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Using Credit Cards

Calgary Select: Using Credit Cards

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Are you using the right credit card?

34_creditcards.jpg(NC)-Credit cards come in many different varieties. Finding the right card can be confusing, if you don't know what you need.

Fortunately, there are ways to cut through the clutter. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has a handy credit card tool on its Web site (at www.fcac.gc.ca), which asks you questions and then suggests some credit cards that might "fit the bill".

If you prefer a print copy of this information, you can order FCAC's publication Credit Cards and You by calling FCAC, toll-free, at 1-888-461-3222.

While these tools can help narrow your options, it's important for you to determine your needs before you choose a card. Also, make sure you read the fine print before you sign!

Here are four tips that can help you choose the right credit card:

. KNOW YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS. How much can you afford to put on a credit card? Will you be able to pay your balance in full each month? Would you benefit from reward programs? Are you prepared to pay an annual fee?

. PICK THE CARD THAT SUITS YOU BEST. There are different types of credit cards on the market, with different interest rates and fees (low-rate, standard, student, retail or charge cards).

. SHOP AROUND. Don't take the first card offered to you. There may be a better card for you, one that will fit your financial habits and needs.

. UNDERSTAND ALL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Before you make your final choice, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of using the card, including the interest rate and what fees are charged. Don't hesitate to ask questions about anything you don't understand.

- News Canada