student credit card, odds are you do not have a lot of credit built up yet. That is what getting a student credit card can begin to help with! But there are also many other reasons to get student credit cards.

Here are a few.

Building Credit History

Using a credit card responsibly can help students build a positive credit history, which is important for future loans and credit applications. It is best to get started as soon as possible, so leveraging student credit cards is one way to do that!

Teach Your How to Manage Money

When you get a student credit card, this is the first stepping stone to learning how to effectively manage your money. This means you’ll learn why it is so important to pay your balance in full every month, keep your credit utilization ratio law, and make sure you never spend more than you have.

Getting the practice in while you are a student can make you more responsible as you get older and spend more.

Earn Rewards

Some student credit cards offer rewards, such as cashback, points, or miles for purchases made with the card. This can be a great way for students to earn rewards for their everyday purchases.

From here, they can start to learn how to manage their money and also balance their spending with the rewards that they receive from credit card purchases.

Help You During an Emergency

As a student, it is quite normal to experience a few unexpected expenses that come up while you are in school. For instance, you may have a larger utility bill than you were planning for or you may have some really expensive textbooks to buy.

Whatever it is, having a credit card can buy you a bit more time before you need to pay it off. This means you have more time to make the money before you need to pay the card.

As you continue to pay the card off, your credit score will improve drastically!

Fraud Protection

Many credit cards offer fraud protection, which can help protect students from unauthorized purchases or fraudulent activity on their account.

This is great to have during the entirety of your life, but there’s no better time to get a credit card than as a student to start protecting yourself.

How to Leverage the Benefits and Rewards of Credit Cards as a Student

There are many things you need to do to get started with leveraging the benefits and rewards of a credit card. You first have to be educated on how to do so. Read on to learn more about this before you make the purchase!

Choose the Right Card

The first thing you need to do is choose a credit card that is right for you and your lifestyle!

For instance, getting rewards for entertainment or gas may be more beneficial for a student than let’s say, a travel credit card.

You want to choose a credit card that aligns with your spending habits and offers rewards that you can actually use.

Learn How to Maximize Your Rewards

Be strategic about how you use your credit card to maximize rewards. For example, use your card for everyday purchases such as gas, groceries, and dining out to earn rewards on your regular spending.

This is more financially beneficial to you than using it on an expensive trip or flights to travel. While very cool and doable, this is not going to actually save you money when using your credit card rewards. It is best to use them for everyday expenses as a student.

Use the Promotional Offers

Many credit cards offer promotional offers such as sign-up bonuses or 0% interest rates for a period of time. Take advantage of these offers to earn rewards or pay off debt without incurring interest charges!

This can set you up for financial success as a student.

Redeem Rewards Before They Expire

Be sure to redeem your rewards before they expire. Many rewards programs have expiration dates or restrictions on how rewards can be used, so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully and use your rewards before they expire.

Otherwise, you are not actually leveraging the benefits that your card offers you! While this doesn’t harm you since you’re spending the money no matter what, it is not actually going to benefit you.

Using Student Credit Cards

Credit cards have so many benefits. However, if you use them incorrectly, you are not going to be able to reap those benefits.

So how should you use student credit cards? How do you reap the benefits of credit card rewards?

By following this guide, you’ll better understand how to use student credit cards to your advantage!

You can check out the different credit cards we offer here!

Is Taking Out a Personal Loan a Good Idea?

Is Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay off Credit Cards a Good Idea?

Is Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay off Credit Cards a Good Idea?

If you have credit card debt, you are in good company. Studies show that the majority of Americans have some form of credit card debt. And 14 million Americans have five figures or more worth of debt from credit cards alone. Have you considered taking out a personal loan to pay off credit cards? Personal loans often have lower annual percentage rates (APRs), meaning you’ll pay less on the money you borrow. Yet, there are also some drawbacks to using personal loans to eliminate debt from credit cards. For example, you may not qualify for a personal loan APR that is lower than the rate you pay on your credit cards.

