The UK’s best credit cards of 2019

We compare the whole UK market daily so you can bag the biggest rewards, longest 0% interest offers or lowest fees available.

Man paying at coffeeshop using contactless credit card

Looking for the best credit card available? The reality is that it’s different for different people, and the right credit card for you will depend on your spending habits, the features you’re looking for and your financial circumstances. Here are some of the main types of credit card available. For each type you’ll find step-by-step advice on how to choose the best credit cards of that type and our “top pick” recommendation (find out how we choose our top picks).

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.

Rewards credit cards: Spend big and enjoy perks

Rewards credit cards offer points or cash based on the amount you spend. This “earn-rate” may vary according to where you use the card. A Tesco reward card is likely to earn you points at a higher rate when you use it in Tesco, for example. You can typically redeem your points for shopping, travel, gift vouchers etc.

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American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

Finder's pick: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card

  • 10,000 Membership Rewards point welcome bonus
  • 2 complimentary airport lounge visits per year
  • No annual fee in year 1

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 57.6% APR (variable).

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Cashback credit cards: Earn cash not points on your day-to-day spending

Cashback credit cards reward you for spending in the form of pounds or credit on your account. How much you can earn will depend on the card’s “earn-rate”, plus any “earnings caps”. Cards that are affiliated with a brand may offer a better earn-rate when you spend with that brand, and in some cases cards come with an introductory enhanced earn-rate for a specified period or an enhanced earn-rate once your spending has exceeded a specified threshold.

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American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card

Finder's pick: American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card

  • 5% cashback for 3 months
  • 0.5% ongoing cashback
  • No annual fee

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).

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Frequent flyer credit cards: Earn travel rewards as you spend

Frequent flyer credit cards let you earn frequent flyer points or air miles on everyday purchases, either directly or by transferring card reward points to your chosen airline loyalty programme. These cards tend to be more premium options, so there’s often an annual fee to consider, but chances are it’ll be offset by some tasty perks.

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British Airways American Express Card

Finder's pick: British Airways American Express Card

  • Earn 1 Avios per £1 spent
  • 5,000-Avios welcome bonus
  • Refer a friend bonus

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).

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Credit builder credit cards: Kick-start a positive credit history

Simple credit cards designed to improve credit scores, for people with bad or no credit history. Expect low starting credit limits which can be quickly reviewed provided the card is used responsibly. This type of card will often be a “stepping stone” product to credit products with a better interest rate.

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Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card Visa

Finder's pick: Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card Visa

  • Manageable opening credit limits of £250 to £1,000
  • Build your Credit Limit up to £4,000 over time
  • Stay in control with online servicing, mobile app, and text/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).

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0% purchase credit cards: Spread the cost of large purchases

0% purchase credit cards let you make purchases up to your credit limit and then pay 0% interest on them for a promotional, introductory period. At the end of this period, any outstanding balance will start to accrue interest at the card’s standard purchase rate, which will be much higher.

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M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard

Finder's pick: M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard

  • Purchases 0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
  • Balance transfers 0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
  • 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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Balance transfer credit cards: Repay debt at 0% interest

Balance transfer credit cards let you move existing credit card debt to a new card, where you’ll enjoy 0% interest on the balance for a set period. At the end of this introductory 0% period, the card’s standard rate kicks in – which is typically much higher. Provided you don’t use them for additional spending, these cards allow you to clear debt faster, because all of your monthly repayment goes towards the outstanding balance.

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Travel credit cards: Pay overseas without fees

These credit cards are designed to make it more affordable to spend money overseas or online with international retailers. Unlike most debit and credit cards, they don’t charge a foreign transaction fee when you use your card to spend in an international currency or withdraw cash abroad (although the ATM owner may still charge a fee). Currencies will usually be converted using the standard Mastercard rate or Visa rate. Just remember that “fee-free” does not mean “interest-free”.

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The NatWest Credit Card

Finder's pick: The NatWest Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • 0% fees on overseas spend
  • Low ongoing rates

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).

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Money transfer credit cards: Transfer money from your card to an account

A 0% money transfer card allows you to make transfers from the credit card to your bank account, and won’t charge interest on this balance for a specified period. After the 0% period, the card’s standard rate kicks in, which is invariably much higher.

