New Look

New credit card features to look for

The new year is here. If turning the calendar year also means applying for a new credit card, you’re in luck — card benefits continue to improve. Here are some of the new features that you might want to look for when applying.

Customized Points

The standard of credit cards dictating how you earn rewards points is fading. In the past, a card’s fine print would explain that you can only earn a preset amount of points for preset categories. Now, some credit card companies are allowing you to set your own rewards. If you dine out a lot, you could set your card to feature the highest rewards in that category. The downside, as Marketwatch reports, is that you have to set the rewards each month. That means you could forget and therefore miss out on snagging big rewards. Nudge yourself with a calendar notification.

Loan Options

Credit cards have begun to be more flexible with credit lines. That could make it easier to use your card’s credit line for a small loan. You would have a specific amount of time to repay the loan, with interest built in. What makes this feature interesting is that your interest is usually lower than your card’s typical rate. You also don’t have to qualify for the loan, because you’re already approved for the card.

Balance Transfers

During the early days of the pandemic, balance transfer options dried up. Now they’re back, and can be a great option for paying down debt. You want a card that offers no interest for a year or more. Then you can use what you save on not paying interest to pay down the debt. Note: Keep an eye open for balance transfer fees and only go this route if you’ll save more in interest than the fees will cost.

Chris O'Shea

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