How To Choose A Credit Card In Malaysia?
Gone are the days when you could literally collect a stack of credit cards to fatten up your wallet. You used to be able to sign up for different cards to use for different purposes, to pump petrol, get movie tickets, coffee and even to travel.
Since 2010, the Malaysian government has put an end to the party by imposing a two-card limit for people with annual income of RM36,000 or below.
Before you lament the restriction, you can still get one card to reward you on all types of spending. You just have to know which one will best suit your needs!
Whether it’s from a certain bank, Visa, Mastercard or American Express, cards are becoming increasingly similar, making it harder to choose one. Here are some key things to consider.
Easy payment: Convenience is king
Get a card which is convenient to repay. Either via an ATM near your office or house, online banking or phone app, you should be able to repay your credit bill easily. The last thing you want is to go through the hassle of multiple money transfers, parking etc. just to pay your bills every single month.
Perks and benefits: Get a card that fit your lifestyle
Whether it’s airport lounge privileges, buy-one-free-one coffee, movie tickets or deals, chances are there’s a card for that. Prioritise your needs. If you travel overseas only once a year, it won’t do you any good to hold a travel credit card that offers fantastic perks for overseas spending. Decide on the main privileges that will save you the most money and can be used regularly. After that, you can consider if the card provider will allow you to personalise your card with a picture of your favourite football team or even, Hello Kitty.
Credit limits, charges and fees: Putting the fine in fine print
Now it’s time to look at numbers. You either love it or hate it, but this is where things literally count. Compare different cards by their different credit limits (the total amount of credit available for you to draw on), rates (interest rates or annual payment rates imposed on amounts outstanding on your credit), late charges (penalties imposed on late payment of minimum charges) and fees ranging from fees for credit card statements, going over the limit or annual fees.
Also as important are minimum payment and grace periods (the interest-free period before rates are imposed). If you typically pay your bills on schedule, you won’t have to worry about some of these charges. If you’re frequently tight on payments, every decimal point could potentially hurt you.
Pay attention to attractive rates that may only be applicable for introductory periods. They may be too good to resist initially, but try not to be swayed by rates that quickly reveal their true colours at the end of the introductory period.
Rewards, cashback and points: Save and earn
Just as tangible as the perks and benefits discussed above are rewards, cashback programmes (money back for every ringgit spent on certain items like petrol, retail outlets etc.) and points (points earned for every ringgit spent, exchangeable for stuff in a bonus point catalogue from your bank).
Do read the fine print as some of these are only applicable upon fulfilment of certain conditions such as mimimum spending per month.