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Student credit cards: Manage your expenses and buy what you need

Most student cards are tied to a student bank account – in other words you’ll usually need to hold a student account with a particular bank in order to be eligible to apply for its student credit card. Student credit cards come with no annual/monthly fees, but low credit limits and uncompetitive rates (in part due to the limited credit histories of many of the cards’ users). As such, it’s not advisable to carry a balance from month to month. However, provided you don’t, you’ll usually be able to take advantage of up to 55 or 56 days of 0% interest on your purchases each month – a handy buffer when you’re waiting for your next student loan payment.

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Business credit cards: Manage your work spending

Business credit cards give your business access to a convenient line of credit to help manage fluctuations in your cash flow. Additional cards and management/reporting tools also mean you can monitor and manage your employees’ spending. Rewards and perks are big in the business space – with premium deals (that come with hefty annual fees) offering features like complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access and more.

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“All-rounder” credit cards: A financial Swiss Army Knife

These cards are designed to serve multiple needs. 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 even fee-free overseas spending.

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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.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best credit card available?

Ultimately it depends on what you want the card to do, and also on your circumstances, however here are our top picks: –

Are reward point credit cards worth it?

If you carry a balance on your credit card from month to month (rather than clearing your balance in full), then you’ll usually pay more in interest than you’ll earn in rewards. If you always clear your balance in full each month, however, then with most cards on the UK market, you won’t pay interest at all, thanks to a grace period on purchases. That means that, provided you choose the right card and use it carefully, you can earn reward points without paying interest.

Some rewards or frequent flyer cards come with annual or monthly account management charges, but thankfully, plenty don’t charge this fee. If you think you would spend a lot on a credit card but would also clear your balance in full each month, then paying an annual fee might actually be worth it. That’s because these are the cards which tend to come with the best reward point earn-rates.

Can I get a credit card with bad credit?

Possibly, yes. Although realistically some top cards will be off the table, there are plenty of card issuers that specialise in credit builder cards – which are specifically designed for those with a damaged or limited credit history.

Additionally, the interest rates and credit limits of credit cards are often tailored to the applicant, which means you may find that you are offered a card, but with a relatively low opening credit limit, and potentially with a rate that’s higher than the advertised representative APR.

Which credit card gives the best travel rewards?

Virgin Atlantic and American Express are frequently to be found battling it out at the top of frequent flyer comparison tables.

If you can make your peace with an annual fee, the British Airways Premium Plus Card offers the highest Avios earn-rate, while Amex’s Preferred Rewards Gold Card comes with two complimentary airport lounge visits annually.

What “best” means: how we choose our top credit cards

Founded in 2006, Finder has been comparing credit cards for 13 years, so yeah, we know our stuff on the topic. However, we’re not the kind of guys who just ask people to trust us “because we know what we’re doing”, so here’s an overview of the criteria we use to pick our favourite credit cards:

  • Our partners. Our “best” credit cards are chosen from among a pool of credit card providers we have partnerships with. We’re transparent on this, and it often allows us to offer you exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
  • The best at doing the job they’re meant to. There is no absolute “best credit card” for everyone, so what we try to do here at Finder is help you find a card that works for you and your needs. That’s why we picked a card for each of the main types.
  • Quality and price. Zero annual fees and low APRs sometimes don’t tell the whole story – we take them into account, but also look at what you get in return.
  • Going the extra mile with rewards. Some credit cards do the job just fine, but don’t give you anything else and turn out a bit depressing in the long run. We like credit cards that go the extra mile and treat you with nice little rewards, be it tickets for your favourite concert or extra supermarket loyalty points.

Finally, we check whole-market rates, fees and terms every single day in order to make sure that the features on our credit card tables are accurate – you won’t get any nasty surprises once you move from our website to the card issuer’s.

Other types of credit card and sought-after card features

In addition to the features listed above, the best credit cards around can come with a whole host of other features and benefits.

If you’re concerned about some of the costs involved with credit card use, you can look around and find cards with no annual fee, an ongoing low interest rate or no balance transfer fees. Perhaps you do all your shopping in one place and want your rewards from your favourite shop, in which case a store-affiliated card may be the way to go.

Use the list below to browse our credit card feature/benefit guides and comparisons.

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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