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Credit cards are incredibly convenient, but they can also be costly. This is usually down to customers holding onto the same card with the same provider for year after year, without seeing what else is available on the market.
Of course you don’t want to go too far in the other direction and switch cards more often than is necessary. So how can you schedule your credit card switch so that the timing is spot-on?
When’s the Best Time to Switch to a New Credit Card?
Consider the state of the market at the moment
The best credit card deal is one which has the lowest possible rate of interest, and the biggest number of inclusive perks for customers.
Rates are obviously impacted by your own status and credit history, but will also fluctuate according to the wider market and the economic pressures that are being exerted upon it at any one time.
The simple rule of thumb is that if you’ve had your current card for a year or two, and rates are low, making a switch could save money you on your repayments.
Use your credit card’s expiry date as a reminder to check out other options
This date is clearly displayed so that you know when your current card is due to be renewed; just be warned that unless you act earlier, your existing provider will send out a replacement so that you’re not left without quick access to credit on the go.
As the expiration date looms near, you can delve into the other options available to you. It might be that you’re still on the best deal, but if not it’s always sensible to switch.
Think about upcoming purchases
Even if you’ve still got time left on your current credit card deal, it could be savvy to move your account elsewhere in the case that you are planning to make a major purchase in the near future.
The reason for this is simple; plenty of providers incentivise customers to sign up by letting them enjoy low or no interest on purchases made within the introductory period. This means you could avoid any interest in the short term, and as long as you keep up with repayments you may save quite a bit.
Explore your spending habits
If you aren’t a regular credit card user, and you keep your balance as low as possible, then changing cards will not really make much difference to your finances.
However, if you frequently make purchases in this way, then getting a card that rewards you just for harnessing it regularly is definitely wise.
The same goes for anyone who is often jetting off to foreign climes, whether for business or pleasure. Some credit cards will levy steep fees for any transactions that take place overseas, while others are designed specifically with travelling in mind, and will be a better choice as a result.
Most importantly, you have to be responsible with how you use your credit card, because the ramifications for overspending and not paying off what you owe can be dire.
It’s perfectly possible to retain two or more cards, rather than closing accounts when you adopt a new deal. However, while this may be suitable for some, for most of us it’s more beneficial to switch over wholesale, and get the boost to our credit score that comes when we close an account, providing us with long term advantages and a glowing credit record.