In this guide, we will tell you all the pros and cons of using loans for credit card debt. Plus, we’ll give you tips for paying down credit card balances if you don’t qualify for an affordable loan. Keep reading to learn more.

Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Cards

In 2023, the average interest rate on credit cards is a little bit over 20%. This is an average, so some credit cards have lower APRs, and others have higher interest rates. On average, personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards. In 2023, the average is around 10–20%. The exact rate you will pay on a personal loan depends on various factors, including:

  • Your credit score
  • Your annual income
  • Your debt-to-income ratio
  • Your employment status

Other factors, such as the term period on your loan and whether you take out a secured or unsecured loan, also play into your APR.

The Benefits of Paying Off Debt With Loans

A personal loan is one of the best solutions for paying off credit card debt in 2023. This is especially true if you can find an affordable loan (more on this later). Benefits of using loans for credit card balances include:

  • Personal loans have lower APRs than credit cards
  • You can pay off all your credit cards with one loan
  • You only have to make one monthly payment going forward

These last two advantages only apply if you use your personal loan to pay off all your credit cards. We don’t recommend taking out a loan to pay off one credit card if you carry debt on multiple lines of credit.

The Disadvantages of Using Loans for Debt from Credit Cards

Of course, all these benefits can not come without some drawbacks. The following disadvantages of personal loans could make this option less attractive for certain borrowers:

  • You may pay higher fees on personal loans
  • You may not be qualified for a lower personal loan APR
  • You may end up with more debt than you started with

The first two issues primarily occur when you have no credit, poor credit history, or a low credit score. The third con happens when people use loans to pay off debt but continue using their credit cards while paying on the loan. Luckily, financial institutions like First Financial offer personal loans for people with poor credit.

Other Solutions for Paying Off Credit Cards

So, what if you do not qualify for an affordable loan? In that case, the goal is to pay down your credit cards as quickly as possible. Why? The faster you pay down your debt, the less you forfeit in interest. Here are the top ways to do just that.

Stop Using Your Credit Card for Purchases

The first thing you should do is stop swiping. Use credit cards for emergencies only until you pay off your debt. Also, start thinking about what you will use your credit card for once you pay off your debt. Experts recommend reserving credit for the following big-ticket purchases only:

  • Electronics
  • Appliances
  • Travel

Often, larger credit card purchases come with interest-free periods. For example, you may have six months to pay off your purchase before you’re charged interest.

Use Debt-Canceling Strategies

As we mentioned, credit card debt is extremely common in the US. Financial experts have come up with many strategies for eliminating credit card debt quickly. Some of the most effective strategies are:

  • Paying off high-interest debt first
  • Paying off the credit card with the lowest balance first, then add that monthly amount to pay down the next lowest balance
  • Paying more than the monthly minimum balance

You can also come up with your own debt-canceling strategy based on your unique needs. The best strategy for you is the one that gets your balances paid down the fastest.

Do a Balance Transfer

Another idea to consider is a balance transfer. Many credit card companies allow you to transfer all your outstanding credit card debts to a single account. Often, balance transfers also come with a preliminary grace period where you don’t have to pay any interest on your balance. However, you may have to pay a fee on the balance you transfer. So, this solution may not be best for people with significant credit card debt.

Looking for Affordable Personal Loans and Credit Cards?

Taking out a personal loan to pay off credit cards can be a great way to get out of debt. But keep in mind that some people may not qualify for a personal loan without a good credit history. Are you searching for a personal loan you can qualify for? First Financial is on a mission to provide personal loans to borrowers just like you. Click here to get started on your loan application!

The Best Ways To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Girl holding credit card debt consoladation

The Best Ways To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

When you have credit card debt, it can feel like you’re drowning in monthly payments. The truth of the matter is you aren’t alone. There are millions of other people who also deal with credit card debt. According to a GOBankingRates survey, 30% of Americans carry between $1,001 and $5,000 in credit card debt. That same survey reported that 15% of people surveyed have $5,001 or more in credit card debt. While about 6% of those people have over $10,000 in credit card debt. Finding a way to consolidate credit card debt can make you debt-free.

