Compare credit cards

Feast your eyes on these fantastic plastic balance transfer rates, cashback offers, travel perks and rewards.

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Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Max. intro bonus Earn-rate with brand Default earn-rate Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
500 points
1 point per £1 spent
1 point per £5 spent
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
2,500 points
2 points per £1 spent
1 point per £5 spent
£0
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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American Express Rewards Credit Card
5,000 points
1 point per £1 spent
1 point per £1 spent
£0
22.2% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
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American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
£100
1% cashback
1% cashback
£0
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
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British Airways American Express Card
5,000 points
1 point per £1 spent
1 point per £1 spent
£0
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
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American Express Platinum Cashback Card
£125
1.25% cashback
1.25% cashback
£25 per annum
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first six months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
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The American Express Nectar Credit Card
20,000 points
2 points per £1 spent
2 points per £1 spent
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
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The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
20,000 points
6 points per £1 spent
2 points per £1 spent
£75 per annum
38.8% (variable)
As a new Cardmember earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 38.8% APR (variable).
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American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
10,000 points
2 points per £1 spent
1 point per £1 spent
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
56.6% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first six months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 56.6% APR (variable).
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British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 points
3 points per £1 spent
1.5 points per £1 spent
£195 per annum
74.7% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
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Table: sorted by length of 0% balance transfer offer, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%.
0%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
2.9% (min. £5) for transfers in first 60 days
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% (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 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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first direct Credit Card Visa
0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%
2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (min. £5)
18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
More Info
HSBC Premier Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
1.4% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Earn double points on selected insurances taken out through John Lewis Financial Services. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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Santander Everyday Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Retailer offers - 5 Welcome offers of up to 25% cashback at well-known retailers (must switch on Retailer Offers within 60 days of activating card).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Nationwide Member Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 18 months reverting to 19.9%
1.5% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.4% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Bank of Scotland Platinum 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 17 months reverting to 19.95%
2.99% for 3 months reverting to 5%
0% for 17 months reverting to 19.95%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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Table: sorted by length of 0% purchases offer, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 20 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% (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 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 6 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
Santander All in One Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
21.7% (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. 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 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 21.7% APR (variable).
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Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
Clubcard Plus subscriber: £7.99 per month
37.7% (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of . Clubcard Plus subscriber: £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
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Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 20 months
(3% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
More Info
TSB Platinum Purchase Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
0% for 20 months
(2.95% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a rate of 19.95% (variable) per annum, your representative APR is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
MBNA 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.93%
0% for 18 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Introductory 0% purchase offer only applies to purchases made within 60 days of opening.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Santander World Elite Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 18 months
(0% fee)
£15 per month
49.8% (variable)
0.5% on £1 to £3000 of monthly spend. Maximum of £15 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 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 49.8% APR (variable).
More Info
Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive presale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
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Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Link
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card 24.7pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
24.7%
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
More Info
Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£500
Subject to status: £1,500
£15000
24.9%
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
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).
More Info
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£500
Not specified
Not specified
26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£100
Subject to status
£5000
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
More Info
Vanquis Bank Chrome Card 29.3pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
More Info
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.8%
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
More Info
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa
£0
£50
Subject to status: £1,200
£3000
33.9%
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
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).
More Info
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
£500
Not specified
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
More Info
aqua Advance Mastercard
£0
£250
Not specified
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Fluid Mastercard
£0
£300
Not specified
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
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Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
British Airways American Express Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Go to site
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British Airways American Express Premium Plus
22.2%
£195 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
74.7% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
Earn 5,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 0.75 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend. Spend £20K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to premium, or a Companion ticket. Double miles when you spend directly with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays through the contact centre and online. Earn an additional 2,000 bonus miles if you spend £1K within 90 days of opening until 31.10.19.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit Card
22.9%
£160 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
63.9% (variable)
Earn 15,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 1.5 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 3 miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Spend £10K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £160 per annum, your representative rate is 63.9% APR (variable).
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Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents 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.

How do credit cards work?

A credit card allows you to charge purchases to your card which you’ll then pay for later. Each month you’ll get a statement showing what you spent over the previous month, and you can either pay off your balance in full, or you can just pay the minimum monthly payment (typically 2-3% of your outstanding balance).

