How To Choose The Right Credit Card

It’s not always easy to choose the right credit card. With the number of different rewards programs, interest rates, and cash-back options, finding the right card can be a real challenge.

I was in Toronto two weeks ago celebrating with other bloggers as RateHub.ca launched a new credit card comparison tool. During the event, we got the chance to try out the new tool, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I learned I wasn’t using the best credit card.

Want to choose the right credit card? Try RateHub.ca’s new credit card tool

My primary card is the Gold American Express. I’ve had it for a few years, and it’s my favorite for travel rewards. I love the Amex point system, the car rental insurance, and the special perks like front-of-the-line “early” access to concert tickets or deals on other events or gift packages. However, American Express is not accepted everywhere, and it seems the number of merchants that do accept it are steadily declining. When Costco ditched Amex this year, we could no longer accumulate points on groceries, which is some of my fiancé’s and I biggest monthly spending. As a result, my points earning ability on Amex is dwindling.

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I also have a MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard, which I use whenever a store doesn’t accept American Express, but that card’s rewards are also lacking. They cap rewards at a certain amount of spending per month and for some purchases, don’t hand out any points at all. It used to be better, but the card has undergone two changeovers in the time I’ve been a customer and it’s gotten progressively worse. When they changed their online platform and I couldn’t log-in for the past 2 months, I was finally frustrated enough to cancel the card. I called them a few days ago and am now just waiting for the confirmation of the closed account to come in the mail. Good riddance.

But I NEED to choose the right credit card!

So I’ve been on the hunt for a Visa or Mastercard to replace it. Originally I was wooed by the RBC WestJet Rewards card, which ranked high in MoneySense’s comparison of credit cards. Well, apparently it wasn’t that in-depth because it missed the best card for me. Thankfully, RateHub helped me find one that works… once I scroll past all the American Express cards.

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The results of the RateHub credit card comparison tool for my spending and rewards profile

I’m applying for the BMO World Class Mastercard as soon as confirmation of my MBNA cancellation comes through. Once I have my new card, I’ll use up the rewards on my American Express (my fiancé and I have lots of travel planned this year!) and then cancel that card as well.

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Comparison of the credit card I’m currently using (Gold Amex) to the one I am switching to (BMO World Elite)

Compared to my Amex Gold card, I have a lot to gain. The BMO World Elite Mastercard has the same annual fee as the Amex, will be accepted more places, AND I’m not giving up the extra perks I loved about my Gold Amex, like travel insurance, car rental insurance, and purchase protection. I won’t be getting front-of-the-line access to concert tickets or this great little discounted gift perks, but because there’s so much dollar rewards to gain, I don’t think I’ll miss them.

Credit card rewards work for me because I never carry a balance on my cards. Credit card debt is expensive — a 20% interest rate is NOT worth ANY rewards the credit card could possibly be giving you. If you have debt, stay away from credit cards until you pay it off!

Between travel and the wedding, I’m making some major dollar purchases this year, and I want to maximize my rewards wherever possible. Now I’m certain I was able to choose the right credit card for me.

What credit card do you use? What rewards are most important to you? Did RateHub’s credit card tell you you’ve got the right card or the wrong one like me?