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When is the right time to change your credit card?

There are a number of scenarios where it may be beneficial for an individual to change their credit card.

For example, they may have debt on an existing credit card and could benefit from obtaining a lower interest rate elsewhere. Or, they may have a large upcoming purchase, and could benefit from an introductory 0% interest rate on a new card. Other consumers may be travelling abroad and seeking to cut their foreign transaction fees.

Meanwhile, the approximately 60% of credit card holders who repay their balance in full each month could find that a rewards or cashback card is a more useful option than their current credit card.

Reduced interest costs

A balance transfer card promises a low rate of interest for a set period of time on debt transferred from an existing credit card. In many cases the interest rate is 0%, and the period of time can be up to around 32 months.

Obtaining a balance transfer card could be a worthwhile move for any consumer with existing credit card debt. For example, a £1,000 balance on a card with an APR of 18.9%, repaid at £50 per month, would cost £190 in interest over two years. Transferring to a balance transfer card could mean the debt is repaid four months faster, assuming £50 is still paid per month.

Note, though, that although a 0% interest balance transfer card removes interest costs, the provider may charge a balance transfer fee; this would reduce the total amount saved. The fee is often up to 3% of the amount transferred.

Meanwhile, someone who is about to make a significant purchase may want to obtain a credit card that offers an introductory 0% interest rate on spending for a set period. This could reduce overall interest payments compared with those for a credit card with a higher APR.

Rewards

Since the majority of consumers who have credit cards repay them in full each month, they may want to opt for a rewards or cashback card instead of keeping their existing card. It is possible to generate up to 1% in cashback from the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card at the time of writing, for example. This cashback is deducted from an individual’s statement on the anniversary of their account opening date.

Similarly, rewards cards may be worth obtaining for consumers who frequently shop at stores where points are earned or can be redeemed. Changing credit cards to obtain a rewards or cashback card could be a sound move for those consumers repay the balance in full each month, and who therefore do not pay interest on their debt, since rewards and cashback cards can have uncompetitive rates of interest.

Reduced foreign transaction fees

A consumer who expects to travel internationally may also wish to consider changing their credit card, or at least opting for an additional card. A number of travel cards do not charge a non-sterling transaction fee. Such cards could significantly reduce the cost of spending while abroad, since non-travel credit cards charge a non-sterling transaction fee of around 3%. Since travel cards often do not have an annual fee, they may be worth considering as a second card for consumers who want to maximise their rewards or cut interest payments on their primary credit card.

Summary

Changing credit cards can be worthwhile in a number of situations: doing so can help to reduce interest payments, cut fees or even maximise rewards. With a variety of credit cards available, it may be worth considering alternative credit card options today.

Interested in improving your credit-card game? Check out our list of the best credit cards

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