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Frequently Asked Questions

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What interest rate will I actually have to pay?

We display a range of Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) that you may be subject to, based on the card issuer’s determination. While this can be based on many factors, your rate will largely be determined by your credit score.

How do balance transfer rates work?

Some cards will offer low introductory rates on outstanding balances transferred from other credit cards. These rates will typically only last for a specified period of time. You should be aware that some cards will charge a balance transfer fee and that you will still eventually have to pay off the outstanding balance or be subject to finance charges once the introductory period is over.

Will I be approved?

The approval process is determined solely by the card issuers. The only way to determine if you will be approved is to submit an application.

Where do these cards come from?

All cards displayed on the SmartAsset site are live credit card offers provided directly by the card issuers. These are the same offers you can generally find on a card issuer’s web site. We aggregate offers from many issuers and allow you to objectively compare terms and rates of multiple cards.

How does my credit score affect my ability to get a credit card?

  • Credit card issuers largely base their approval process off of your credit score and credit report. A low credit score or any negative credit events could affect your ability to get a credit card.

  • Prepaid credit cards are an option for those with poor or no credit. They are basically gift cards that have a certain amount of money loaded onto them. They can be safer than carrying cash because many have some form of protection if lost or stolen. Prepaid credit cards often come with fees and do not help build or improve your credit.

How do credit cards affect my credit score?

To keep credit cards from negatively affecting your credit score, watch out for some common mistakes:

  • Each month, your credit card statement will show how much you owe and how much you must pay to remain in good standing. Paying only the minimum balance will usually mean you pay interest on the remainder.
  • Many cards will advertise an introductory APR (Annual Percentage Rate). It is often lower than most interest rates, even as low as 0%. Just be sure you know when that introductory rate ends and the rate becomes higher.
  • Credit card providers will determine a credit limit for you. This is the amount they are willing to lend you. If you max out (reach your credit limit) or get too close, this can negatively impact your credit score.

How do you calculate rewards?

Rewards are calculated using your estimated spending levels (based on your monthly credit card usage) and rewards rates as provided by credit card issuers. We calculate both your monthly rewards as well as the value of any sign-up bonus for which we estimate you would be eligible. We then deduct from this amount, any annual fees for which you would be responsible over the total time that you own the card. Any rewards in the form of points or miles are converted into dollar-equivalent rewards for ease of comparison across cards.