Compare credit cards for 2024

Feast your eyes on these fantastic plastic balance transfer rates, cashback offers, travel perks and rewards in our UK credit card comparison.

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Table: sorted by availability to new customers and APR, promoted deals first

1 - 24 of 134
Name Product Finder score Finder score Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
NatWest Credit Card
4.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
12.9%
12.9%
(0% fee)
£0
12.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
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The Royal Bank Credit Card
4.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
12.9%
12.9%
(0% fee)
£0
12.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
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Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 23.9%
0% for 26 months
(3% fee)
£0
23.9% APR (variable)
Sign up for Santander Boosts to receive cashback, vouchers, offers and prize draws from selected retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Royal Bank of Scotland Longer Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 23 months
(3.49% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 19 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 13 months
(0% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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NatWest Longer Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 23 months
(3.49% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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Royal Bank of Scotland Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 13 months
(0% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 26 months
(3.49% fee, min £5 fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable). You might get different interest rates and promotional periods to those shown here, because these depend on your circumstances.
Check eligibility
NatWest Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 19 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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M&S Bank Credit Card Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 26 months
(3.49%, min £5 fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 18 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 16 months
(3.49%, min £5 fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable). You might get different interest rates and promotional periods to those shown here, because these depend on your circumstances.
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Credit Card Purchase Plus Offer Mastercard
4.1
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 20 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 12 months
(0% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 15 months reverting to 23.9%
0% for 15 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
29.8% APR (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £10 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
NatWest Reward Credit Card
3.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
25.9%
25.9%
(0% fee)
£24 per annum. Reward Current Account holders: £0 per annum
31% APR (variable)
You'll earn 1% back at supermarkets and 0.25% back everywhere else, including supermarket petrol stations. At selected retailers, you could earn 1-15% back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 25.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £24 per annum. Reward Current Account holders: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
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American Express® Rewards Credit Card
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
31%
(3% fee)
£0
31% APR (variable)
Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every £1 spent thereafter. Earn up to 90,000 bonus points per year through refer a friend, 4,000 points awarded for every friend approved. 1 point = 0.45p (min 1,000 points) to shop, other rewards have differing conversions.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
British Airways American Express® Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
31%
(3% fee)
£0
31% APR (variable)
Earn 5,000 points when you spend £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. UK 18+, subject to status. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Amex® Cashback Everyday Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
31%
(3% fee)
£0
31% APR (variable)
Welcome offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Terms and minimum spend apply. 18+, subject to status.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Royal Bank of Scotland Reward Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
25.9%
25.9%
(0% fee)
£24 per annum. Reward Current Account holders: £0 per annum
31% APR (variable)
Earn 1% back at supermarkets and 0.25% back everywhere else, including supermarket petrol stations. At selected retailers, you could earn 1-15% back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 25.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £24 per annum. Reward Current Account holders: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
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Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 33.9%
33.9%
(0% fee)
£0
33.9% APR (variable)
Rate discounts: 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time for the first year, and a further drop of up to 2% more if you continue to do so in the second year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
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118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
3.6
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
34%
34%
(0% fee)
£0
34% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Amex® Cashback Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
31%
(3% fee)
£25 per annum
36.7% APR (variable)
Welcome offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Terms apply. Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 0.75% cashback on all purchases. Spend over £10,000 and receive 1.25% cashback on purchases.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 36.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express® Nectar Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
31%
(3% fee)
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £30 per annum
37.8% APR (variable)
New welcome offer: Earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months. Earn a minimum of 3 Nectar points for virtually every £1 spent at Nectar partners, and 2 Nectar points for virtually every £1 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £30 per annum, your representative rate is 37.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
NatWest Reward Black Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
21.9%
21.9%
(0% fee)
£84 per annum. Reward Black Current Account holders: Year 2 onwards - £0 per annum
40.7% APR (variable)
You'll earn 1% back at supermarkets and 0.5% back everywhere else, including supermarket petrol stations. At selected retailers, you could earn 1-15% back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £84 per annum. Reward Black Current Account holders: Year 2 onwards - £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
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Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables is provided by Moneyfacts.

How do credit cards work?

A credit card allows you to make purchases on credit that you can settle at a later date. At the end of every month, you’ll receive a statement that outlines your spending for the previous month. You can choose to pay off the entire outstanding balance or make the minimum monthly payment, which typically amounts to 2-3% of the balance owed. Alternatively, you can pay off an amount somewhere in between.

