Credit cards are a part of modern life. You may avoid using them most of the time but chances are that you carry one around for emergencies or use one to make big purchases. As a smart person, you already know about the basic things that you want to look for in a credit card: low interest rates, great introductory periods and limited fees. However, those basic things aren’t enough if you want a truly great credit card that suits a twenty-first century way of life. There are some other features that you should make sure you look for when getting a new credit card. Those features include:

  • Clear compliance with the new credit card rules. The United States government has created new credit card laws that protect your rights as a consumer. For example, your payments now go to pay off the highest interest balances on your card first rather than the other way around as has typically been done. All credit card companies must comply with these new rules. However, some companies are better than others at laying out the exact ways in which they are complying. Choose a card that makes this compliance clear to you.
  • Get a green credit card. Being eco-friendly is important to most of us these days, right? That should be reflected in the 21st century credit card. One option is to get a biodegradable credit card; (Discover offers one called the Discover Biodegradable More). Another option is to get a credit card that donates money to green organizations with every purchase that you make; an example is the Visa Surfrider that gives money to ocean preservation organizations.
  • Make sure that you get rewards that you will use. As long as you have good credit, there is no reason that you shouldn’t have a credit card that gives back to you in the form of rewards. There are so many of these credit cards available today that it’s a financial mistake not to have one. Make sure that you get rewards that you will actually use, though. People who travel infrequently shouldn’t get a travel rewards card. People who don’t shop often should get cash back instead of points to buy stuff. Get only one rewards card and use it wisely.
  • Get a card that you can use when shopping online. Shopping online is increasingly common in the modern world. Although Paypal or Bill Me Later are sometimes options for payment, most people who shop online will use a credit card to do so. Make sure that you get a credit card that is widely accepted so that you can use it whenever you shop online. Choose a credit card that has great fraud protection since you do always run some risks of identity theft when shopping online with a credit card. And consider getting a card that offers cash back for shopping online through the credit card company’s online stores.
  • Find a card with a flexible payment plan. One of the best things to happen recently in the world of credit cards is a shift to allow more flexible payment plans. A great example of this is the Chase Blueprint plan. This allows Chase cardholders to choose from various payment options for each purchase including immediate no-interest payments in full, long-term payments at a fixed interest rate or payment plans that allow you to pay off your total balance in a set amount of time that you select. You can mix and match these options. For example, you may choose to make immediate no-interest payments on all grocery store purchases and to pay off a large appliance purchase in six months at a set interest rate. Chase isn’t the only company to begin offering these payment plans so look around to see what options you may have.

Always review the terms of your credit cards carefully so that you know exactly what you’re getting in to when using one.