If you’re like most people you probably receive at least one or two credit card offers in the mail every day.  Most of us just tear them up and toss them in the garbage without giving them a second thought, but if you’re actually in the market for a new credit card then you’ll probably want to open them up and take a closer look.

Credit card terms can vary wildly from one card to the next so it is very important that you actually compare the pros and cons of each card before signing on the dotted line.  You might even want to grab a pen and pad to help you stay organized with a list of each card’s key features.  Keep in mind the best card for me might be absolutely terrible for you.  And a card that I would dismiss as useless could be the best option for your spending habits.

Here are a few of the options you will want to consider when comparing credit card offers.

Interest Rate – This is one of the most important aspects of any card and it is definitely one you want to consider.  Depending on the size of your balance an interest rate of just a few points higher could end up costing you thousands of dollars in lifetime finance charges.  Of course, if you never carry a balance and only use your credit card for convenience and to earn credit card rewards then the interest rate is less important.  But keep in mind that if your financial circumstances change and you end up carrying a balance you’ll rue the day you went with the high interest card.

Annual Fee – I can’t stand the idea of paying an annual fee for a credit card.  The banks don’t make enough money off me as it is?  But unfortunately some cards with reward programs do charge an annual fee.  And while you can always ask them to waive it if you are a good customer with a stellar payment history, credit card companies have been less willing to give in on things like that in recent years.  In the end you need to figure out if the rewards you will earn by using the card are worth more than the annual fee.

Reward Programs – It seems like every card these days has some kind of a reward program attached to it.  You can get a Discover card that offers cash back on your purchases.  You can get a Costco American Express Card that earns you a voucher that you can use in the store.  There are tons of cards that allow you to earn airline miles which you can use to go on vacation.  You name it and there’s a card with a rewards program for you.

To find the credit card that is right for you try running a few searches on the internet.  There are several sites that allow you to compare credit card offers online and you will have a much wider selection than you would if you stuck only with the ones that landed in your mailbox.