How to Choose the Right Credit Card for Back to School Shopping

With summer winding down, many West Michigan residents are getting ready to head back to school. That means shopping for school supplies, clothing, electronics and even new vehicles.

Back-to-school is the second-biggest shopping season of the year in total dollars spent, second only to the holiday season. This year, 29 million back-to-school shoppers will spend $27.6 billion this year or $510 per household, compared to $501 per household last year, according to a new report by Deloitte.

creditcards.pngTo entice shoppers, many retailers are offering special sales and bargains. They also promote store credit cards that reward shoppers with perks like discounts and reward points to use towards future purchases. Retailers understand that many shoppers want to use credit for back-to-school purchases. This year, according to the Deloitte report, 44% of consumers will use their credit cards for back-to-school purchases, while 57% will use their debit cards. Gen Xers are most likely to use credit cards, while Millennials prefer to use their debit cards.

To help finance back to school shopping and take advantage of deals, some shoppers – including parents and teens –sign up for new credit cards from retailers, as well as banks and credit unions. While many of these cards offer favorable interest rates, perks and customer support, shoppers should still take careful consideration before they apply for cards and start charging.  Some cards come with hefty fees, high interest rates and steep penalties.

To protect yourself and choose the best card for you, here are some questions to consider when signing up for a credit card:
 
  • What is the introductory APR and, after that period expires, what is the rate?
  • Is there an annual fee?  
  • Can you transfer a balance and, if so, what is the interest rate on that amount?
  • What is your spending limit?
  • What kind of rewards or perks are associated with the card?
  • Can you carry a balance and, if so, what are the interest rates?
  • Is there a penalty for late payments?
  • What protections are offered when you travel, or when your card is lost or stolen? 
At Arbor Financial Credit Union, we’ve asked our members to share their top priorities and concerns about credit cards. With that feedback in mind, we’ve designed two Visa cards that give our members maximum perks, flexibility and security. Our Arbor Financial’s Visa Rewards card offers serious perks, while our VISA Advantage card boasts one of the lowest interest rates anywhere.

To keep your account secure, both our Rewards and Advantage cards come equipped with encrypted chip technology that offers an extra level of protection. If your card is lost or stolen, call us immediately at 269.375.6702 or 800.442.7340.  If you’re travelling, give us a call in advance, and let us know you’ll be using your card in another location. That way, you can keep using your card and your card won’t be flagged or blocked until your authorization can be confirmed.

We understand our members want seamless, secure ways to use their credit cards on their mobile devices and online, so our credit cards are integrated with the Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout and Pay apps. No need to swipe or insert your card!

Here are some highlights:

Rewards-Card-graphic.pngArbor Financial VISA Rewards Card

For members seeking easy-to-use rewards, our Visa Rewards card allows members to accumulate reward points that can be exchanged for cash back, gift cards, merchandise or travel rewards. You’ll earn points on all of your purchases and some categories boost your points: 3x points for travel and restaurants, and 2x points for gas and groceries. 

Until September 31, 2018, Arbor Financial is offering a low 2.99% APR for six months on balance transfers. Regular interest rates for purchases vary between 11% APR and 18% APR.

Upon activation of your account, you’ll receive 2,500 ScoreCard Rewards points. If you transfer a balance, you’ll be eligible for rewards points on that amount as well. To earn an additional 500 bonus points, sign up for e-statements and go paperless!

Arbor Financial VISA Advantage CardAdvantage-Credit-Card-01.jpg

For incredibly low interest rates, members can opt for our Advantage card, which offers rates for purchases between 7.75% APR and 17% APR. Until September 31, 2018, Arbor Financial is offering a low 2.99% APR for six months on balance transfers. Sign up for electronic statements and earn a $5 credit.

Credit card users can choose from hundreds of options, and back to school is a great time to consider how your cards are working for you. Ready to learn more about Arbor Financial's credit cards?Apply online or visit us at one of our branches today.
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