This article originally appeared at Union Plus.
You’re not happy, but you are afraid to leave. You wonder if there is anything better out there but you don't have the energy to look.
No, we’re not talking about a relationship or a job here. We're talking about your credit card. It’s very common to hold onto a credit card for years, even if it’s not serving you well anymore.
You may have become complacent, or you’re worried about what switching credit cards might do to your credit. But by not considering other options, you may be missing out on something much better.
Here are five reasons you may be stuck in a card that’s not right for you:
- A new card will hurt my credit score: One of the main reasons consumers are afraid to shop around is the fear that doing so will hurt your credit score. There will be an inquiry on your credit report, but that only shaves a few points off your score (usually in the range of 3–7 points) and after a year, that inquiry won’t count. And while opening a new account may cause your credit score to dip a little, the effect (if any) should be temporary. Pay it on time and keep your balances low and things will even out in a couple of months or so.
- Rejection will hurt my credit: Getting turned down doesn’t hurt your credit score. In fact, no one except you and the lender will know you were turned down since credit reports don’t list the fact that an application was denied. Yes, there will be an inquiry, but again, that should only be a few points off your score.
- Switching is a hassle: Not anymore. Most card issuers will make it easy for you to apply online or by phone, and you will usually get a decision within minutes.
- I’m overwhelmed: That’s a common reaction when you start trying to compare all the hundreds of card offers out there. Keep it simple: if you pay your bill in full, look for a straightforward rewards card. Carry a balance? Look for a low-rate card you can use to transfer your balances and get out of debt faster. In both cases, a card with no annual fee will save you even more.
- It’s just not worth it: Would it be worth $600 to switch cards? One expert estimates that’s how much the average rewards card user leaves on the table each year! If you carry a balance, a low-rate card may save you that much or even more in interest charges if you transfer the balance. Even if you only save $50, why not put that money in your pocket?
This article was written by Gerri Detweiler, a nationally recognized consumer advocate and director of consumer education for Credit.com, one of the Web’s leading personal finance websites. She is also the author and co-author of a number of books on credit and the host of TalkCreditRadio.com.
Ms. Detweiler’s opinions, analyses, reviews and evaluations provided here are hers alone. Union Privilege compensated Ms. Detweiler for authoring this article.
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