Credit card offers hit mailboxes weekly if not daily. It can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. Navigator Credit Union is here to help you decipher what the offers mean.

Annual Percentage Rates (APR)

Once you settle on which cards you would like to compare, flip the letter to the back for an easy-to-read table of features of each card. Compare information such as annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases, cash advances and any balance transfers. Pay close attention to introductory rate and term as well as what it would apply to. Some credit cards offer introductory rates on balance transfers but not on purchases made on the card.  You should also pay attention to the default rate. This is the rate you are charged if you are late with a payment or go over your limit. Often the default rate is as high, or higher than, the cash advance rate — which is often much higher than the purchase rate.

Consider the Annual Fee

Some rewards cards charge a fee for cardholders to have an active account. Many of these cards with annual fees will waive the fee for the first year. In the table, you can see if there’s an annual fee, accounts set-up fee, participation fee and/or an additional card fee. All of these fees are listed out, with their amounts, so you can see what the card really costs. You should also make a note of minimum charges, since that can make a big difference in what you actually end up paying.

Navigator Credit Union Platinum Rewards card has no annual fee, no cash advance fee and no balance transfer fee plus offers unlimited uChoose Rewards® and cash back rewards. You can learn more about the card and apply online at navigatorcu.org https://navigatorcu.org/borrowing-loans-from-credit-unions/visa-credit-cards.

Finance Calculation Method

It’s a small thing that can make a big difference on how much interest you pay. We’re talking about the way your balance is computed. If you pay off your balance each month, it doesn’t matter. But if you carry a balance, it does. There are two options:

•Average Daily Balance – Each day, your balance is figured. At the end of the billing cycle, all of it is averaged. Interest is charged on your average balance.

•Adjusted Balance – The issuer takes the balance at the end of the last period, and subtracts any payments you made during the current cycle. Interest is charged on the balance of the last billing cycle.

Don't Skip the Fine Print

Information about rewards programs will be handled separately, and information about dispute resolution and binding arbitration is also in the fine print. Card member benefits aren't listed in the table either. All of this information is important, and you should understand it.

Reading the table is a good way to tell, at a glance, the basic costs associated with a credit card and what you can expect from the credit card. It's useful for comparison purposes but make sure you read the rest of the card member agreement before signing it.

Understanding Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified Offers

A pre-qualified offer is basically acknowledgement your credit score falls within a particular range among other qualifications. There is no guarantee you will get the full terms of the offer should you apply. A pre-approved offer means the financial institution looked at your credit score and determined you qualified for the offer. These offers are pre-approved based on your credit score at the time, which may be weeks or months before you actually receive the mailed offer. If your credit situation has changed, you might not qualify, or the financial institution may change the terms significantly. Keep in mind, by replying to either of these mailed offers, your credit will receive a “hard hit”, which will temporarily lower your score.

If you have a relationship with a financial institution, especially a not-for-profit credit union, it’s a good idea to check with a trusted adviser to see whether you can apply for a credit card which has as much to offer – or even more – than the unsolicited card offers you receive in the mail.

About Navigator Credit Union

Navigator has been serving the Gulf Coast for 80 years. In 1939, the credit union began offering savings accounts and loans to local shipyard workers who, until then, did not have access to financial services. Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Mobile or Baldwin Counties can join. Navigator is a full-service financial institution offering innovative services such Save’N Up Debit card savings program and Credit Builder Loans, as well as interest-bearing checking accounts, high-yield savings plans, unlimited rewards credit cards, mortgage services, competitive vehicle loans, retirement planning and more. Visit navigatorcu.org or call 800-344-3281 for additional information.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved. 

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