Finding the right time to take out a new credit card can be a challenge. Some personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey argue that consumers should avoid credit cards like the plague. However, it’s possible to benefit from a credit card when they’re used responsibly. 

Have a High Balance?
Credit cards frequently come with an introductory interest-free period that can range from six to 18 months. Those who carry over a balance each month on a high-interest credit card could benefit from the interest-free period. This would allow a new cardholder to pay all of their monthly payment toward the principle of the balance, which can accelerate the amount of time necessary to pay off the credit card debt. 

Is There a Big Signup Bonus?
Many cards come with a bonus for meeting a minimum spend over a specified period of time, usually three or six months. Cards affiliated with travel loyalty programs can come with free hotel nights or frequent flier miles that users can put toward free or highly discounted flights. Other cards come with a cash-back bonus. Sometimes, these bonuses can come in at $250 to $500. This could be a good way to make some supplemental income for paying down a car or home loan. Those who earn the bonus could also invest the money and build wealth over the long term. 

Is It Time for a Large Purchase?
This situation is tied to the signup bonus. If a card requires a $3,000 spend over three months, why not knock it out with a big purchase that’s already planned. This could come from a renovation project or a car repair that’s been put off. If the card has a cash-back bonus, that additional money could go toward offsetting the price of the purchase. 

Credit cards can really pay off for those who have the discipline not to overspend on them. They can provide free travel or cash bonuses that can improve a household’s standard of living with little risk. In the case of a person in debt, an interest-free introductory rate on a card can cut the amount of interest she’ll pay. These are some great reasons to sign up for a new credit card immediately.