Learning About Credit Cards Just For Seniors

by Bethany
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After you’ve worked for decades, you may be ready to retire and spend your golden years traveling the world with your family. Alternatively, you may be interested in staying home and working as long as possible. The choice is completely yours! Regardless of the path you go, there are credit cards designed to help you pay for the next chapter in your life. The most important thing to do when looking at the available options is to find the right one for you.

Important questions to ask prior to applying for the credit card include questions about your goals for the next several years. For example, will you have a limited fixed income, or will you have a higher income? How is your health? Do you plan on spending a lot of money on gifts or travel expenses for friends and family? Questions to these answers will be an excellent guide for selecting a credit card as well as future planning in other areas.

Once you have the answers to these questions, take a look at the variety of credit cards available for your situation. There are a variety of cards, each with different benefits, such as cards with special balance transfer rates. If you plan on using the card frequently, you may be interested in a rewards card, which gives you cash, special discounts, or other prizes simply for using it. Also keep in mind that the right card for you now may change in a few years. If so, you can always consider transferring the balance to a different card.

Credit Cards Just For Seniors

In addition to cards tailored for seniors, you can also find a card designed exclusively for seniors. The American Association of Retired Persons credit card from Chase requires an AARP membership number before you can apply. This effectively ensures that the card remains geared towards those over the age of 50, as anyone younger than that is not a customer. This makes sure the advantages of the card are something AARP members are interested in, as they’re the only customers. The only exception is if you, as the primary applicant, is an AARP member. If so, your spouse will be a member as well and may also apply.

While benefits and rewards for the AARP card change, they generally include cash rewards, low balance transfer APR, or even zero balance transfer interest for a year. Their current offer, as of early 2018, is 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations as well as 1% cash back for other purchases. These rewards add up, especially if you travel by car and eat out frequently. This card is ideal for the retiree looking to stay within the United States, as there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. So if you’re looking to travel the continental United States by car, you’ll definitely want to consider this credit card from Chase.

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Credit Card Benefits

You may be wondering what sort of benefits are available with a credit card. Other than not having to use cash for a purchase, is there any reason to use one? Some of the ‘hidden’ benefits of having a credit card include the ability to repair and build your credit score. This can be done by transferring higher balances onto a card with zero APR for a limited time, helping you pay less when making payments on time. Another benefit of a card is the ability to pay for things when cash is not available. Whether you’ve accidentally left the cash at home or are in a difficult situation, the card is a temporary substitute which can help you finance life.

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Comparing Credit Cards

Consider your previously defined needs when comparing one card to another. If you have a limited income, you’ll want an option with the lowest interest rate possible. This will keep your payments down while helping you pay off your charges. If you have the ability to pay the card off right after using it, you’ll be served well with a rewards card, such as cash back or travel points. By paying the card off immediately, you won’t pay any interest and you’ll accrue rewards at the same time. Of course, situations can change, so when comparing, remember that you’re not locked for life into your chosen card. You can always apply for a different one if your financial situation requires it down the road.

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Credit Cards With Cash Back

If you’re looking to receive cash back from your various types of purchases, you have options from major names such as Capital One, Barclay, American Express, and Chase. Some of the credit cards which offer cash back also offer the benefit of zero foreign transaction fee. An example of this type of card is the Capital One QuickSilver card, which provides 1.5% cash back on all transactions. Other cards which provide cash back include the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card as well as the Citi Double Cash card. These cards may have annual fees or higher interest rates, but if you pay the card off before the grace period ends, you’ll end up making more than you spend.

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Credit Cards With Travel Points

If you’re more interested in using travel points as a reward for your spending, you may be interested in a card such as the Capital One Venture card. If you have a specific airline you prefer to use, you can apply for a card from that airline. Examples include the Delta SkyMiles card, which is handled by American Express. If you fly the friendly skies with Alaska Airlines, Visa may be able to approve you for miles when using the card. You’ll often earn 1 mile per $1 spent, but this varies by company and category, so check for current information before applying.

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Redeem Credit Card Points

When it’s time to redeem the points you’ve earned on your credit card, each company has their own method. Some cards, such as the Capital One Venture card, allow you to redeem them as desired throughout the year. Cards with cash back rewards may send reward checks out once a year. An example of this would be the Costco Citi card from Visa, which sends out reward checks the first week of February. American Express Blue Cash, however, allows you to redeem the points at any time through their rewards site. Other cards allow you to apply points or cash back towards your balance, allowing you to pay your card down with rewards earned by using it.

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Use Credit Cards During Retirement

Regardless of the card you choose or the options, the key to successful credit card use during retirement is to stay within your budget and make timely payments. This will help you avoid excess fees, build your credit, and have credit available for when you either want or need it. If you plan on traveling, you may want to consider setting up an automatic payment, allowing you to pay the bill even when away from home. Before traveling abroad, consider contacting the issuer to let them know. This can help you avoid a surprise purchase denial due to fraud concerns.