Choosing and applying for a credit card

Use the credit card tool to calculate:

  • how long it will take to repay your balance
  • how much you need to repay each month

What bank does best buy use for credit

About choosing and applying for credit cards

This information tells you what to look out for when choosing a credit card including comparing cards. It tells you what happens when you apply for a credit card and what you can do if your application is refused.

There are hundreds of credit cards available, so shop around to get the one that suits you best.

Start by thinking about what you want to use the credit card for. This could be to buy things on line or on holiday, to pay your bills or to spread the cost of a purchase. However you choose to use your card, the key thing is whether you will be paying off what you owe every month or spreading repayments over a period.

If you can pay the balance off in full and on time each month, you can take advantage of the interest free period. In this case, the interest rate may not be so important but you may want to look at cards with other incentives like cash back. Even if you think you will be able to pay the balance in full each time, it’s worth planning what you’ll do if you can’t.

If you want to use the card for borrowing and you won’t be paying off the balance each month, you will usually have to pay interest. In this case, you may want to choose a card with a lower interest rate. Don’t forget to make sure you can afford a regular repayment.

For more information about how to choose credit, see Getting the best credit deal.

Checklist of what to look out for when choosing a credit card

Here’s a checklist of some things to look at when you choose a credit card:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This is the cost of borrowing on the card, if you don’t pay the whole balance off each month. You can compare the APR for different cards which will help you to choose the cheapest. You should also compare other things about the cards, for example, fees, charges and incentives
  • minimum repayment. If you don’t pay off the balance each month, you will be asked to repay a minimum amount. This is typically around 3% of the balance due or £5, whichever is higher
  • annual fee. Some cards charge a fee each year for use of the card. The fee is added to the amount due and you will have to pay interest on the fee as well as on your spending, unless you pay it in full
  • charges. Check in the credit agreement what other charges apply to the card. You will usually be charged for going over your credit limit, for using the card abroad and for late payments
  • introductory interest rates. This is where you start off paying a low rate of interest or none at all. The rate then increases after a certain amount of time. For example, it could increase after six months or from a certain date. You’ll often see an introductory rate for balance transfers. If you are comparing cards, look at how long the introductory rate lasts as well as the interest rate it changes to at the end of the introductory period
  • loyalty points or rewards. The points add up depending on the amount you spend and you can then use them to buy goods. Sometimes this is in particular shops. Check how and where the rewards can be used and think about how likely you are to use them
  • cash back. This is where you get money refunded to your card, depending on how much you spend. Check that you are likely to qualify for the cash back. For example, it may only apply if you pay your balance in full each month. A lower interest rate may be a better deal.

Key information you should get

When you are given information about a credit card, it should include a summary box with standard key information about the card. This should include the interest free period, interest rate and other charges. This is so that you can easily compare different cards.

You can find more information about the credit card summary box including an explanation of what all the terms mean, on the UK Cards Association's website at: www.theukcardsassociation.org.uk.

You can use a comparison website to see what different credit card providers are offering. This can help you choose the right card for you. There are lots of comparison websites and not all credit cards will be shown on all sites. So you may need to look around for a particular product.

You can find details of some comparison websites in Further help and information.

You can apply for a credit card:

You will have to fill in a form and the credit card provider will check your credit record with a credit reference agency, to see if you are credit worthy.

Your credit record shows information about how you handle your finances, such as your bank account and any other borrowing you have. It tells the provider whether you are a good payer and about any court orders you have had in the last six years. You can check your credit record yourself by contacting one of the credit reference agencies. There is a small fee.

For more information about your credit file and how to contact the credit reference agencies, see Being refused credit in Credit.

When you fill in the application form for a credit card, be careful to make sure all the information you put is correct. If you are not sure about how to complete the form, ask the credit card provider for help. You will have to sign the form to say all the information is correct and any false information you give may be seen as fraud.