You’re in the right place if you are looking for the best ways to consolidate credit card debt. Here’s what you need to know about consolidating credit card debt.

Personal Loan

When looking at options to consolidate credit card debt, one tool that can help is an unsecured personal loan. You can use a bank, credit union, or an online lender that can provide money for you to consolidate your debt.There are a few benefits of doing it this way. Depending on the lender you choose, they can automatically make the payments directly to the credit card companies, so you don’t have to. Another reason a personal loan can be a good option is that, ideally, you will have a lower APR on your debt.Keep in mind that the lender you choose for a personal loan can also make a difference in your interest rates. For example, credit unions are considered not-for-profit lenders.

This means they can provide more flexible loan terms for their members. This could work to your advantage if you are a borrower with fair or bad credit (689 or lower on the FICO scale).

Banks and Credit Unions

The reason is that federal credit unions can only charge a maximum APR of 18%. Instead of using a personal loan from a credit union, you might decide to go with a bank. Banks could work well for those who have good credit. Especially if you are an existing customer. Choosing to get a personal loan from a bank can also give you access to more significant loan amounts. On top of that, discounted rates may be available too.You can try an online leader if you don’t want to use a credit union or a bank for a personal loan. With an online lender, you can check to see if you pre-qualify without it affecting your credit score.

The great thing about pre-qualifying for a personal loan is it can give you information about the loan amount, possible payment amounts, and interest rates.

Balance Transfer

Another great option is to do a balance transfer as you consider consolidating credit card debt. Also known as credit card refinancing, balance transfers move debt from one credit card to another. If you have a credit card with a high-interest payment, this strategy could help you save money. Most balance transfers offer a promotion period where they don’t charge any interest on the balance. This time frame is often between 12 and 18 months. For example, moving debt to a credit card with an introductory APR of 0% could help you pay off the balance interest-free.You can qualify for most balance transfer cards if you are a borrower with good or excellent credit (690 or higher on the FICO scale). You want to do your research before making a final decision on the balance transfer card. Some cards can charge a one-time balance transfer fee from as low as 3% to 5% of the total amount being transferred.

It’s a good idea to calculate whether the interest you can save over time will clear the cost of the fee.

HELOC or Loan

Another one of the best ways to consolidate credit card debt is by getting a home equity line of credit. Homeowners can benefit from this debt consolidation option because you can use the equity in your home to pay off high-interest credit cards. You can also consider using a home equity loan. It can provide a lump sum of money with a fixed interest rate compared to a line of credit with variable interest rates. Usually, in the first ten years, a HELOC requires interest-only payments. Which is known as the draw period. This means you must make more than the minimum payment to reduce the principal and pay down debt. With the loan being secured by your house, it’s a high chance you will get a lower interest rate than a personal loan or balance transfer credit card.

It is equally important to note that you could lose your home if you don’t keep up with the payments.

Debt Consolidation Plan

One last way to consolidate your credit card debt is to use a debt management plan. The great thing about this option is that it rolls all your debt into one monthly payment at a lowered interest rate. If you struggle to pay off your credit card debt but have bad credit, this option may work best for you. Also, a debt management plan doesn’t affect your credit score since you are not borrowing money or opening a new line of credit.

Consolidate Credit Card Debt Fast!

When you consolidate credit card debt, you give yourself more financial breathing room. Debt can stop you from doing the things you enjoy, like taking a vacation or buying an item you want. You should know that it is possible to eliminate your credit card debt and become debt free. You just have to take things one step at a time. If you do a balance transfer, get a personal loan, or use a HELOC, learning more about these options can help your financial future. If you are ready to start on your path to consolidating credit card debt choose a company that cares about your financial future. Need fast cash?

Reach out to our dedicated team of financial professionals to get started today!

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