Unlike a loan with a rigid repayment schedule and a fixed end-date, credit cards give you lots of flexibility and are open-ended. The credit’s there when you need it, and you can pay off your debt as fast or as slowly (within reason) as you like.

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.

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 (up to the tune of £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’re young or new to credit, then you probably won’t have much of a credit record. If you’re planning to get a mortgage or perhaps car finance sometime in the future, then to get a decent rate, you’ll need to show that you’re capable of borrowing money and repaying it on time. A credit card is one way to demonstrate this.

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.

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 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.

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

If you apply for a card and your 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 request a credit limit increase. Any increase will be at the card issuer’s discretion, but if you’ve been using your card sensibly (making repayments on time and not going over your credit limit) 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.

What type of credit card should I get?

Here are some of the main types of credit card available in the UK, along with the key benefits they offer.

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.

MUST READ: Credit card grace periods

Almost all credit cards come with up to 55 or 56 interest-free days each billing period. In order 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.

Our 2020 customer satisfaction league table

We asked cardholders to rate their satisfaction with their card issues and whether or not they would recommend it to a friend. The recommendation scores below show the percentage of each brand’s customers who would. Our survey was carried out in December 2019.

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendIssuerReview
★★★★★85%American Express logoCredit where credit’s due – it’s probably fair to say the Americans do customer service better than us Brits. Amex is fighting hard to win new customers at the moment, so it’s no surprise that it’s investing in leaving a decent impression.View deals
★★★★★85%Santander logoSantander has some of the stronger 0% deals on the market, but it also offers a couple of fairly luxurious rewards/perks cards. Customers in our 2020 survey loved the cashback deals on offer.View deals
★★★★★85%Barclaycard logoThe oldest bank in UK has managed to keep its customer service standards high for centuries and offers a super-comprehensive range of cards. Customers in our survey praised Barclaycard’s good interest deals.View deals
★★★★★84%Tesco Bank logoTesco Bank credit cards all earn Clubcard points. Despite being competitive cards in their own right, as you’d expect, they’re most popular with Tesco shoppers.View deals
★★★★★79%Virgin Money logoVirgin Money has a wide range of cards on offer, including a few with some of the longest 0% deals. Customers with a Virgin Money credit card can also sign up to a range of reward schemes, like cashback and money-off offers for family days out.View deals
★★★★★77%HSBC UK logoOne of the world’s largest banks, HSBC has several cards on offer, including good 0% balance transfers deals, and a credit card designed especially for students.View deals
★★★★★77%Sainsbury's Bank logoThe UK’s second largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s Bank offers some of the longest 0% deals around. You can also earn extra Nectar points whenever you use your card.View deals
★★★★★76%NatWest logoNatWest offers a small but diverse range of cards, including a student card and a couple of strong premium reward cards. Customers surveyed appreciated the bank’s rewards programme but not its interest rates.View deals
★★★★★69%Halifax logoHalifax offers a good selection of balance transfer cards, with a range of 0% deals. There’s also a low interest flexicard and card with zero fees for spending abroad, which customers in our survey were particularly pleased with.View deals
★★★★★69%mbna logoPart of the Lloyds Bank Group, MBNA offers several highly competitive 0% and low interest deals. Customers in our survey praised the bank’s online account management tools and customer service, but reported sudden interest rate increases.View deals
★★★★★68%M&S Bank logoM&S Bank keep things simple with only a handful of cards on offer. These will particularly appeal to M&S customer, as you can earn points to spend in store. Customers surveyed were impressed with the rewards on offer, but not the online banking system.View deals
★★★★★67%Capital One logoCapital One has built itself on providing a fair and straightforward approach to credit, making it particularly good for those with lower credit scores. The interest rates for Capital One cards are high, so not paying off charges in full can lead to financial difficulties.View deals
★★★★★66%Lloyds Bank logoOne of the biggest banking groups in the UK, Llyods Bank has a range of cards with great 0% deals and generally relatively low interest rates. Customers in our survey praised the bank’s efficient and reliable customer service and easy application process.View deals
★★★★★64%aqua logoAnother good option for people with low credit scores, Aqua prides itself on helping customers move on to stronger financial products. The interest rates for Aqua cards are high, but there are no annual fees and customers in our survey praised the company’s transparency and good service.View deals

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. 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.

Learn more about specific card features

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.

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