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On this site there are tons of great, in-depth reviews of all sorts of credit cards and they can do wonders to save you time and effort when you are looking for just the right card to meet your needs. Sometimes it can be a daunting task to figure out where to begin if you are wanting to find cards that, for example, give you more “freedom” or “flexibility.”
Those are distinct card benefits we all want, but they are after all, pretty broad and rather intangible. Liberty, as a nation, means something we all can comprehend. Getting flexible in yoga class is easy to understand, too- but which plastic makes us more nimble and free-flowing? Sure, there are many standard categories, like gas cards, travel cards, cash-back rewards cards, and balance transfer cards, there’s even the Chase Freedom issued by Chase. What exactly does credit card independence look like to you, as a consumer?
In the spirit of American Independence Day, here are some traits inspired by the Amendments to the United States Constitution that may help you narrow down your search criteria. So this 4th of July you can celebrate your freedom by more easily categorizing the plastic that delivers that priceless and sometimes elusive trait of cardholder liberty.
Freedom of Speech
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression, and credit cards that let you customize them with your own brand offer their own version of personal messaging. Did you know, for example, that many card issuing companies let you upload your own photos or graphics that will be printed onto your plastic, free of charge? Put your own smiling face on there or flash pictures of your adorable children or loyal pets every time you pay by credit card. Or you can promote your business with a logo or inspire yourself to save for vacation by carrying a card with a photo of a favorite beach destination. The choice is yours.
Freedom to Assemble
Americans also have the right to freely gather together. What is your particular tribal affiliation? If it’s popular with lots of other credit card customers you may be able to select a card that boasts about it. If you are a raving fan you can show your team support, for example, with credit cards designed with official MLB, NFL or NBA logos and colors. You can also find cards that express support and solidarity with everything from colleges to charitable causes. So if you are a “joiner” then join the millions of cardholders whose plastic represents their particular group and community.
Right to a Speedy Trial
One of the important amendments states that when you are being judged the process should be swift and efficient, not painstakingly long and dragged out forever while you await the outcome. How does that relate to credit card choices? Well , if you want to apply for a new credit card but you hate waiting around to find out if your application was accepted, select one of the cards that offers an immediate online response. There are even cards that do not require a credit check and they will virtually guarantee that your application is instantly accepted.
Freedom from Excessive Fines
Part of the Eighth Amendment liberates Americans from excessive fines. Sure, that’s related to being bailed out of jail and freed from cruel and unusual punishment, but when you are slammed by high fees and penalties on your credit card that can feel pretty cruel and excessive too. So why not shop for a card that offers highly competitive interest rates or an attractive zero percent introductory period for purchases and/or balance transfers? If you carry prepaid plastic, by the way, there are also great prepaid cards that won’t nickel and dime you to death – and to debt – just because you conduct lots of transactions each month.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Life and liberty are profound, serious ideas. Pursuit of happiness is not to be taken lightly either, and these universal human rights are the hallmarks of true democracy. We don’t want to diminish those ideas in any way by relating them to credit cards in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner. Yeah, it can feel as though your ability to seek happiness and enjoy freedom is sometimes restricted by uptight credit card company policies, and that can be a real pain in the neck. How infuriating is it, for instance, when you go to cash in your hard-earned travel rewards and the airline tells you that you cannot use them when you want to because of blackout dates and other nitpicky restrictions? That’s not cool, but you can fight back by switching to one of the many awesome credit cards that lets you accumulate robust rewards and then cash them in without any restrictions, any time, on whatever airline you want to use. Oh yeah, that feels liberating!
So although money management is not always a 4th of July picnic, especially during a challenging economic period, there are some smart, innovative and creative ways that you can make it much easier to enjoy your financial freedom on your own individual terms.