This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Focus On The Basics When Picking Your Credit Cards

If you have an average-sized or big family, for instance, there are several cash back cards that offers some highly-competitive cash back percentages on categories such as supermarket spending, department-store and gas-station purchases. Chances are, you spend a fortune in supermarkets and department stores. And you probably have to top up your gas tank regularly, what with you being an unpaid taxi driver for your kids.

If you're young, single, don't have a car, always eat out, and wouldn't be seen dead in a department store, then rewards in those categories would be a very poor pick for you.

Airline credit cards

The same applies with other sorts of plastic. Of course, few people with a morbid fear of flying have airline credit cards. That would be too silly. But quite a lot more probably have one when they don't need it. Unless you take to the air frequently and so earn lots of miles at premium rates, what's the point in earning 1-percent rewards on "other purchases" on an airline card when you could be earning 3 percent or more on a general one?

Of course, if you're a frequent flier, airline credit cards can be very rewarding. But you still have to ask yourself which card is best for you. For example, you can often trade off a higher annual fee for better rewards and privileges, including accessing lounges and cutting airport lines. There is no objective, empirically correct answer to these sorts of issues. If you're a Spartan sort who greets discomfort with steely stoicism, then no number of perks is going to see you part with a cent. But if you're the ultimate, self-indulgent diva -- or divus, if you're a male Latin scholar* -- then you might well be prepared to pay three-figure annual fees, even if you rarely fly, in order to make your trips more comfortable.

The point

The point of this article isn't to push you to do anything -- other than to think carefully when you choose your credit cards. You know yourself and your habits, and your goal should be to use that self-knowledge to pick the particular pieces of plastic that are going to make your life better. Fail to do that, and one day soon -- the way technology's moving -- you could end up with a credit card with a flexi crevice tool.

2 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs