Are you a good fit for a credit union?
If you're in the market for a credit card, the price you pay for your plastic in annual fees and interest rates is often going to be determined by your credit score. But according to Daniel Penrod, a senior industry analyst with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues based in Ontario, Calif., customers who opt for bank-issued credit cards are likely paying more.
"In an apples-to-apples comparison, credit union card rates tend to be a full percentage point lower than their banking counterparts," Penrod says. "But, for those with damaged, little or no credit, the difference can be 5 percent to 10 percent."
According to Penrod, one key factor that helps keep credit union interest rates down is that federal law requires all federally chartered credit unions to cap credit card interest rates at 18 percent. But if you're dealing with a state-chartered credit union, it's possible for the rates to exceed 18 percent, says Pietzsch. Still, most experts agree that no matter what the cap is on rates, credit unions typically pass along much better deals to their members when it comes to credit cards.