Though it gets a bad reputation at times, one-stop shopping is convenient. You can go in with one cart and find anything you're looking for with that single shopping experience. It's a time saver so you can get on with your busy life. Handling your finances can be a lot like that.
You want to find one bank that can service all your needs. It's nice to have your car loan, bank account, and even credit card all handled in one spot so you don't have to keep track of multiple phone numbers or remember which account belongs to which bank.
And while you can find that one bank for all your accounts to be in, it doesn't always make sense, especially when it comes to credit cards. Let's look at the pros and cons of being loyal to your bank.
The Pros of Getting a Credit Card Through Your Bank
There are several reasons you could be tempted to sign up for a credit card through your local bank, including:
- A brick-and-mortar place to visit: If you have a bank that's right down the street from you or in your section of town, you might find it worth the convenience. Then you can stop in and handle all your account payments at once while doing your routine banking, too. And you'll never have to worry about long wait times on the telephone because you can stop in if there's a problem.
- It will be easy to transfer funds: A lot can be lost in translation. Sometimes when you try to pay your bill at another bank, payments take forever and are occasionally lost, but when all your accounts are at the same bank, the process of making a payment is much faster and less likely to be screwed up. If it is, the error can quickly be identified in-house.
- You don't have the best credit: It can be hard to get a credit card issued to you when you have a bad or less-than-optimal credit score. The best way to get your foot in the door might be at your local bank where you already hopefully have your accounts in good standing. If you have a long-term relationship, they might be more inclined to overlook your credit score.
- Not having to create another online account: Chances are you already have an online account set up with a username and password for your bank. If you get a credit card with that same bank you will be able to check your account with your existing online profile, which will be more convenient than setting up a new one.
The Cons of Getting a Credit Card Through Your Bank
Before signing up, you should consider:
- This credit card might not offer sign-up bonuses: One of the biggest perks you can get with a credit card is the sign-up bonus. They can be worth hundreds of dollars. Many credit cards offer them, so there's no reason to get one that doesn't.
- You don't want to hurt your credit for no reason: Applying for a credit card often impacts your credit slightly by causing it to drop a little, at least for a while. You don't want to do that for something you may not be approved for. For that reason, it pays to know your credit score and also what range of credit scores are generally accepted by the card you are hoping to get.
- It might not be the best deal: While it can be convenient to have all your accounts in one place, you might be shortchanging yourself by doing so. If you don't travel much, for instance, it wouldn't make sense to sign up for a travel rewards card just because it's offered by your bank when a cashback card would make more sense for you. Also, that card could have a higher APR than some others you'd find elsewhere.
What Should You Do?
Finding the right credit card is a bit like navigating the dating world. You have to put in some effort to see what's out there. Explore your options before deciding which one to go with.
Do some research by investigating the cards being offered right now. Look at what their sign-up bonuses are, whether they have an annual fee, the APR they offer, and what kind of rewards they give their users.
Look at your credit score and decide if you have a good shot at getting some of the more elite cards with better rewards or if you should try to capitalize on your existing relationship with your bank to land a card if you have a lower credit score.
Examine what kind of lifestyle you have. Are you a would-be jet setter if travel didn't cost so much? Or are you a homebody who hardly ever leaves your city? Figuring out which card you would get the most use out of will help you decide whether you should get the one your bank is offering.
Also, you should look at how often you use credit cards. This will help you figure out if you should get one that has an annual fee. Cards with annual fees can be good deals if you use them frequently because they carry some of the best rewards. But if you don't use them enough, the rewards don't outweigh the annual fee.
Finally, explore your feelings about it. Do you have a strong sense of loyalty to your bank or its employees? Do you value convenience more than anything else, even more than racking up rewards points and other perks? If so, getting your credit card at your local bank might be the most appealing option for you.
Spend a few minutes looking online for the best current offers and talking to your bank about the benefits of getting a card through them. With a little work and some basic questions to ask yourself, you'll know what's right for you.