If your application is accepted you will be asked to sign a credit agreement. This is a legal document which sets out what you and the provider are agreeing to. The credit agreement includes details such as how much you can borrow, how much and when to repay, the interest rate and charges that can be added, your rights and responsibilities under the agreement and any other conditions that apply to it. Always try to read the small print so you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

You can apply for additional cardholders to have permission to use your card. But remember, if you do this you are responsible for paying off whatever they spend on your card. It’s a good idea to agree some rules with any additional card holders about when they can use the card and make sure they tell you about their spending. Otherwise, you could go over your credit limit or have more to pay off than you expected.

If your application is refused

Providers don’t have to give you a credit card. Your application may be refused if your credit score is low or you are not a good risk. Ask the provider to tell you which credit reference agency they used if you want to check your credit file.

For more information about how credit card providers decide whether to give you credit, see Being refused credit in Credit.

Although credit card providers can decide not to give you credit, they are not allowed to discriminate against you when they make their decision. This means they aren't allowed to refuse to give you credit just because of your race, sex, disability, religion, sexuality or where you live.

If you think you were discriminated against when you applied for a credit card, get advice from an adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click nearest CAB.

For more information about how to deal with credit cards, see Credit cards.

You may also find the following Adviceguide information helpful:

The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service. Their website (www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk) has lots of useful information about borrowing and managing your money.

Go to their website for more information about:

You can use a comparison website to see what different credit card providers are offering. Here are some examples of comparison websites:


What Your Bank Won#039;t Tell You About Currency Conversion

11/5/2010 By Melinda Page

What bank does best buy use for creditWhat bank does best buy use for credit

Traveling abroad isn#039;t cheap to begin with, so it#039;s doubly painful when converting currency starts to add upmdash;if you#039;re not careful, you could lose up to 22cent; for every dollar. Here#039;s what you need to know to protect your purse.

When it comes to navigating exchange rates, it pays to know all your options. From buying money online to grabbing it on the go at the airport, we've assembled a handy guide to the seven most common methods for foreign exchange. Each has its pros and cons (some of which can feel like legal swindling), so we've evaluated the options for you with the euro as our base tender, using an Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter from 1 to 5. After all, we can think of far more fun ways for you to spend your money.

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter

2 Watch closely for fees.

3 Depends on your situation.

4 Avoid if possible.

5 Run away! Far, far away!

Swipe a Credit Card

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 1

How it works You can use your credit card just as you would at home; card issuers typically tack on currency-conversion fees of 2 to 3 percent for international transactions, you'll get the best exchange rate and fees that are lower than those associated with exchanging cash. If you want to get the best rate, sign up for a Capital One card, which levies no fees for international transactions. *$100 buys 74.24.

Best for The majority of your big purchases, hotel bills, and restaurant tabs. Basically, it's convenient enough to use instead of cash wherever possible.

Exception! Don't use it to take money out of an ATMever. You'll be hit with hefty fees (up to $20 in transaction fees or 4 percent of the amount of the advance, along with any local ATM fees), plus you'll be charged interest starting on the day you withdraw the money.

Withdraw Cash With an ATM Card

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 1

How it works Depending on your bank, your American debit card can also be used in international ATMs to withdraw local currency. Most banks tack on fees that can add anywhere from 3 to 8 percent. But a few, like Citi and Bank of America, have international branches or partners that allow you to use your ATM card fee-free in most cases. Bank of America is particularly attractive, thanks to a large number of global ATM alliance member banksmore than 20,000 locations in all. Check with your specific bank about its policies, and here's a tip: If you do have to pay international transaction fees, minimize them by withdrawing larger amounts less often. $100 buys 70.81.

Best for All purchases, big or small.

Exception! If you use an ATM outside your bank's global membership, you run the risk of incurring outrageous fees.

