A guide to choosing a credit card

Hands holding credit card and using laptop.

While credit cards sometimes get a bad rap, they are often a safe and useful financial option for lots of people. This quick guide will give you the information you need so you can decide if a credit card is right for you.

What to ask your financial institution about credit cards

Whether you’re planning on using your card to pay for a trip to London or a swanky new sofa, there are several questions you need to ask your potential credit card provider before you decide if it really is the right option for you.

For example:

· Is a credit card right for me?

· How will I pay my balance?

· What is my APR i.e. Annual Percentage Rate?

· How exactly does a credit card work?

· What is the interest rate?

· What credit limit will I get?

· Are there any fees and penalties?

Once you’ve got your answers, you’ll be able to decide if a credit card is a solid option for you. Of course, a credit card isn’t necessarily right for everyone. While they are a safe and secure method for handling money, it’s important to know that there are fees and charges associated with a credit card.

How to manage your credit card

A credit card is issued with a credit limit that’s right for you and requires a minimum payment each month to keep it ticking over. If you don’t clear your balance every month, you will pay interest.

Managing your credit card is vital to getting the most out of it. We’ve picked five useful tips to better manage your credit card.

1.Check your bills. It’s important to check your statement to make sure all of the transactions on your account were made by you. Yes, you really did spend that much money! Banking online is particularly handy as you can see how much you’ve spent at any time, as well as when the minimum payment is due. Mark that date off on your calendar so you can budget properly!

2.Plan to pay in full every month. If you clear your balance in full and on time each month you will avoid paying interest.

3.Keep within your credit limit. It’s important to note that if you go over your credit limit you will pay an overlimit fee.

4. Set up a direct debit to avoid the late payment fee and any extra fees or interest rates your credit card provider may charge.

Tips for credit card safety

Whatever you use your credit card for, you’ll want to keep it safe. While common sense goes a long way, it’s worth remembering not to write your PIN down in your phone or somewhere around your house.

If you lose your card or think it might have been stolen, contact your credit card provider right away. Lastly, check all your transactions every month to confirm that you did actually make them. Safety first!

Want a credit card?

AIB offer multiple handy ways to apply for a credit card:

· Online: If you are a registered user of AIB Internet Banking you can apply online in minutes.

· Over the phone: Call 0818 724 725 and talk to one of our experienced customer service team members.

· In person: Call into your local AIB branch and we’ll answer any questions you have and talk you through the application process.

If you have any questions about getting a credit card, ask us on Twitter or Facebook.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.