How to Choose a Credit Card Online
It is quite easy to apply for a Credit Card online. Most of the card issuers encourage you to apply for the card on their website - it saves them the hassle of sending over a representative. For the Card Seeker, that is you, it is advantageous to go online and compare before making a choice. You can avoid making the wrong choice in the face of the persuasive pressure that most of us buckle under, when a credit card rep is in full flow and rattling out all the discounts and airlines miles that his card is going to get you.
Use all the information available on the internet to make up your mind. Call up the card company only to clarify your doubts, or to seek a better deal (yes it is possible - most card companies will be able to waive off some fees, or cut down the interest charges if asked).
Which card suits you most is a matter of your spending habits, and paying back habits. Make sure the card will cover your essential needs - such as a good Credit Limit that can meet your expenses for a few months when you need it too. It should also allow sufficient Credit Period (typically a maximum of 50 days or more). If a card doesn't meet these basic demands, it is not worth a second look. Once these two requirements are met, you can get to the issue of credit card charges - and the extra benefits the card offers.
The two fees (I'll get to the most important charge - the interest - presently) that you'll generally be asked to pay are the one-time Joining Fee, and the recurrent Annual Fee. The credit card rep will try his best to reassure you that you'll get an equivalent or even larger benefits through the discounts and free tickets that the card will entitle you to. Take my word for it - you are unlikely to need those freebees.
Instead ask the rep to spell out their reward point system. Most credit card companies have a system for rewarding you for using their card. The best way to compare them is to try and convert them to cash equivalent. It is tricky, but even a vague conversion should give you sufficient idea whether your card purchases in a year will get you the worth of at least the annual fee. If it doesn't, you need to look elsewhere.
And now about the deal clincher - or the deal breaker - which is the Interest Charge. This charge won't matter if you have a habit of paying up your credit card bills, regularly, in full and in time. But in that case you probably don't even need a Credit Card - your ATM Card should do just fine for you. You should consider getting a credit card for what it says - to get you the Credit when you need it. The eventuality when you need your Credit Card to pay for your expenses may arrive anytime - and you may need to defer paying your credit card bills for a few weeks, or even months. If your credit card charges a high interest rate - you will end paying plenty of money in interest alone. Even a few basis points difference (100 basis point make 1 percent in interest terms) is going to work out useful in the long term. The best thing that a credit card with a low interest charge can do is to give you the mental comfort, at a time when you sorely need it.
Remember - credit card companies know this too. If there is one point they will drive a hard bargain at, it is the interest charges. If you spot a Credit Card offering a markedly below par interest rate - get it if you can. So if you are looking for a credit card online, do take a lot of interest in the interest rates.