First, don’t look for the best credit cards in your email box; and don’t pick out your small business credit cards from your daily junk mail. While these are often good bargains and perfectly honest companies, junk mail and email are also the way fraudulent credit card companies find their victims, or less-than-great credit card companies find customers. The best credit cards are the ones you seek out yourself. Whether you’re looking for small business credit cards or good credit cards for your personal use, be an active rather than a passive buyer.
Go to your bank and ask them if they carry credit cards, or if they can recommend a good company. Chances are, the answers will be yes, and yes. For unsecured cards, your bank may have less than great rates; but for cards secured by home equity or an equivalent security, your bank will probably have rates competitive with the best advertised prices out on the Web or television – and you have the added comfort of knowing you can trust them.
Go to the MasterCard or Visa websites and ask them for reputable card providers; they may be willing to provide you with a list. Or only apply for cards affiliated with a bank you have heard of, like Wachovia or Bank of America. If you are applying for a card with junk mail applications, look carefully at the application. Does it appear less than professional? Are there misspellings or odd errors? This may be a fraud.
Whoever you go to, keep a record of your application, and follow up on it a month or so later if you haven’t heard anything. The information you get that way may save your credit rating.