Exchange Cash at Your Bank

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 2

How it works Most large banks sell foreign currency, and if you have a bank account, you can order cash over the phone or online; with a few days' notice, it can be delivered to your local branch for pickup. Watch out for delivery fees on this optionthey can be as much as $10, cutting into your take-home amount. Note: Some banks will waive this fee for their best customers (Citibank, for example, does so for its CitiGold members), so be sure to ask before ordering. One thing to keep in mind is that exchange rates for banks tend to be slightly better than exchange rates elsewhere, as banks receive wholesale rates that aren't available to the general public. $100 buys 71.81.

Best for Those who want cash on hand before a trip.

Exception! If you have a premium bank account with a high balance, you'll get a better exchange rate, making this deal more attractive.

Buy Cash Online

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 3

How it works You can order currency in advance of your trip from websites like oanda.com, and they'll ship it to your home using a secure two-day delivery service. $100 buys 64.

Best for Having cash on hand for immediate purchases like cab fare or a bottle of water when you land; be warned that the high delivery fees eat into the bang you get for your U.S. bucks.

Exception! If you are looking to get large amounts of cash (say $1,000 or more), delivery fees can sometimes be waived if you ask.

Buy Traveler's Checks

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 4

ange Rate Ripoff Meter 4

Exchange Rate Ripoff Meter

How it works Travelers' checks function just like U.S. dollars, except they can be replaced if they're lost or stolen. Once you get to your destination, you still have to find a place that will exchange the checks for local currency, and you'll pay any associated fees, which can add up to $9 per check. Bottom line: Not convenient. $100 buys 63.11.

Best for Those who don't want to use credit or ATM cards or carry large amounts of cash. Also, if you're worried about theft and loss, this option comes with peace of mindif, for example, your American Express traveler's checks are stolen, the funds can be replaced anywhere in the world and usually within 24 hours.

Exception! If you're going to China, traveler's checks are an excellent value. Fees are low, and the exchange rate is regulated by the Chinese government, making this one of the safest and most inexpensive ways to exchange U.S. dollars for yuan (especially in more rural locations, which are less likely to have ATMs).

Buy a Prepaid Foreign Currency Card

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 4

How it works Launched by foreign-exchange company Travelex in 2007, these cards can be used just like credit or ATM cards, but travelers preload them with a set amount of euros or British pounds (the only two currencies available for now). This seemingly nifty convenience comes at a costnumerous fees (for withdrawals, inactivity, and to close the card) and restrictions (withdrawal minimums and limits per day). One plus: If the card is lost or stolen, Travelex will replace it; however, the company won't refund the money lost, and it will charge a fee for the replacement card. *$100 buys 68.34.

Exception! Though not very flexible, this option would work nicely for those on a set budget or for those who are sending kids off on a European vacation but don't want to hand over a wad of cash.

Foreign Exchange Desk (Airports, City Centers, Hotels)

Exchange Rate Rip-off Meter 5

How it works Most international airports have at least one foreign-exchange desk where you can swap U.S. dollars for the local currency. You hand over your dollars; the clerk deducts feessometimes up to 20 percent! You can also exchange American cash for local currency at your hotel; commissions and rates there will vary widely. Some currency-exchange desks located in city centers offer better rates than the ones at airports, but proceed with caution: Even those that advertise 0 percent commissions probably have hidden fees. $100 Buys 59.65.

Exception! Nonewith all the other options available for exchanging currency, we say avoid this scenario.

*All calculations were done on the same day and are based on the interbank euro to dollar rate of 1.2994. Exact figures will vary depending on the situation.

SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL:

Vacation inspiration, exclusive deals, tips, and more.


what bank does best buy use for credit

George's answer is excellent.

To expand a bit on which is better, just based on my experience with a handful of regional/national banks and a couple different credit unions:

Many credit unions are small, local banks.

  • This can be great if you want a personal relationship with CU employees -- you may be able to get flexibility when applying for a loan, for example.
  • The downside is they may not have hours that are as convenient, the online banking may be missing features (or just plain missing), etc -- they just don't have as much in terms of resources as large national banks.
  • They may not belong to a large ATM network. If you use your ATM frequently you'll pay more in fees at the terminal.
  • They may not have a call center, staffed 24x7, by people far away. You decide whether this is good or bad.

