In today’s society, credit cards are part of everyday life. Try and book a trip, a hotel, or even shopping online without one and you quickly realize that it’s a necessity. Now, if you live off the land and don’t travel, stay in hotels, or shop online, I guess you don’t need one. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t live without electricity in the woods, so you probably require a credit card.
One of the biggest things is choosing the right card for you. There are tons of different cards out there from a ton of different financial institutions. Encompass Credit Union carries a suite of 10 different Collabria credit cards, both Mastercard and Visa, which have different options, different rates, some with rewards, some without, annual fees, no fees. It really is about what YOU want to use your card(s) for. Encompass carries seven personal personal credit cards and three different business credit cards.
Let’s think about this for a second, obviously, a Student Mastercard is the best option for a student. No fee, low interest, and usually a low balance. No points, but that’s ok because your students are using this for school, not Cabo, and because students don’t often have a lot of extra cash laying around, it’s the best way for them to build their credit, and to learn how to use a credit card responsibly and not overuse it.
What are the differences between all the options when it comes to picking the right card for you? Encompass offers a Cash Back Mastercard, a Classic Mastercard, a Visa FlexRate, Centra Gold Mastercard, Travel Rewards Visa Gold, a World Mastercard and a US Dollar Visa. That’s a lot of choices! How do I pick?
First of all, break down what you plan to use the card for. Is it for everyday purchases? Are you looking to really use it a lot and pay it off every month just to get the great rewards points? Do you need to carry a balance, but want low rates and no annual fee? How about double points and a higher rate but because you rarely carry a balance, it doesn’t really matter what the rate is? All these are possible.
For example, say you just want a regular card for the once in a while use, The Classic Mastercard sounds about right. It has a low $30 annual fee, fixed 11.9% interest rate, fraud protection, 90-day purchase protection on electronics, appliances or other major purchases. Maybe the FlexRate Visa instead, with the same protection as above, but with a $40 annual fee, and a variable interest rate, and the FlexRewards program. That’s 1 point per $1 spent on everyday purchases. You like rewards, right?
What if you want zero fee, you rarely carry a balance, but drive a lot, and want cash back on your purchases? Then The Cash Back Mastercard is for you. You get zero annual fee, you earn 1 point per $1 spent, but you earn DOUBLE points on gas purchases. Those points can be redeemed as a credit on your account! You still get the fraud and purchase protection and mobile device insurance (if you’ve purchased it on this card).
Maybe you’re looking for a card with an even lower interest rate, because you often carry a balance, but want the opportunity to get points through the Flex Rewards program. The Centra Gold Mastercard has a 9.9% fixed rate, an annual fee of $50, with all the fraud and purchase protection of the Classic, plus auto rental and collision insurance, a common carrier accident protection and earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everyday purchases.
Any of the above cards would be great for shopping online. Pick one and set a medium to low limit for online purchases. You have fraud and zero liability protection, and a low limit will protect you while on the information super highway. Wait, they don’t call it that anymore.
You like to travel? How about 1 point for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, plus double rewards points when making purchases in foreign currencies? Then The Travel Rewards Gold Visa is the right choice for you. FlexRewards allows you to pick worldwide flight options with over 100 airlines. Stay in hotels with more than 80,000 properties available, plus all the regular merchandise and gift cards available through the FlexReward program. If you’re using this card to redeem all the benefits, the annual fee of $99, or the 19.9% interest doesn’t bother you. You get all the fraud and purchase protections, rewards points, plus auto rental collision insurance, emergency health care coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost or delayed baggage coverage, common carrier accident insurance, protection for grandchildren travelling with you, and 24/7 travel assistance. Now that sounds like a traveler’s card. Sounds like maybe you need to book a vacation.
What if you travel to the United States a lot, or buy from the US and don’t like how you get charged for transactions in America then deal with the exchange rate? Maybe you’re a snowbird that spends the winters in the US? Then The US Dollar Visa is a good choice. With this card there are no foreign transaction fees for US purchases, but will require you to have a Personal Explore US Chequing account at Encompass to pay your credit card in US funds. The annual fee for the card is $50 US, but you get all the fraud and consumer protection, emergency health care coverage, trip cancellation, lost or delayed baggage coverage, common carrier accident protection and the 24/7 travel assistance. On top, you earn 1 point per $1 USD spent.
All the above cards sound great, but no, you want the card of cards. You want all the benefits and rewards you can get. The World Mastercard is the best for benefits, from all the fraud and consumer protection, auto rental insurance, health care coverage, trip cancellation, 24/7 travel assistance, and a price protection service, this card has it all. Need a high limit for those major purchases? No problem. Although it comes with a $120 annual fee, and a 19.9% fixed rate, if you’re using this card to its potential, you’re getting a great bang for your buck. Oh, and did I mention double points on every purchase? Yeah, you earn 2 points for every $1 spent. It’s the smartest way to make the most of the purchases you make. You’re making purchases anyway and rarely carry a balance, now you can earn a great amount of points to redeem for everything from merchandise, gift cards and a host of options for travel that should suit any need. It’s a win-win.
Any of these cards can be applied for with assistance from our expert staff at any of our Encompass branches, or you can apply online. Keep in mind, this is still credit and you will need to submit your income and they will be checking your credit score. Don’t apply for more credit than you need. Use restraint and don’t spend more than your budget will allow. There’s nothing worse than getting in over your head because you can. Like anything, use your credit responsibly.
Take a minute to review our suite of credit cards and decide just what suits your needs and happy travelling or shopping!