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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014

How To Find The Best Reward Credit Card

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Looking for the best credit card for your individual spending patterns? There are several ways you can find the right card.

In the past, I've talked about a site called CreditCardTuneUp.com that analyzes your charging and payment patterns, based on the info you supply, and offers you a list of the cards that have the best rewards for you.

There's also a competitor called NerdWallet.com that I read about on The New York Times' Bucks blog. NerdWallet.com uses a slightly different method from CreditCardTuneUp to find the best card for you. I particular like that if you know your credit score, you can enter it on NerdWallet.com and that will change your list of potential best cards.

Otherwise, you simply put in info about your overall spending, along with estimates of spending in certain categories (gas, grocery/drugstore, dining) to see if you are eligible for booster shot rewards. Additional questions require you to assess if your card will be for personal or business use; whether or not you plan to pay the bill in full each month; how long you expect to keep the card; if you're willing to pay an annual fee and on and on. Basically, all kind of things to narrow down the choices.

Let me just stop and say right now that reward cards should only be used by those who pay their balances in full each month. The interest rates they charge are very high, so if you're used to carrying a balance, you're better off with a low-interest credit card from your local credit union.

I recommending using both CreditCardTuneUp and NerdWallet and comparing the results. If both sites find the same card(s) as the first, second or third choice for you, that would be great independent validation. At any rate, it sure beats picking a card based on the fancy envelope that comes in the mail, as many people do!

If you want a quick and dirty way to pick the best credit card, Mike Jelinek of The Simple Dollar has done some extensive research into the Best Reward Credit Cards of 2014. Check it out!

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