Unlike a loan, which comes with a predetermined repayment plan and a fixed end date, credit cards offer flexibility and are open-ended. You have access to credit when you need it, and you can settle your debt as quickly or slowly (within reason) as you choose.

High-street banks and building societies tend to be the first place people consider for a credit card, but they’re also available from supermarkets (including Tesco and Sainsbury’s), airlines (like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic) and dedicated credit card issuers (like Aqua or mbna).

Only repaying the minimum amount on your credit card each month means you’ll pay a lot more in interest and it could take years to clear your debt. Even if you can’t afford to pay off the balance in full, aim to pay off more than the minimum amount whenever possible. ”

Rachel Wait, personal finance expert

Credit card jargon explained

  • APR. The annual percentage rate (APR) serves as a reference point for consumers and provides an annual overview of the expenses associated with your credit card. In addition to the interest rate, the APR includes any mandatory fees, such as an account fee (if applicable). However, crucially, providers only have to award the advertised APR to 51% of those who take out the credit card – the other 49% could be offered a different (higher) rate, at the provider’s discretion. That’s why it’s often referred to as the representative APR.
  • Eligibility criteria. A list of conditions that a borrower must meet in order to be considered for credit. These vary from lender to lender.
  • Fixed rate. A fixed interest rate remains constant for a predetermined period, even if there are any fluctuations in interest rates. For some borrowers, this can be a preferred option since it provides a greater degree of financial certainty when it comes to budgeting.
  • Credit card balance. This refers to the amount of credit you have currently used, and need to repay. Most credit cards have a monthly balance cycle, which means you’ll be charged interest if you don’t pay off your balance each month.
  • Variable rate. A variable rate is the opposite of a fixed rate and can increase or decrease over time at the lender’s discretion. Typically, variations occur as market conditions generally shift – for example, an increase or decrease in the Bank of England base rate.
  • Assumed credit limit. Lenders use an example credit limit of £1,200 in their representative examples to help you compare credit products more easily. All financial products providing credit have to clearly show a representative example in promotional material.
  • Charge card. A charge card is similar to a standard credit card, but with one or two significant exceptions. For example, charge cards usually have a larger spending limit and require you to pay your full balance off by the statement due date, which is usually the end of the month. With credit cards, you only have to repay a small portion of the balance each month.

Why should I get a credit card?

There are plenty of situations when a credit card could be a smart choice. For starters, used carefully, they can be a cheap – or even free – way to borrow. But even if you don’t need to borrow money, there are other benefits you may want to consider.

Crucially, card issuers are jointly liable with the retailer if you don’t get what you paid for – so if your purchase (costing more than £100 and up to £30,000) isn’t as described, or if the retailer goes bust and takes your money with it, you may be able to get a refund through your card issuer.

If you are a young person or have a limited credit history, you may not have much of a credit record. If you plan to take out a mortgage or car finance in the future, it is crucial to demonstrate your ability to borrow money and repay it on time in order to secure favourable interest rates. One way to establish this is by using a credit card.

But even if you have excellent credit and you don’t need to borrow, a credit card could still work for you. Plenty of cards come with perks or rewards – from loyalty points or cashback through to airport lounge access or travel insurance.

Best ways to use a credit card

We’ve outlined some of the best ways to make the most out of your credit card:

  • Build up your credit score If you lack credit history or have a low credit score, a credit card can be a good first step to improving it. Look into credit building cards tailored for individuals with poor credit. Keep in mind that these cards often carry higher interest rates, so ensure to clear your balance monthly.
  • Get cashback and rewards Many credit cards offer competitive cashback rates or rewards, helping you to earn something back as you spend. However, the downside is that many of these cards come with high interest rates and those cards that offer exclusive rewards (e.g. lounge access) might charge an account fee.
  • Save interest on existing debt If you’re currently paying interest on existing credit card or store card debt, it’s worth shifting that debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card. Doing so will mean you’ll avoid paying interest for a number of months – almost 3 years in the best cases – giving you time to tackle your debt head on without worrying about interest building up. Be aware you might have to pay a transfer fee.
  • Spread the cost of a purchase If you’re planning a large purchase, such as a holiday or new car, a 0% purchase credit card lets you spread the cost of your spending interest-free over several months. This can be much cheaper than other methods of borrowing, but only if you’re confident you can pay off your balance in full before the 0% deal ends.
  • Protection on your spending Another great benefit of using a credit card is that you’ll get purchase protection. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act applies to credit card purchases of over £100 and up to £30,000. Purchase protection means your card provider is jointly liable with the retailer if you don’t get what you paid for.
  • Spend fee-free abroad Some credit cards won’t charge foreign transaction fees when you spend on them abroad, making them a great option if you’re off on holiday. You might not have to pay a cash withdrawal fee overseas either. But note that you’ll usually still pay interest from the date of the transaction, so cash withdrawals on a credit card are best avoided.

