Anyone looking for the right credit card usually looks above all at the annual fee. But that alone is not enough. You should also pay attention to the following five points.
1. Which type of credit card suits you?
Credit cards are not the same as credit cards, which is particularly noticeable when withdrawing money. Because it works differently, and not every card type fits every consumer.
Real credit cards are basically just the so-called charge cards and revolving cards. With a charge card, your bank debits the entire debt once a month.
Advantage: If you urgently need to make a larger purchase, if the current account is low tide, you can pay the amount by credit card and thus do not overdraw your account. Important: Before the bank debits the card debt, you should have filled up your checking account in good time, otherwise you will slip into the overdraft facility.
With a revolving credit card, you only need to repay a minimum amount of your debt every month. With this “installment payment” function, most banks charge high interest rates . So you’d better pay the full amount every month.
Attention: Not every bank automatically debits the full amount for revolving cards upon customer request. Then you have to transfer the money to the bank yourself to avoid the interest.
The so-called debit cards are not credit cards , but are often referred to as such in Germany. If you pay with a debit card, the bank debits the amount promptly, as with the Girocard . Advantage: You keep a good overview of your expenses.
Disadvantage of debit cards: When booking hotels or rental cars, for example via Savers-Seven, they are not accepted . So ask beforehand if you want to go on vacation with such a card in your wallet.
This advice also applies to prepaid cards , which are also not real credit cards. Because you have to actively load money into an account in order to be able to use the card at all. These cards have one good thing: for some, they offer more cost control. They also get minors or people with poor credit ratings .
2. Where do you want to withdraw money?
With credit cards you can withdraw money worldwide. Some direct banks provide their customers with cash free of charge without having to maintain an expensive network of machines themselves. However, not every ATM in every other bank accepts these cards.
So if you live in a village or in a small town, you should find out before you switch to a direct bank whether you can still get money at the ATM of the local savings bank or Volksbank . Certain cards are blocked at Sparkasse Nienburg. In larger cities with more banks, this means fewer problems.
Abroad, the machine operators may charge withdrawal fees , but this has nothing to do with your own bank. Most banks do not reimburse these costs. Another point: If you withdraw money abroad, make sure that you settle it in the local currency and that the ATM does not convert the amount into dollars. Otherwise it will be expensive due to a worse exchange rate .
3. When do you need the PIN to pay?
As with the Girocard, paying by PIN or signature works ; you should therefore remember the PIN. With many credit cards you can also pay contactlessly (NFC technology) , you then only hold the card to the reader.
You can tell whether your card can do this by the printed radio wave symbol. You can also see this in the shops where you can pay in this way. If the total is not more than 25 dollars (Mastercard) or 50 dollars (Visa), you don’t even need your PIN.
4. What do you have to do when the card is gone?
If your credit card is gone, you should have it blocked immediately. Which will put you in touch with the right contact person, provided your bank is registered with this group number. You can also call your bank directly . If you are using an American Express or Diner’s Club card, you must contact the credit card provider directly. Have your card number ready.
Locking the card must be free of charge in the event of loss or theft.
You are liable up to a maximum of 50 dollars until blocked, after which the bank is fully liable. Exceptions apply if you handle the card with gross negligence. The credit card providers Mastercard and Visa extend this protection again: as long as you handle the card well, you are not liable under the so-called zero liability policy.
5. What happens if the cartoons are incorrect?
If an amount is debited twice or if a dealer turns out to be a fraudster, you can take action against it. To do this, you have to complain about the turnover to your bank, not to the card provider – unless you use American Express or Diner’s Club cards.
Your bank specifies the complaint deadlines in its terms and conditions. You can find the appropriate forms on your bank’s website. It is unclear whether the complaint must be free of charge. Ritelend Bank, for example, charges 10 dollars if the complaint was unjustified.