Larger credit unions have more resources to cancel some or all of those downsides, but then they have more fees.

Large national banks have branches all over, ATMs everywhere, are open at the supermarket on weekends and evenings, and have really slick online banking. You pay for this (sometimes excessively, it seems) in fees. When you have to talk to someone, you may be lucky enough to have a personal relationship with someone at your local branch, but you are just as likely to get a drone at a call center who is powerless to actually fix anything for you.

Everything I said above for small credit unions goes for small, local banks.

What's better or worse depends on which of those things above are more important to you.


Credit Unions vs. Banks #8211; Differences, Pros #038; Cons

At a time when banks are making record profits and customers are paying higher fees, many people are seeking financial institutions that will help them save money. One such institution could be your local credit union.

Credit unions offer numerous financial products that help people maximize their incomes and increase their savings, often with fewer or lower fees than traditional banks. But these institutions also have disadvantages which may make them unappealing to some banking customers.

Credit unions are similar to traditional banks in the sense that both institutions offer financial products to customers. Credit union members, like bank customers, have access to checking and savings accounts, CDs, loan products, and credit cards.

However, credit unions differ from larger banking chains in two distinct ways:

  1. One key difference is that a credit union is a not-for-profit institution. Since credit unions operate as nonprofits, they can offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and CDs, and lower interest rates on loan products and credit cards.
  2. Another important distinction is that credit unions are member-focused institutions. A credit union is a cooperative, which means it is owned and operated by its members, as opposed to being owned by its stockholders like a bank. Your initial membership deposit makes you a part owner of the credit union and gives you a say in the credit union’s decisions.

Because of this ownership structure, potential members have to meet membership requirements that vary depending on the credit union’s objective. For example, a corporation’s credit union may only accept employees and their immediate family members. A credit union for teachers, on the other hand, may accept any teacher who works for a certain school district. A few credit unions have more relaxed requirements and may simply request that members live in a certain city or area.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) manages a database of credit unions. You can search the Find a Credit utility on the NCUA’s website to see if you qualify for a credit union in your area.

If you pass the membership requirements, credit unions have a lot to offer over a regular bank:

Credit unions offer more bang for your buck over traditional banks. They typically pay higher interest rates on all deposit accounts including savings, money market, and checking accounts. These rates range anywhere from 4 to 10 times the amount in interest you would receive from your local commercial bank. Only online banks offer rates that are competitive or, in some cases, better than the rates offered by credit unions.

2. Lower Loan Credit Card Rates

Credit unions offer the same financial products as banks, but they are much cheaper. Most people use their local credit union for car purchases because the rate is normally lower than dealer financing and because commercial banks are normally a percentage point or two higher than credit unions. Credit unions also offer relatively low APRs on mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards.

Credit unions have few fees compared to national banks. In fact, many offer checks, withdrawals, and electronic transactions free of charge. Many also offer checking accounts with no minimum balance and without a monthly account servicing charge. This could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Credit unions do charge bounced check and overdraft fees like traditional banks, but the amount is typically less. For example, most commercial banks charge $35, but my local credit union only charges $24.

With traditional banks, the management and board of directors want to make as large a profit as possible. Unfortunately, this goal often contradicts the goals of its customers, who want to enjoy low rates, fees, and the best customer service possible. In order to provide this level of service, banks must cut into their profits, which they’re not inclined to do.

However, due to the unique membership structure of a credit union, all members have an equal vote in any decisions made by the credit union, and they all work to serve one another. In other words, member goals aren’t at odds with “management.9rdquo; Therefore, the credit union has more incentive to provide low rates, fees, and great customer service.

My first checking account was with a credit union. When I visited, I always got help right away and my teller not only remembered my name, but recognized me on sight. At the traditional bank where I also had an account, there was always a line for the ATM and I was hard-pressed to find a teller who even recognized me, let alone remembered my name.