How to find the right credit card for you

  1. Work out what you want to get out of your credit card. Do you want rewards, cashback, interest-free periods on purchases or to transfer an existing balance?
  2. Find the providers that offer that type of credit card. Some credit card providers specialise in certain type of cards, and may not offer other types.
  3. Compare credit cards to find the one that best meets your needs. You should consider things like rate, fees and features.
  4. Check your eligibility to make sure you qualify for the card.

See Finder’s expert picks of the best credit card deals currently available on the market.

An overview of today's credit card market

Lowest representative APR 4%
Longest 0% balance transfer offer 28 months
Longest 0% purchase offer 24 months
Longest 0% money transfer offer 12 months
Highest cashback earn-rate 2%
Lowest cash advance 1.5%
Highest introductory bonus offer 60,000 points

Borrowing when interest rates are high

With the efforts to contain inflation, lenders have raised the rate of borrowing. Our experts have some money-saving tips when you’re looking to apply for a credit card in the current financial market:

  1. 0% interest periods. If eligible, a 0% interest purchase credit card could help you spread the costs of your purchases to give you a bit of breathing room. But remember to repay your balance before the promo period comes to an end.
  2. Consolidate your debts. Consolidating your debts onto a balance transfer card could help you clear your existing balances at a lower cost. There are some appealing long 0% deals on the market but make sure you’re eligible before you apply.
  3. Money-saving rewards. Unless you’re a frequent flyer, a rewards credit card isn’t going to be much use to you. Instead, opt for a credit card that offers supermarket points or cashback to save on essentials. Spend within your means and pay your balance in full and on time to avoid accruing more interest than rewards.

What type of credit card should I get?

To find the right credit card to suit your wants and needs, it’s good to wise up on the types of credit cards on the market. Here are some of the main type of credit cards available in the UK, along with the key benefits they offer.

Who can get a credit card?

There are credit cards to suit almost anybody, but you’ll need to be 18 or older and a UK resident.

Credit cards are offered at the issuer’s discretion – in other words, when you apply for one, the card issuer will weigh up your application, and if it thinks you’re a safe bet, it’ll offer you a card. Card issuers normally state their minimum criteria (which could include a minimum income or being an existing customer) but meeting these criteria isn’t a guarantee of approval.

For really premium cards, you’re likely to need a decent income and a very good track record of borrowing responsibly (a high credit score), but credit builder credit cards and student credit cards are much easier to get approved for. If you’re not sure what your credit score is and what’s in your credit report, you can find out free with Finder.

How much will I be able to spend on a credit card?

If your credit card application is approved, your specific circumstances will determine what credit limit (that’s the maximum debt you can build up on the card) the issuer will offer you. Your personalised limit will depend on factors like your credit score, and your income and outgoings.

Once you’ve held a credit card for a few months or years, you might want to raise a request to increase your credit limit. Any increase will be at the card issuer’s discretion, but if you’ve been using your card sensibly (making repayments on time) and your circumstances haven’t changed for the worse, there’s a reasonable chance your request will be approved. Some card issuers will even pro-actively suggest a credit limit increase after a while.

Image of a hand holding a phone along a stat:There were 16% more contactless credit card transactions in February 2023 vs 2022

What will a credit card cost me?

One of the downsides of credit cards is that the fee structure can be a bit fiddly. But do your homework and use them correctly, and credit cards can be the cheapest form of borrowing going (or can even earn you benefits while not costing you a penny).

