Are you in the market for a new credit card? If so, there are a lot of confusing options that may make it difficult when applying for a new line of credit. Is a low interest rate or cash back card better? How about credit card with rewards perks like airline miles?

Luckily, there’s an online calculator at CreditCards.com to help you figure out the best credit card for you. So how does the calculator stack up? Can it really help you pick the best payment option? We put it to the test and here’s what we found:

 

Payment Options: How It All Works

Before we dive in, let’s clear the mist about some of these payment options. Low interest cards have a lower APR than most cards. That means that if you make payments over time, you’ll pay less interest.

That’s a huge draw for these low interest cards. If you’re a “buy now, pay later” type of person, this is the card for you. If you juggle multiple credit cards, use this for large purchases.

Cash back cards can potentially put more money in your pocket at the end of every month. It’s a simple concept: swipe your card and you earn between 1-3% cash back.

While the appeal is obvious, there are a few catches. High interest rates and annual fees are common with cash back cards. On top of that, to actually get cash back, you have to use the card on specific purchases. But if you plan to only use it on purchases that qualify, the card makes can line your pockets with extra cash at the end of the month.

Airline cards, commonly called frequent flyer cards, give a mile for every dollar you spend on the card. For travelers, the card makes perfect sense — earn miles at the swipe of a card. Use it at the airport and you can make 3x the miles per swipe. Not bad for travelers, is it? The drawback is that these cards usually have higher interest rates and annual fees.

Lets see if the online credit card calculator can help you decide.

 

Cash Back or Low Interest Card

So you’re torn about picking between cash back or low interest card. Maybe you’ve heard about all of the cash you could save using a low interest card. Then again, lining your pockets with extra cash sounds enticing, too.

Let’s put them head to head using the online credit card calculator! 

Colored Graph of Cash Back and Low Interest Cards

These Number Vary From Person to Person But Provide a Good Look of the Calculator

And here’s the results of our example:

Graph of Cash back vs Low interest

The results aren’t surprising

 

So the cash back card will run you more than $50 in interest fees but in that period, you’ll receive $162 in cash back.

 

Airline Mileage Card vs Low Interest Card

So you want to travel the world on your credit card company’s dime. But then you think about paying low interest cards. You’re torn between the two. Pay less now or travel later?

Say you have a balance of $1000 and plan to make payments between $350-450 every month. We put them to the test in the credit card calculator.

Graph of Airline vs Low Interest Card

And the results?

Graph comparing airline vs low interest rate cards

If you’re not 100% in it for the miles, stick with a low interest card.

Well, the high interest rates on airline cards leave something to be desired. The low interest card will save you $59 over the course of 3 years.

Think about what kind of purchases you plan on making with the card and how you plan on paying the balance to help make a decision.

 

Minimum Balance: How Much Does It Really Cost?

We’ve all been there — made a few too many purchases and now we’re scrambling to pay when that statement arrives. You take a look at the minimum payment and temptation hits. Should you just pay the minimum or should you bite the bullet and make larger payments?

Say you’ve got a $500 balance and are forced to pay either 3% or $25 a month minimum. It will take 24 years to pay off that balance. And you’ll pay an additional $78 in interest. The higher the original balance, the higher you’ll pay in interest.

Reality sets in when you see the true cost of paying just the minimum. The lesson: don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’ll end up paying a lot more in the long run.

 

How Effective is the Online Credit Card Calculator?

All in all, the calculator at CreditCards.com does a good job of showing the ideal payment option for you.

If low interest rates or cash back are appealing, run through a few scenarios with your financial information. Shop around for the best deal with creditors — there’s usually a better deal right around the corner. And remember, all of the information will vary from person to person.

 

What Do You Think?

Cash Back or Low Interest? Have you traveled using miles from your airline card? Let us know how the calculator has helped you in the comments section!

 

See Also

4 Reasons Why It’s Better to Use Your Credit Card for Holiday Shopping
Smart Money Guide: How to Pick the Best Financial Planner for Your Needs
New Credit Card Protects Seniors from Internet Fraud and Scams

About The Author

Sean O'Connor is a writer and graduate from Loyola Marymount University. He is a self-described hoops fanatic who resides in Pasadena.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.