All-round credit card comparison
All-round credit cards aim to meet multiple needs. Typically that means you’ll get the best of both worlds when it comes to 0% interest deals – with interest-free periods on both purchases and balance transfers, and potentially other useful features like the chance to earn rewards or 0% fees on overseas spending.
There are plenty of all-round credit cards currently available to apply for in the UK. If used correctly, these cards can save you a significant chunk of money.
Here’s how to compare all-round credit cards, find the best deal for you and use it in a way that doesn’t cost you loads of money in the long run.
What is an all-round credit card?
“All-round” isn’t a standard credit card term, and can be used to label many credit cards with a different combination of promotional rates, rewards, and perks.
Most commonly, all-round cards usually offer 0% interest periods on both balances transferred from an old credit card (or cards) and future purchases. The interest-free period doesn’t last forever though, and when it ends any outstanding balance starts to accrue interest at the card’s standard rate.
Introductory 0% interest deals on purchases are commonplace in today’s credit card market, as are 0% introductory deals on balance transfers. These are the two main sweeteners used by credit card companies to attract new customers, which is why the term “all-round” is commonly used to define cards that have both of these – and potentially further – significant benefits.
If the same 0% deal applies to both balance transfers and purchases, card issuers might alternatively refer to the card as a “balanced” or “matched” credit card.
All-rounders can offer other features and benefits as well, like the opportunity to earn rewards while you spend or fee-free spending overseas.
Perhaps the greatest appeal of these cards is their flexibility. Nobody knows what the future holds, but a flexible card could stand you in good stead for a variety of scenarios.
What are dual credit cards?It’s important to be aware the term “dual” could describe two different types of cards. Some credit card providers refer to their version of “balanced” or “matched” credit cards as “dual” because it offers a dual interest-free period on both balance transfers and purchases.
Rather confusingly, there are other providers who use “dual” to describe a totally different type of card. You will have one credit account with two cards tied to it operating on different networks (e.g. Mastercard and American Express). These cards are usually reward or frequent flyer cards which may offer different perks or reward rates depending on the network (e.g. more points per £1 spent), but the cardholder is issued just one bill.
Who is an all-round credit card best suitable for?
If you’re an individual with existing credit card debt who is also looking to make a sizeable purchase in the future, an all-round credit card is likely to save you money, or at least save you from being hit with interest payments (for a limited period).
You could use the balance transfer deal to take a break from paying interest on your existing debt, and the purchases deal to spread the cost of your upcoming expenditure – without paying interest.
An all-round credit card might not be the answer if you’ll spend more on the card than you pay off before the end of the 0% deal. In this situation, you’ll end up in a worse situation than you were in to begin with.
If you only plan on using one of the available 0% deals – for example, if you don’t already have card debt and wouldn’t transfer a balance – then there are likely to be more competitive deals on the market. The longest 0% deals on purchases tend to be available on the most specialised cards, without balance transfer deals (and vice-versa on the longest balance transfer deals).
Cards with long 0% deals on balance transfers and purchases are likely to be available only to those who have good credit scores. However, almost every card issuer now has an “eligibility checker” which runs a “soft search” of your credit file, to tell you your likelihood of approval without affecting your credit score.
How can I find the right all-round credit card for me?
There are lots of all-round credit cards around, so how do you find the best one? These are some of the most important features to look for when deciding what all-round credit card to apply for.
Pros and cons of all-round credit cards
- If you already have card debt, an all-rounder could give you a break from interest and an opportunity to focus on reducing your debt.
- If you have some large expenditures coming up, an all-rounder could let you spread the cost, without incurring interest.
- As perhaps the most versatile type of card around, a good all-rounder could future-proof you for a variety of scenarios.
- A true all-rounder should have additional features and benefits – not just an introductory deal on balance transfers and purchases.
- The longest 0% deals typically aren’t available on all-round credit cards – they’ll tend to be found on the more focused cards.
- After any introductory offers expire, outstanding debt will start to be charged interest (usually at a rate that’s not competitive).
- You’ll normally have to pay a transfer fee to bring your balance across from an old card. This is typically equivalent to around 3% of the balance, so for larger sums, it can get painful.
- Any low or 0% interest period won’t usually apply to cash advances (withdrawing cash on the card). Cash advances on a credit card are invariably an expensive option regardless of card type and best avoided.
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