  • Monthly repayments. You’re free to repay as much as you like as often as you like, subject to a small monthly minimum that’ll be outlined when your statement is issued – usually about 2% of your outstanding balance. You’ll pay a late payment fee (and damage your credit score) if you don’t make the minimum repayment by the statement due date. If you clear your full balance each month, your purchases generally won’t incur any interest – it’s when you carry a balance from month to month that the interest kicks in.
  • Annual/monthly account fee. Most cards don’t come with an account fee attached, but more premium options (generally high-paying rewards cards) can do. The credit card annual fee is deducted from your available credit and accrues interest at the purchase rate if it isn’t paid in the first statement period.
  • Interest rates. Interest is the price you pay to borrow money, but confusingly with credit cards, different parts of your balance can incur different interest rates. Most commonly, non-sterling transactions and cash advances (withdrawing cash using the card) may have a designated interest rate that’s higher than your card’s standard purchases rate.
  • Cash advance fees. Withdrawing cash on a credit card is usually a bad idea. There’s normally a one-off fee and a higher rate of interest. These extra fees can also apply to “cash-like” transactions – for example any spending at a casino, or buying foreign currency.
  • Non-sterling transaction fees. Any spending in currencies other than Sterling will usually involve a currency conversion fee (unless you’ve opted for a designated overseas spending card). Plus, this part of your balance could be charged interest at a different (higher) rate.
  • Other fees. There are a few other fees that issuers can charge – for example, additional card fees (when you request an additional card for a partner or family member), balance transfer fees (when you move existing debt across to your new card), money transfer fees (when you transfer money from your card to your current account) or fees for misuse, like going over your credit limit or failing to make a repayment by the scheduled date.

Credit card cost comparison

Credit card limit: £1,000

  • Outstanding balance: £800
  • Interest rate: 19.9%
  • Monthly repayment: £25
  • Total interest: £305

Credit card limit: £1,000

  • Outstanding balance: £800
  • Interest rate: 29.3%
  • Monthly repayment: £25
  • Total interest: £577

MUST READ: Credit card grace periods

Almost all credit cards come with up to 55 or 56 interest-free days each billing period. To take advantage of this facility though, you’ll need to clear your balance in full each month. It’s only applicable on new purchases and, in most cases, not available on cash advances or balance transfers.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you make a £100 purchase on the first day of the month, then at the end of the month you’re sent a bill and asked to pay by the 25th of the next month. Provided you clear your full balance, you could have enjoyed 55 or 56 days of interest-free credit on that purchase. However, if you only pay the minimum required payment, you’ll be charged interest on the purchase from the day you made it.

If you set up a direct debit to clear your full balance each month (yep, this is possible – and very normal) then you can relax in the knowledge that you should avoid interest altogether. Just make sure you have the necessary funds in your nominated account to cover the direct debit.

Credit cards vs charge cards vs debit cards

Credit cardCharge cardDebit card
Credit limitPersonalised credit limit set by card issuer.Typically there is no defined credit limit for charge cards, but the provider may limit your spending based on your spending habits, repayment history, income and credit score.If you’ve arranged an overdraft facility with your bank, that will come with a personalised limit.
RepaymentsIt’s better for your credit score to repay your balance in full every month, however you can opt to only pay the card’s set minimum repayment amount.You have to repay your balance in full every month.No repayments, unless you’ve entered your overdraft.
Consumer protetctionProtected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.Not protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.Visa and Mastercard cards may be protected by the “Chargeback Scheme”. If you were wrongly charged or your purchase was cancelled you can dispute a payment to your provider. If the business you made a purchase from has either closed, or won’t help to get your money back, you may be able to make a chargeback claim.
AvailabilityMany providers.Limited providers.Many providers.
Credit scoreEven with a bad credit score, you may be able to get a credit card. Using a credit card responsibly could help build your credit score.Typically you need a good credit score to get a charge card. Using a charge card responsibly could help build your credit score.It’s unlikely that you’ll be refused a bank account because of your credit rating. Paying bills in full and on time using your bank account could help your credit score. You might see a temporary dip in your credit score if you open multiple bank accounts.
Late feesYesYesNo
Annual feesDepends on the provider and card.Usually high fees though it depends on the provider and card.Standard bank accounts are free. However, some accounts offer extra services or add-ons, such as insurance or overdrafts, which can cost extra.
Additional feesLate payment, foreign exchange, balance transfers, annual fees, cash advances and cash withdrawal.Late payment, foreign exchange, annual fees, cash advances and cash withdrawal.Additional fees only apply if you use the following – overdraft, insurance, foreign exchange, and in some cases, cash withdrawals.
EligibilityOver the age of 18, minimum income depends on the provider’s terms, UK resident.Over the age of 18, minimum income depends on the provider’s terms, UK resident.Typically, you have to be at least 16 to open a current account, however, there are some providers which have a lower minimum age. You don’t need an income to open most current accounts but you’ll need to be a UK resident.

What do I need to know before I apply?

Once you’ve established what type of card you need, you can use Finder comparison tables to see the deals available.

