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Credit Card Basics

Why Getting a New Credit Card Is a Good Idea

If you've had the same credit cards in your wallet for a while, it might be a good time to ask yourself whether you should get a new credit card. A new credit card can potentially unlock access to a number of benefits and savings you're not taking advantage of—and it can even improve your credit scores. Worried that getting a new card will hurt your already exceptional credit score? Think again. Below, we'll explain why getting a new credit card could be your next smart financial move.

You Can Increase Your Credit Card Rewards Earnings

If you haven't gotten a new rewards card in a while, it's worth taking another look at what's out there. The credit card landscape has become increasingly competitive in recent years, with issuers adding all sorts of intro bonuses and perks to sweeten the pot. Many travel rewards cards now offer benefits like fee credits for trusted traveler programs. Intro bonuses are impressively high, and there are a number of new cards that let you maximize your rewards earnings based on how you spend.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, is offering a 60,000 point intro bonus after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within three months of opening the account. That's worth $750 in travel purchases. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card not only lets you earn 2 miles per $1 spent on every eligible purchase, it also offers a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.

To find the best rewards cards for your needs, check out the best rewards cards available through Experian CreditMatch™.

You Can Save Money on Qualifying Interest

If you typically carry a balance on your credit cards, it's smart to shop for the card with the lowest interest rate possible. Your credit scores may have improved since the last time you applied for a card, which means you probably qualify for cards at lower rates now. Or you may be able to take advantage of a promotional rate that can save you money as you pay down your debt.

For example, a number of cards currently offer generous introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) financing. That means you can put your spending on one of these cards and pay off the debt during a promotional financing period without paying any interest. For example, the Wells Fargo Platinum card is offering a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, one of the longest intro periods available.

Find some of the best low interest credit cards for your needs.

Unsure how to determine whether you qualify for the right credit card for your needs? Sign up for Experian's CreditMatch™ for free. It will pair you with the credit cards you qualify for based on your FICO® Score* . Once you are matched with cards, you can compare them by features and card type.

You Can Improve Your Credit Scores

One of the common myths associated with opening a new credit card is that it will hurt your credit score. In fact, opening a new card—whether your credit score is already excellent or needs a little work—can actually help your credit in the long run. That's because a new line of credit can actually improve your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of credit you use in relation to the amount of credit you have available to you. This is one of the most important factors in calculating your credit scores.

Your credit utilization ratio is calculated by adding all your credit card balances at any given time and dividing that by your total credit limit. For example, if you typically have total balances of about $2,000 each month, and your total credit limit across all your cards is $10,000, your utilization ratio is 20%. But if you add another card to your wallet (increasing your total credit limit) but keep your spending the same, your utilization ratio will decrease.

Experts suggest keeping your utilization ratio below 30% and, for the best scores, below 6%.

You can get your FICO® Score from Experian to see where your utilization ratio currently stands.

Now, if you're concerned that a hard inquiry on your credit report will drag your credit scores down, take comfort. Typically, a hard inquiry for a new credit card only sets your score back a few points for a short period of time, generally less than 12 months. Your score rebounds from a hard inquiry pretty quickly. As long as you're not applying for multiple new lines of credit at once and paying your bills on time, your credit scores are safe.

What's more, a diversity of different types of credit on your credit report is also a good thing. Credit mix is one of the factors that go into determining your credit scores, and if you can demonstrate that you can handle a variety of accounts, your scores will benefit.

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