A credit card can be great financial cover for all your occasional living expenses. From buying the latest electronic gadget to filling up your vehicle’s fuel tank, this piece of plastic is a practical financial tool that’ll serve you well when used responsibly.

With an array of options to choose from, zeroing in on the right card that matches your lifestyle can get tiresome and overwhelming. The key to finding the right credit card completely depends on knowing what you really need the card for, how you’re going to use it every day, and what benefits you’re expecting in return for using it.

So, if you’re in the market for a new credit card, here’s a list of things that you’d do well to keep in mind before you apply for one:


  • Payment convenience and flexibility


Although the process of getting a credit card can get difficult at times, having to pay its bills should never be an inconvenient task. Always choose a card with a convenient repayment option, whether it’s online banking or a physical payment location near your home. Any missed payments will only add to your overall interest and leave a negative mark on your credit history.


  • Fees and charges


You can never be too careful with all the fees and charges of a credit card. From finance charges for withdrawing cash to additional fees on overseas transactions, there’s plenty of numbers that you need to be aware of so you’re not shocked when you go through your monthly statement. More importantly, you need to be aware of your card’s interest rate, credit limit, annual fee, and the interest-free period, if any.


  • Lifestyle-related choice


In Malaysia, there are a number of credit cards focusing on multiple lifestyle needs and spending habits, including cashback cards, rewards cards, air miles cards, and even annual fee waiver cards. It’s always important that you choose a credit card that gives you the most based on your lifestyle.


Take a look at what each credit card is about and what it offers so you can make a better decision:

  • Air miles cards: The card of choice for frequent flyers and avid travellers, air miles cards give you points based on every RM1 that you spend either locally or overseas. These points can be redeemed against airline tickets or upgrades. The terms and conditions for each air miles card can differ according to the issuing bank.
  • Cashback cards: When you need spending privileges in the form of cash rebates, a cashback credit card is the way forward. When you spend using this card, you get a percentage of your money back as a cash rebate. This percentage is based on the issuing bank’s cashback rate.
  • Rewards cards: This card is designed for the shopaholic in you. For every RM1 spent using this card, you’ll get bonus points that you can redeem for rewards in multiple categories, such as fashion accessories, clothing, appliances, etc.

Although there are an endless amount of options when it comes to each category of credit cards, figuring out what you need from the card is the first step toward finding the right one for you. Remember to always choose a card with features and benefits that help you save more.

Applying for a line of credit in any form always requires due diligence and should never be taken lightly. As with most good things in life, timing is vital. To ensure that your credit card application stands the best chance of approval, it’s important that you find the right time to apply for it.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way so you’re less likely to damage your credit score at any point in time:


  • Pick the best card


There’s no dearth of options when it comes to buying a credit card. From rewards and cashback offers to travel perks and sign-up bonuses, there can be plenty of things that can tempt you. This doesn’t mean that you apply for multiple cards to fuel all your desires. The problem with multiple applications is that your credit score gets affected negatively. Once your credit score drops, the likelihood of your application getting rejected increases drastically. Remember to do all your research beforehand and pick out the best card.


  • Avoid other lines of credit


If you need a bigger loan in the near future, you should put off your credit card application at once. Borrowing more money when you have credit can be a bad indicator to any lender. Consequently, seeking other lines of credit while applying for a credit card can hamper your chances of getting any kind of loan and the card too.


  • Use it to finance a large purchase


Most credit cards in Malaysia come with interest-free financing when it comes to large spends at partner outlets. So, if you buy an expensive item using the card, you can split the amount into smaller monthly instalments that are more affordable.


  • Benefit from a sign-up bonus


If you do your research properly, you’ll be able to find a number of credit cards offering sign-up bonuses. However, there’s usually a minimum spend associated with such cards to get the full bonus. In such a situation, pick a card with a good sign-up bonus to help finance a large purchase. This way, you’ll get the bonus and save on the purchase too.


  • Don’t do it for excess funds


If your biggest reason to apply for a credit card is a lack of funds, you need to check other options. If you already have another card, check with the existing card company if your credit limit can be revised.

When you consider any financial facility, shopping around and doing a fair bit of research goes a long way in helping you get the best deal. In much the same way, finding a good card and applying for it at the right time is crucial to the chances of your application getting approved.