The representative APR can be a helpful figure to use when comparing cards from different issuers – it’s a standardised figure that’s designed to illustrate the annual cost of using a card. However, the vast majority of card issuers tailor rates to the individual. They have to give their advertised “representative APR” to at least 51% of their customers, but the other 49% could be offered a higher rate. Typically, it’s the applicants that the issuer deems to be the safest bets that’ll be awarded the representative APR – based on factors like credit scores and affordability.

You can get a better idea of the rates that you’d be offered by using a soft-search facility e.g. an eligibility calculator. These involve a short form that banks or brokers use in order to be able to check your credit file without affecting your score. In return, you get a more accurate idea of whether or not you’ll get approved for a card plus the rate that you could be offered.

How to switch credit cards

Moving to a better credit card deal can be a sensible way of managing your finances. But it’s important to know how to do it right.

There are many reasons why you might want to switch to a new credit card. Some of the main ones are outlined below:

  • To take advantage of a new 0% promotional deal on purchases, balance transfers or both
  • To consolidate existing credit card debt and pay a lower rate of interest
  • To take advantage of rewards or cashback offers.

Dos of switching your credit card

  • Do check that switching credit cards will definitely benefit your finances.
  • Do make sure you know how much you could be charged in interest and fees.
  • Do make sure you clear your balance in full before any 0% promotional offer comes to an end – or move the debt to another balance transfer card.
  • Do be aware that every credit application you make will temporarily lower your credit score.
  • Do consider other forms of borrowing too, such as an overdraft or loan.

Don’ts of switching credit cards

  • Don’t switch credit cards too regularly. Lenders prefer stability so if you’re constantly changing accounts, it can reflect negatively on your credit report.
  • Don’t make too many credit applications in a short space of time as this can also have a negative impact on your credit score. It’s best to leave at least 3 months, preferably 6, between applications.
  • Don’t forget about the balance on your old card – you’ll either need to pay it off in full or transfer it to your new card.

Will switching credit cards hurt my credit score?

Any application you make for credit can temporarily cause your credit score to drop. But it should pick up again, so long as you manage your new credit account well.

What’s more, if you’re switching to a credit card with a higher credit limit, your credit score could go up. This is because you’ll have a higher credit limit available to you, but if you’re only using the same amount of credit, your credit utilisation ratio will fall (which is good for your credit score).

How can I make the most out of my credit card?

Making the best out of your credit card is a fine art: it’s all about using it often, but not too much, and in the right way. Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Pay off your monthly bill in full. The best way to use your credit card is clearing your balance in full every month, so that the card doesn’t start accruing any interest.
  2. If you can’t pay in full, try to at least meet the minimum payment Paying the minimum repayment amount allows you to avoid late repayment fees and also helps you preserve your credit score.
  3. Don’t withdraw cash on your card. Most credit cards charge an extra fee for cash advances, so it’s better to just get cash with your debit card if you can.
  4. Set up a direct debit for repayments. We’re all busy people and forgetting to pay a bill on time is an easy mistake but has very concrete consequences, in the form of interest you’ll have to pay back.
  5. Don’t use all your credit. One of the many factors that can impact your credit score is the so-called utilisation rate, which is based on how much credit you use compared to how much you have available. You should keep your utilisation rate as low as possible, 30% should work just fine.
  6. Pay off your most expensive debts first. Let’s say you have more than one card, you’re having a rough month and have to choose which of the 2 bills to pay. In this case, check which card charges the most and clear the balance on it first.
  7. Choose a card which earns you more than it costs. If you’re choosing a rewards card with an annual fee, check that the rewards you’ll earn with the card will outweigh the cost of the fee.
  8. Put regular expenses on a credit card to earn rewards. If you get a rewards credit card, you should use it as often as you can, especially if you’re paying an annual fee. An easy way to do this is to use your credit card for regular expenses, such as your grocery shopping or your council tax.
  9. Don’t overspend just to earn reward points. Don’t fall into the trap. If you realise you’re not using your rewards card as much as you expected to and the annual fee isn’t worth it anymore, don’t compensate by making random purchases.
  10. If you’ve accumulated debt, consider a balance transfer. Balance transfer credit cards can buy you some time to pay off your debt and the best ones come with 0% on balance transfers for 2 years or more. There may be an initial balance transfer fee, but it’ll still cost way less than the interest you’d pay if you kept your debt on a regular card.
  11. It’s okay to keep a card you don’t use, unless it has a fee. Not using a credit card isn’t a problem in itself. You’ll have more credit available, so it’ll lower your utilisation rate and potentially help your credit score.

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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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