Because credit unions have small branches, they can offer fast and personal service. Many credit unions even assign one person to work with you. If you visit the branch often, you can develop a working relationship and often receive personalized service from the same person something large banks have a hard time offering.

If you have a blemished credit history or issues with your employment, or lack a large deposit, most banks will deny you a loan or credit card. Since banks process thousands of applications a month, they streamline the process by setting requirements on income, credit scores, and deposits. If you don’t meet these requirements, you are simply declined without further consideration since one lost customer means little to a large bank in the long run.

On the other hand, because credit unions are smaller and have a member-focused philosophy, they are more willing to work with you even if you have a troubled financial past. A credit union may also make exceptions for existing members in good standing should any unexpected issues arise with your application for a loan or credit.

Most credit unions offer checking and savings accounts with simple, easy-to-follow terms. For example, my former credit union offered free checking. Every deposit, debit card purchase, and check withdrawal came free as well. They also offered a free savings account, provided I maintained a minimum balance of $5.

Many traditional banks also offer free checking and savings accounts, but they come with loads of rules and provisions. For example, I have a “free9rdquo; checking account with my bank, but in order to keep it free, I need to make at least 12 signature purchases with my debit card each month, write 10 checks, or set up 2 direct deposits into the account. I also have a “free9rdquo; savings account, but to keep it, I have to make 2 withdrawals of at least $500 from my checking account into my savings account each month. If I don’t meet that requirement, I earn less interest for the month. It is these kind of restrictions and inconveniences that give a leg up to credit unions.

Disadvantages of a Credit Union

Despite the easy rules and low rates, credit unions have a few drawbacks as well.

Credit unions offer fewer financial products than larger national banks. For example, Bank of America currently offers 5 different types of checking and savings accounts, 29 different credit cards, and a host of loan and investment products. In comparison, the credit union where I live offers only 2 types of checking and savings accounts, 2 credit cards, one mortgage loan, one personal loan, and one auto loan.

With less to choose from, you don’t have as much freedom. By going with a larger bank, you can select the financial products that suit you best, which could mean lower fees or more rewards.

2. Inconvenience with Less Locations

I left my credit union because they only had three physical branches and a sub-par online banking system. Once I moved away from the primary branch, I had no way to visit the bank. I could still mail in the occasional personal check to be deposited, but it just became too much of a hassle.

Credit unions work on a smaller scale than most banks, and that can mean inconvenience. In addition to having a limited number of branches, most credit unions keep shorter business hours than other banks, and offer fewer ATM machines.

Credit unions don’t always keep up with the latest in banking technology. In the past few years, banking has gone almost entirely online. With my national bank, I can view my current balance, transfer funds, apply for credit cards and loans, or pay bills all in an easy-to-use, online interface. I’ve also elected to receive my statements electronically and I linked my Mint.com account to my bank for budgeting purposes.

While my credit union did offer online banking, it was primitive at best. I could log on and see my recent account activity, or transfer funds to another credit union account, but could do little else.

Credit unions often don’t have the necessary funding to build a large online presence, so they typically don’t offer many web-based features. And because they’re smaller than most traditional banks, they don’t always work with budgeting software like Mint.com or You Need a Budget.

Final Word: Who Should Use a Credit Union?

Credit unions offer free or low-fee basic accounts enough options for basic banking users who simply need to deposit paychecks, pay bills, and make debit card purchases. Many credit union members love the personalized service they get and save hundreds of dollars on fees or from lower interest rates on loans and credit cards.

But credit unions may not work for someone who wants specialized financial products and advanced online services, or who needs their financial institution to have multiple or national locations. If you’re looking for a checking account that offers rewards, for example, you may not be happy with a credit union. Or if you’re constantly on the road and want access to fee-free ATMs and teller interaction, you may be better off with a national bank.

There’s also the corporate structure of a bank to compare against the member-centric structure of a credit union. For some people, this feature alone is enough for them to bank at a credit union in spite of potential inconveniences.

Do you bank with a credit union? Have has your overall experience been like compared to a commercial bank?