Consumers advised to consider all factors before applying for credit

Restrictions resulting from the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act have put more pressure on issuers to market toward consumers. Mail offers are up 55 percent from this time last year, as credit card companies fight for new customers. While many of these cards may seem like traps, consumers can still apply for credit if they intend to use it responsibly.

Rates are just one of the few things individuals should keep in mind while shopping for a new card, Forbes reports. Interest and annual percentage rates are on the rise as a result of the restrictions placed on companies through the CARD Act. Consumers who read the fine print are more likely to understand all terms and conditions, making it easier to avoid any loopholes.

Annual fees and rewards programs should also be a deciding factor, experts say. Incentives, such as frequent flier miles, may entice consumers into applying for an account. However, cards without annual fees should be favored, Forbes says. These fees can add up for a member over time.

Consumers who already have outstanding balances are encouraged to pay off their existing debt prior to applying for a new card to avoid further credit score damage.

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