CEO Message: Finding The Right Card And Fit For Your Family

Theresa Mann, President and CEO, Shares Best Credit Card Practices

December 12 – It is easy to have too many credit cards. But how many do you really need? Many experts recommend two: one with a low interest rate and no annual fee for times when you want to keep a balance; and one that you can pay off each month that earns rewards for everyday purchases.

Low interest rate, no annual fee cards
As an example, The Partnership FCU has a Platinum Visa that has a low interest rate, no annual fee and no balance transfer fee. You should use this type of card if you are going to maintain a balance. Think of it as an unsecured loan that has the benefit of a line of credit with a plastic card attached for convenience. And you may consolidate debt easily by transferring other balances to this card.

Rewards cards
Everyday purchases such as groceries, entertainment, gas and any other expense that you might typically pay cash for are perfect charges to make with  a rewards credit card. You can find rewards such as airline miles, discounts for purchases like gas or other products or even cash back. These cards will typically cost more to carry, especially if you maintain a balance as interest rates and annual fees will be higher on these cards. Beware:  it’s only worth the added expense if you will actually use the rewards.

We are all tempted with credit card offers that promise to give us discounts or free things, with pressure incentivized sales clerks at almost every store. Personally, I spent a little time reviewing our family purchases. Because we shop at one particular online venue more than any other, in addition to holding The Partnership FCU’s Platinum Card, we decided to commit to a rewards card that would give us discounts and cash back for our purchases.  With a little work, we consolidated other purchases (that we were going to make anyway) to maximize savings.  It was worth taking the time to evaluate our spending habits – we have received several hundred dollars in savings already!

A few credit and debit card reminders for a Grinch free holiday season
What about debit cards? Debit cards are plastic cards that are attached to your checking account. You can use them like you would use a credit card or as you would an ATM card with your PIN. The fact that they provide access to your checking account requires a thorough review of your statement to ensure that charges are in fact yours. This step is crucial, particularly at this time of year. Unfortunately the holiday season can bring out those looking to prey on others. If you see something suspicious, contact your credit union immediately. And never write your PIN on your card. Charges that you have not authorized are typically covered by your financial institution except in cases where they can prove that you were negligent with the card.

If you think your cards have been compromised or you have questions regarding any of your accounts, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-285-3286.